Chef of the Week: Chris Emery, Executive Chef at Orelle in Birmingham

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
I opened Orelle in October 2022 and have been working here for 6 months now.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
My passion started from a very young age. I used to look at pictures of cakes from my Grandmother’s cookbooks. She was a baker and I always enjoyed visiting to look at her books. I started learning skills when I left culinary school and went to work at the Waterside Inn.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
There’s always something new to work on and it allows me to be as creative as I wish. I also enjoy searching for ingredients and working out how to include them in new dishes.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Citrus, thyme and good quality olive oil.

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
My notebook you never know when ideas can pop into your mind need to get it straight down on paper.

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
Herdwick lamb.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Poor work life balance is always a common mistake that effects Chefs. This is something I am working hard to achieve and always recommend this to anyone who would like to join the industry.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
I would say spring time and its great to start seeing all the amazing produce coming through.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
The white asparagus.

How do you come up with new dishes?
Trial and error.

Who was your greatest influence?
Jason Atherton, I spent a lot of time working with him and learnt a lot from Jason.

Tell us three chefs you admire.
Jason Atherton, Daniel Humm and Frederick Berselius.

What is your favourite cookbook?
Aska by Fredrik Berselius.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
Adam Wood.

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