Chef of the Week: Exose Grant, Chef Patron at Exose at Home in Manchester

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
I have worked at my current restaurant for just over a year now.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
My passion for cooking came from high school where I started cooking in hospitality and catering class. All the students had the same ingredients and recipe but mine turned out really good and the teacher used mine as an example of what it should look and taste like. This gave me the boost of confidence and made me want to pursue this as my career. I then went to study for 3 years at Trafford college doing Professional Chef Skills and Professional Pastry Skills.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
I enjoy teaching and training other chefs. To see where they started and what they are up to now, after working with me, puts a smile on my face. I enjoy passing my knowledge on to others.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Maldon Sea Salt, garlic and butter.

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
My Serrated Bread Knife, an all-rounder kitchen tool.

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
Street food/Pan Asian/Desserts.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Doubt, doubting themselves that they are not good enough really crushes spirit, chefs need to believe in themselves more as it is a difficult job to have.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
I love the summer, fresh seafood dishes, BBQ food, great time of the year to have my favourite foods.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
I’m proud of a few of my dishes I prepared on MasterChef – Spiced Duck Breast, Cherry Soufflé, Chicken 5 Ways, and Textures of Banoffee. These dishes got me great feedback from whoever ate it and made me realise the potential I had as a chef.

How do you come up with new dishes?
Mainly through inspiration from social media, seeing other chefs’ creations and then coming up with my own. Or just having a crazy thought of trying to pair this item with another then trying it out.

Who was your greatest influence?
My head chef from my previous work place, Doug Crampton. Taught me a lot in my time there and made sure I never gave up.

Tell us three chefs you admire
Doug Crampton, Gordon Ramsay and Clare Smyth.

What is your favourite cookbook?
I don’t really have a favourite cook book but I enjoy James Martin’s cook books as the recipes are easy to replicate and there are a wide range of recipes to have a go at.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
There are a lot of up and coming chefs, watching shows like MasterChef and Great British Menu gives you an insight of who to look out for. I have been following a few MasterChef contestants and to see what they have been up to is great.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
I haven’t had much time to go out and eat, I have attended a few pop ups but I’m looking forward to booking a spot at Stuart Deeley’s place Smoke at Hampton Manor, I haven’t tasted his food in a long time and looking at the pictures and feedback, it looks great.