Chef of the Week: Caley Briddic, Head Chef at The Kings Arms in Otterton, Devon

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
I have been at the King’s Arms Otterton, a traditional village pub situated in East Devon since mid-August, and Head Chef as of September 2023.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
My passion for cooking started at an early age, although, I have only been working as a chef since my late twenties. Based in the West Country, I have worked with and under some incredible talent including Matt Mason, and Charlotte Vincent – whom I really admire as a strong role model for women in the industry. I have studied in Paris, Marrakesh, and Beijing. Additionally, I have trained and worked at Michelin level with The Adam Handling Restaurant Group.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
I love being able to tell a story, from farm and fishing vessel to plate.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Butter, garlic and salt.

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
My rocher spoon. There’s a bit of a running joke in the kitchen over how precious I am about my spoons. Nobody touches my spoons!

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
I am noticing that chefs are revisiting traditional dishes and classic cookery techniques. I love to cook classic British dishes, steeped in nostalgia, elevated to new levels.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Overthinking. Whether it is too many elements on a dish, or a touch of Imposter Syndrome during service, overthinking is most certainly the downfall of many a competent chef.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
I love Autumn-Winter for the game and foraging. The season lends itself to slow braising, hearty root vegetables, spice, flavour and rich, deep sauces.

How do you come up with new dishes?
I tend to think about dishes I used to enjoy in my childhood, combing food memories with seasonal, local produce.

Tell us three chefs you admire.
Anthony Bourdain (will always be one of my biggest inspirations), Marcus Wareing and Anne-Sophie Pic.

What is your favourite cookbook?
It changes, but currently – Why Waste? Great foraging tips and cooking techniques.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
Keenan Paver – Sous Chef, The Kings Arms Otterton. I may be a little bit biased, but I have an incredible sous-chef in Keenan. His passion and knowledge are second to none. I can’t wait to see what he does over the next few months as our team continues to grow at The Kings.