Chef of the Week: Ankur Biswas, Head Chef at Blundell’s School in Devon

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
Almost one and a half years ago I took the position of head Chef at Blundell’s School. Blundell’s School is a co-educational day and boarding independent school in the English public-school tradition, located in Tiverton, Devon.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
In my early days, passion for cooking and serving food came in from my grandmother, dad, and my family members. Later I went to cookery school and worked worldwide in different hotels & restaurants and acquired my skills. I was very lucky to work with chefs Dieter Bender, Fred Mensinga, Nigel Boschetti, Luca Ciano, John Chapman, Proprietor Nigel Way and many other chefs.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
Really enjoy working with my team and serving good food and receiving the feedback.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Garlic, salt & onion.

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
I couldn’t work without my team and there is a log of equipment, but at present I will say my conical sauce pourer, magnetic sealer and my good old tongs!

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
A lot of milk alternatives are available, vegan chocolate, preserved fish & shellfish, Pilipino & Burmese food is really getting trendy.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Keeping a work life balance.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
Any seasonal food ensures you get the best flavour, but favourite time is when friends and family are around.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
Garlic & minted king prawns with iceberg lettuce, and our family’s  Namoh Curry Sauce.

How do you come up with new dishes?
Mostly new dishes get inspiration from travelling, working with different chefs, discovering new techniques and budgetary constraints also deliver cracking dishes.

Who was your greatest influence?
Grand mum was the greatest influencer. Surprisingly she will remember all the different spices for different dishes & curries and when there was no books or internet and her passion for serving good food was outstanding

Tell us three chefs you admire.
John Chapman, Imtiaz Qureshi and Mitch Tonks.

What is your favourite cookbook?
Prasad – Cooking with Masters.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
Chef Ansab Khan heads the culinary operations for Burma Burma.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
Burma Burma.