Chef of the Week: Graham Garrett of Michelin-starred Restaurant-with-rooms The West House in Biddenden, Kent
How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
Well, The West House has been open 16 years now.
Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
I discovered an interest in food from an early age and this interest then grew through traveling experiences and having the opportunity to eat around the world as a touring musician.
What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
I love the creative process and getting excited by great ingredients. I also love restaurants and the excitement of being part of such an amazing and expanding industry.
Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Just three. Salt, oil and butter.
Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
I love my Athanor plancha. (Well they do call this product a a chef’s love affair).
What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
As you will have seen, vegan food is growing massively in popularity.
What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Many chefs are too eager and want to run before they can walk, it takes time to learn and perfect a craft so my advice to these chefs – be patient.
What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
Every season brings different ingredients or challenges. I like to embrace them all.
Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
I think that a chef is happiest or most proud of their very latest creations but if I had to pick one? Our long-standing duck taco would be up there.
How do you come up with new dishes?
New dishes all start with one main element. When you discover an amazing element, it inspires you to create a way to show it off without f****** it up.
Who was your greatest influence?
At the start of my career I was influenced by chefs such as Nico Ladenis and Joel Robuchon.
Tell us three chefs you admire
There are so many chefs I admire but I would have to mention: Richard Corrigan, Marco (back in his Harvey’s days) and Thomas Keller.
What is your favourite cookbook?
Again, this is difficult because I have literally hundreds of cookbooks but early favourites for various reasons would be Nico’s ‘My Gastronomy’ and Joyce Molineux’s ‘The Carved Angel’.
Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
Just in England alone we’ve got some incredibly driven and talented cooks at the moment, including the likes of: Gareth Ward, Niall Keating, James Close, Tom Brown and Mark Birchall.
I think this is the strongest our English food scene has ever been.
What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
My favourite opening of the last year has to be Frantzen in Stockholm, I’ve already been twice since September. It’s another level.