Chef of The Week: Chris Fryer, Head Chef of Montpellier Lodge in Cheltenham

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
October 2017 so I’m still settling in!

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
It has to be my mum. She’s a cracking cook who seems to spend a tad too much time baking these days so I’m constantly getting tubs of cakes and cookies each time I go round! I’m constantly learning, not a day goes by when I don’t pick up something new.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
Well, it’s not the lifestyle! It’s all about working hard to achieve better than yesterday.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Cornish sea salt, Cotswold Gold rapeseed oil and good quality vinegar.

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
Our braai charcoal-fired oven.

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
I’m not into food trends too much. Honest, simple cooking always shines through.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down? 
Running before they walk. Take time to have a solid training and constantly push to learn more.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
Spring. The wide selection of great British produce is just starting to shine then and only gets better.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
I’m proud of every dish we do here, but especially our ‘baked over coal’ salt cod, wet polenta, samphire, chorizo and caper confit.

How do you come up with new dishes?
Every dish starts with speaking with our suppliers. Once I know what’s good, the dishes almost develop themselves.

Who was your greatest influence?
Dean Selby – the first chef I worked under. He taught me not just how to cook but encouraged me to push myself further every day.

Tell us three chefs you admire
Peter Sanchez-Iglesias, Jason Atherton and Kenny Atkinson.

What is your favourite cookbook?
The Escoffier cook book. Everything you will need is in there.

Who is the chef to watch over the next few months?
Will Guthrie at Buckland Manor.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
The Wigmore in London.