Chef of the Week: Bobby Brown, Head Chef at The Kentish Hare in Royal Tunbridge Wells

How long have you worked at The Kentish Hare?
I’ve been at the Kentish hare for four years, since opening it with Chris and James Tanner.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
I used to cook all the time at home from a very young age and then decided to go to East Kent college straight from school, where I was taught by some of the best tutors in the country.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
I love the everyday buzz about being a chef – walking in early doors and then producing some great simple food and making diners happy.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Salt, potatoes and broccoli (it’s my favourite vegetable).

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
My blue pastry scraper.

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
I see a lot of new trends around but I just love the honest simple cooking.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Precision is key and if recipes and methods aren’t followed things aren’t right.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why? 
Every season is my favourite because they all have their own gems. From wild garlic and fresh peas, to stone fruit season they all get me buzzing.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
I have a lot of dishes I think wow to but I love putting together a nice sashimi or ceviche using fresh fish and shellfish.

How do you come up with new dishes?
I come up with new dishes with taste. I like the whole sweet and sour and salty and sweet kind of thing.

Who was your greatest influence? 
Growing up, Raymond Blanc was an influence. Work-wise, Erion Karaj of Gordon Ramsay taught me a lot of things, not just cooking but my overall perception of running a kitchen.

Tell us three chefs you admire
Raymond Blanc, Daniel Humm and Thomas Keller.

What is your favourite cookbook?
Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
Ben Crittenden of Stark at Broadstairs and Simon Ulph of The Swan, Chapel Down.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year? 
Magpie on Heddon Street and Core by Clare Smyth.

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