Chef of the Week: Cindy Challoner – Welsh Great British Menu Contestant 2019

Cindy Challoner

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
I have been a freelance chef since July.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
My passion for cooking came at a very young age, I was always intrigued by how dishes were made. I honed my skills at my local college of Cardigan where I did my NVQ level 2, then level 3.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
I thoroughly enjoy the pressure of the kitchen. Also being able to create dishes is another great thing about being a chef.

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

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
That’s a hard one! I’d have to say a solid top. It has saved me on many occasions!

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
I love cooking over fire. This is something I have noticed becoming more popular over the last couple of years.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
We have all been there….Not having done enough mise en place for service!

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
I have to say spring. I love the smell of wild garlic and thoroughly enjoy working with it.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
My dishes on GBM. A lot of thought and effort went into each one!

How do you come up with new dishes?
I tend to play around with food in the kitchen so ideas come quite quick. I like to pair foods with whats in season.

Who was your greatest influence?
Head Chefs I’ve worked under previously.

Tell us three chefs you admire
-Lisa Allen (I met her last year at Meatopia ) she was absolutely lovely.
-Angela Hartnett
-Monica Galletti

What is your favourite cookbook?
Sepia – it focuses on Japanese cuisine.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
Mowgli Street Food in Cardiff.