Chef of the Week: Jauca Catalin, Executive Chef at The Bath Priory

How long have you worked at your current restaurant? 
I have been at The Bath Priory for one year.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
My mother was very passionate about cooking. I grew up helping her in the kitchen, learning skills and becoming passionate. I started cookery school as an apprentice at 20 years old.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
The opportunity for being creative, the adrenaline and buzz that each service gives.

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

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
My Vitamix.

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
People are becoming more aware and conscious about the food they eat, so the trends are moving towards healthy, plant based, organic and local food. With this in mind I created a new menu for the Pantry/Terrace for the reopening.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
My favourite season is summer, it offers an abundance of fruit and vegetable choices to eat and cook with.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
One of my favourite dishes is Cornish crab served with confit lime, mooli and peanut chilli caramel.

I am also proud of my Himalayan salt chambered dry aged Hereford fillet of beef served with pickled nasturtium root, black pudding soil, lovage and truffled crispy potatoes.

For dessert my banana cake with hazelnut praline, white chocolate and manuka honey.

How do you come up with new dishes?
I get inspiration from places I have travelled to and cook books.

Who was your greatest influence?
Chef Michael Caines was my mentor and inspired me to follow my dream.

Tell us three chefs you admire.
Of course my mentor Chef Michael Caines, Daniel Humm and Virgilio Martines.

What is your favourite cookbook?
Eleven Madison Park, The New Chapter by Daniel Humm.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
Rafael Cagali from Da Terra London and Allister Barbsy from Hide and Fox in Hythe.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
Davies and Brook by Daniel Humm.