Chef of The Week: Elliott Lidstone, Chef Proprietor of Box-E in Bristol

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
Since we opened in October 2016.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
Scouts! I went to catering college but really learnt my craft on the job at Chewton Glen and then L’Ortolan.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
Watching the seasons change through the ingredients that are available.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Garlic, parsley and thyme.

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
Plant-based food. The number of vegans coming to our restaurant has increased massively and we regularly do vegan tasting menus now.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down? 
Over-complicated dishes, and not being prepared to learn every section of the kitchen, especially pastry, before moving on to running the pass.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why? 
Spring …  everything starts to really come alive.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
Snails and bone marrow or salt-baked, puréed and pickled turnip – both dishes that made people try and love produce they didn’t think they would.

How do you come up with new dishes?
My brain’s always whirring!

Who was your greatest influence? 
Reg, my first Head Chef at a small brasserie in Plymouth. I was 16. He was a machine and never stopped.

Tell us three chefs you admire
Sat Bains, Bo Bech and Gareth Ward.

What is your favourite cookbook?
Eleven Madison Park by Daniel Humm is lovely. I like the Flavour Thesaurus, too.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
Tommy Banks, plus a few of the MasterChef: The Professionals finalists, who are on the verge of interesting things. A few of them have eaten at Box-E.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
Root in Bristol. It’s nice to share a terrace with people who have a similar passion for letting produce shine. I’m looking forward to going to some of their guest chef nights.