Chef of the Week: Jahdre Hayward, Chef Patron at Haywards Restaurant in Epping, Essex

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
I have been head chef since we opened in May 2013. I worked alongside my wife and her family throughout the planning, building and opening of the restaurant.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
My grandmother inspired my love of cooking growing up in Bermuda. She had some great traditional recipes that I loved watching and helping her make.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
I love leading the team and being part of such a committed brigade. It’s like an extended family.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Salt, butter and chocolate! I am passionate about good quality salt and butter!

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
My Thermomix!

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
Leaf or sweet tuilles seem to be a big trend at the moment.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
A lack of or incorrect seasoning – it can make or break a dish.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
Summer most definitely as we have a lot more produce available from our garden that we can use.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
I am very proud of our homemade granary sourdough. I have spent a long time perfecting it and we have to take the starter home with us at weekends and holidays to feed it.

How do you come up with new dishes?
Myself and my team look at the ingredients that are in season and build our dishes around them. We use produce from our garden and take inspiration from restaurants I visit, from trends in the industry and I use my flavours book!

Who was your greatest influence?
My grandmother was definitely my greatest influence.

Tell us three chefs you admire.
Michael Caines, Sat Bains and Alain Ducasse.

What is your favourite cookbook?
Under Pressure by Thomas Kellar.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
Scott Barnard, Olly Pierrepont and Russell Bateman.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
Da Terra in London in 2019.