Chef of the Week: Gethin Rees of Seren Diemwnt in Cardiff

How long have you worked at Seren Diemwnt?
I opened Seren Diemwnt in September 2017 after many years of following a dream and aim of opening my own venue. We have been using fresh ingredients from day one and changing our menus monthly to grow a business and a dream.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
I’ve been cheffing since I was 17 and have completed NVQs learning the job within places I have worked over the years. My passion for cooking started from once being told I couldn’t last over a month in one venue but stayed there for two years and that inspired me to push forward. The other two reasons for having such a passion for food come from someone important I lost at a young age and my family who push me forward and inspire me every day to meet me goals and aims.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
I enjoy being able to have the freedom to follow my heart and thoughts to create great food and most of all to present the dishes with passion and flair.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without
Thyme, star anise and fennel.

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
I love my sous vide but don’t tend to use the equipment enough so I would say it’s either the Combi oven due to all the different functions I can use for many dishes, or the hand blender for purees.

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
There seems to be a lot more vegans calling in for special requests and dishes to meet their needs. The last few years has definitely seen a lot more vegans around.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down? 
A lot of chefs are let down by timings, either personal time keeping or cooking times. It’s not easy being a chef and it takes a lot of good organisation and patience.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why? 
Although I like game season, my favourite time of the year for food must be summer due to the freshness regarding vegetables and herbs around.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
From my first menu here, I loved the rack of lamb, rosemary fondant potato, cherry puree, spinach puree, sautéed green cabbage and rich red wine jus. From the new menu, I love the goats’ curd red pepper tuilles and lemon herb crumb.

How do you come up with new dishes?
Dishes just seem to pop into my head regarding my surroundings and different things I see and I visualise different dishes. I do a little research time from time with everything coming into season also and what’s on the market.

Who was your greatest influence? 
My greatest influence wasn’t a chef, it was just the wanting to succeed. My family and friends have supported me through my career and given me the desire to push forward and make those individuals proud.

What is your favourite cookbook?
The Silver Spoon cookbook is possibly my favourite with a wide selection of recipes.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
After all the hard work The Chefs’ Forum has carried out with the colleges teaching hospitality and catering, the youth of today from the schools are the best places to see the new talent coming through the ranks,

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
Seren Diemwnt of course! It’s to close to my heart!