Chef of the Week: Connor Godfrey, Head Chef at Chucs in St John’s Wood

Connor Godfrey

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
I have been at Chucs in St John’s Wood since July 2021, when it opened.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
My passion started from an early age, my dad being a chef was a massive inspiration to me. Cooking always came quite naturally as well as the passion for always wanting to learn and grow. I learned the majority of cooking knowledge from the amazing lecturers at Westminster College and the University of West London.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
I love leading a team, they are the most important asset to a chef, keep them happy and the rest is easy.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
My classical French training would have to lean towards a love of… butter, thyme and garlic. In that order!

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
Probably a Thermomix, or a decent blender. I love the textural differences of having a smooth puree on a plate.

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
It’s been a little weird post covid, with all the meal boxes at home going out as quick as they came in, I think people are just wanting decent food for decent prices, whatever the vender is, be it the local chicken shop or a fine dining restaurant.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Not applying common sense to situations, if it doesn’t taste nice, don’t serve it?

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
Spring is the best in my opinion, so much beautiful crops coming out this time of year especially in the UK with of course the asparagus, strawberries and various beans.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
As a chef, you get asked this question a lot… I wouldn’t have one dish I was most proud of because I am happy when customers are happy, that’s what makes me feel the proudest. Knowing someone has left their house looking for a decent meal and I have been able to reach the standards they wanted and expected.

How do you come up with new dishes?
See what is coming in season, have a look through my many, many, many cook books I have been given or collected over the years. There are so many amazing chefs to take inspiration from, I learn from them and add my own little spin

Who was your greatest influence?
A tough one… I don’t really know. I have tried to take things away from everyone I have worked with, whether that’s how not to be or how to be. There is knowledge to be absorbed from everyone.

Tell us three chefs you admire.
My dad, Daniel Kent (Wiltons) and Steve Munkley (formally The Royal Garden Hotel).

What is your favourite cookbook?
The Ritz cookbook is stunning, some amazing photography as well.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
All of them…. Watch everyone. Everyone is amazing in their own right.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
I didn’t really get to eat out much last year as a lot was closed then I was planning a new opening, expecting my first child, training for a marathon and moving house… time was very precious!