Chef of the Week: Curtis Poole, Executive Pastry Chef at Bluebird Chelsea in London
How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
D&D Bluebird Chelsea/White City. I have been the Executive Pastry Chef for Bluebird Chelsea and White City for 17 months. A returning veteran after working in many London restaurant and hotel adventures.
Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
My mum and dad were always huge foodies, they always held dinner parties. I think what attracted me to food wasn’t just stuffing my face at a young age with a vast explosion of multiple flavours but the social experience it brings to the table. Big dinners have always revolved around my families life and some of the best times have been at the table or in the kitchen surrounded by good people. It’s the same in the restaurant at Bluebird, I use great produce, with a group of chefs with all different types of characteristics, skills and humour. The food my team at Bluebird creates really reflects on their personalities and something our guests enjoy day in, day out.
What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
I enjoy how fast the industry moves. As a fashion its got to be one of the most developed around, there are challenges, hard times but the rewards always outnumber the more difficult moments. I love the upbeat vibe my team brings to the kitchen, in turn it keeps me upbeat and overflowing with creative ideas.
Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Easy one as a pastry chef – sugar, butter and flour!
Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
Without a Kitchen Aid my life would be a wreck! I use it everyday for many different things and it’s the same at home we use it at least 3-4 times a week. But if you were to ask Daniel Blucert I’m sure he would argue and say my freezer!
What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
Well with everyone in lock down it seems the almighty showstopper is sourdough, in its many forms as well as recreating fast food favourites! The king of the above has to be Craig Edgell, he’s been kind enough to share his recipes with me during this time! Top lad.
What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Patience! There are too many chefs out there that think the world revolves around them. As a chef if you can’t find patience to share your skills and talents with others you let yourself down.
What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
Summer is an all time favourite! There are so many wonderful ingredients to use around that time that don’t involve apples and pears, unfortunately that’s when everyone watches their beach bodies so you have to be careful with the desserts.I like to try and keep them super light and refreshing so even the most avid gym buff wont be put off.
Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
Knocking out 50 souffles for Michel Roux Jr Birthday was a pretty proud moment for me. As dishes go there are many I’m proud of but by the time its be developed and created and put on the menu sometimes I’m already bored of it wanting more, like I said it’s a fast moving industry.
How do you come up with new dishes?
I always go back to childhood or family favourites, taking certain flavours, ingredients and sometimes finding new ways to use them or keeping them as they are and going right back to basics. Over all of this it probably just depends on my mood – don’t catch me on a bad day!
Tell us three chefs you admire
Really tricky question this – can I have five?! Antonio Bachour, Charlie Trotter, Gordon Ramsay, Simon Gregory and Daniel Blucert.
What is your favourite cookbook?
LaRouse, Perfection in imperfection by Janice Wong, the elements of dessert, by Francisco Migoya
Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
Daniel Blucert, Craig Edgell, Dan Hodson and Simon Gregory.
What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
Got me on that one lock down happened pretty fast ha ha!