Chef of the Week: Jack Cannell, Head Chef at The Tytherleigh Arms in Devon

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
I have worked at the Tytherleigh Arms for just over a year now. It has been a difficult start with going into lockdown just 3 weeks after I started, but we’ve done some takeaways when possible and had a few months cooking some fantastic food in the summer/autumn last year. Now I am looking forward to building on our already good reputation.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
My passion for cooking came from my nan and grandad, they would always be cooking nice food growing up and also my visits to the South of France as a young child. I’ve always loved being in a kitchen from a young age. It’s the only subject at school I was good at!

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
I think being a chef is great because the of the community and how close everyone is. Also for me making tasty food and making customers happy is just a great feeling.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
It’s got to be salt and pepper, butter and fresh herbs – thyme makes everything taste better, especially that sound it makes when it goes into foaming butter!

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
Piece of equipment I couldn’t live without is my Thermomix and probably Bamix – just great for a smooth puree or making a nice foaming sauce.

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
Food trends I’ve been noticing a lot of new pastry moulds and tuile designs which look amazing! Also a lot of new vegan/plant based cooking is starting to get more recognition which I think is a good thing.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Never good to be cocky and be respectable, we never stop learning.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
My favourite time of year for cooking is spring, wild garlic, asparagus, jersey royals, fresh peas, tomatoes. I love the colours and flavours.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
I am proud of all the food I cook at the restaurant, It might be a nice crispy beer battered hake fillet or a more finer dish but most recently I would say my crab and squid ink cannelloni, with a shellfish bisque and fennel biscotti.

How do you come up with new dishes?
Coming up new dishes I like to see what is seasonal and available and then I choose my favourite ingredients to work with, and then I take inspiration from techniques and skills I’ve learnt in the past. Also like to read a lot of cook books to try new ideas.

Who was your greatest influence?
I have a few great influences including my old boss at Chapter One, Andrew Mcleish, where I learnt how to work hard and appreciate the quality of food and ingredients. Michael Caines as well his food was just fantastic and his attention to detail. Also my fiancée who puts up with me working long hours…

Tell us three chefs you admire.
-Andrew Mcleish – Such a great chef and i learnt so much working with him.
-Micheal Caines – Working with such a legend in the industry was such a big moment for me and the food and his work ethic was just amazing!
-Paul Ainsworth – Really admire his food and his passion for food!

What is your favourite cookbook?
I have so many favourite cook books so hard to choose, but a few would be…

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
So many chefs to watch at the moment its hard to say – everyone on The Great British Menu!

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
I haven’t seen many restaurants open at the moment due to obvious reasons but I can’t wait to get back out there and eat in so many top restaurants !