Chef of the Week: Hywel Griffith, Chef Director at The Beach House in Oxwich
How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
Since May 2016, so five and a half years.
Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
I decided at the age of 13 that I wanted to be a chef. Still to this day, I have no idea where that came from as there is no chef in the family, I didn’t even know any chefs! I started at Coleg Manai in Bangor then my college lecturer, Roger Williams, sent me down to work with Paul Gayler at The Lanesborough Hotel where I stayed for three years. I then worked for Simon Radley in his Michelin starred restaurant for just over 3 years, followed by a three and a half year stint at Ynyshir Hall with Shane Hughes. I then took the Head Chef position at The Longridge restaurant for a year, followed by Freemasons at Wiswell for just over three years.
What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
I love everything – the creativity, striving for consistency, finding and dealing with local suppliers, comradery with other chefs and now employees and customers.
Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
I couldn’t possibly single out any three of my local suppliers over the others.
Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
I don’t follow trends, restaurant who chase trends seem to be all, then nothing. Look at the longevity of the best restaurants we have – they all have their own unique style.
What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Underestimating how much you have to focus all day.
What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
I love the change of seasons as you get to start cooking lighter dishes after winter, or heartier dishes in anticipation for winter.
Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
All of them otherwise they wouldn’t be on the menu.
How do you come up with new dishes?
I start with what’s available (seasonality), then I ask, can we get it local? Then I just start brain storming from there.
Who was your greatest influence?
Each chef that I have worked with has been an incredible influence to me!
What is your favourite cookbook?
“The French Laundry Cookbook” by Thomas Keller.
Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
Nathan Davies – Wales’ next star?!
What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
It’s been a little longer than a year (but if you take lockdown in to account I can get away with it!). But otherwise – SY23.