Chef of the Week: Jacqueline Wise, Private Chef in the South East

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
I have been a private chef for 8 years.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
My family, and growing up on a small-holding with lots of fresh ingredients. I trained at Tante Marie Culinary Academy, receiving the Cordon Bleu Diploma, and Level 4 in Professional Culinary Arts from The Confederation of Tourism and Hospitality.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
The way you are constantly learning new things, and there is no one way to achieve something.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Butter, salt and wine (I even sometimes put the wine in the food…)

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
My mandolin, vital to the perfect dauphinoise potato.

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
Foraged ingredients seem big this year, which is great as I love getting out in the countryside.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Being a perfectionist, sometimes you don’t need to be the best,  good enough is good enough!

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
Spring. I love tiny, sweet vegetables and spring lamb.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
Scallops with spiced parsnip puree, bacon crumbs and coriander, followed by seared fillet steak with Roquefort sauce, wild garlic croquettes and green beans, plus my espresso martini chocolate mousse with cinnamon shortbread, yum!

How do you come up with new dishes?
I find an inspiration ingredient, often something seasonal or local, then build the dish around it.

Who was your greatest influence?
Escoffier, as a History Graduate, he has always been a great source of inspiration.

Tell us three chefs you admire.
Matt Gillan, Claire Smyth and Anthony Bourdain.

What is your favourite cookbook?
This is always changing! Currently really enjoying ‘Together: Our Community Cookbook’ in aid of those effected by the Grenfell Tower, wonderful stories behind the recipes!

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
Elisabeth Passedat.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
Heritage by Matt Gillan.