Chef of the Week: Harry Webb, Head Chef at Boxcar in London

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
I took over at Boxcar 1 year ago.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
Colchester institute where I studied for 3 years gave me a great base then in and around London for the past 10 years, particularly my last role at The Ninth where I spent 3 years.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
The creativity, trying new things/taking an ingredient and seeing how what processes/techniques can be applied to it and seeing the result, sometimes you get great results, sometimes not but you learn either way.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Sea salt, butter and thyme.

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
My notebook – Too many things to remember!

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
I think a lot of places are leaning into using “lesser” ingredients and using more of the animal/ingredient which is great as food waste is a big issue, worldwide we waste too much food aand the prices are only going up.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Taking it easy once you earn a position, if you are the head chef I think you should be first in last out. don’t lose what got you there in the first place.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
Spring. Great English produce starts coming into season. Peas, broad beans, rhubarb and asparagus.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
I think the chocolate marquise we have on the menu right now is great, pastry was never my strong point, also I love our pigs head croquettes with kohlrabi remoulade and apple puree which uses what many would consider a lesser cut but its good great flavour and versatility

How do you come up with new dishes?
Firstly by looking at what is in season and then how it can be used in the kind of food I want to eat.

Who was your greatest influence?
Jun Tanaka, the 3 years I spent working at the ninth under him were brilliant, I learnt soo much about cooking, technique and flavour

Tell us three chefs you admire.
Jun Tanaka, Tom Aikens and Marco Pierre White.

What is your favourite cookbook?
White Heat by MPW (one of my first books) to flick through or The Flavour Thesaurus is very helpful for designing new dishes.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
My good friend Filipo Alessandri – Head Chef at The Ninth.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
Between juggling work and childcare, sadly I rarely get out to eat.