Chef of The Week: John Bingley, Head Chef at Hythe Imperial

Name, place of work and position:
John Bingley, head chef at Hythe Imperial Hotel in Kent.

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
Since January 2016.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
I’ve always had a love of food but at the age of 24 I started to take this passion seriously by completing my NVQs at Thanet College, which lead me on to working for P&O.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
Working with food and working within a finely tuned team that is well orchestrated.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Smoked paprika, meat, soy sauce.

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
Thermomix, knife roll and solid top.

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
I believe it’s more about the way food is visually presented in unique ways, using originality and classic ingredients.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Lack of seasoning and a lack of hard work.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
Autumn/winter – I like to use strong flavours and cheaper cuts of meat.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
My sea bass dish.

How do you come up with new dishes?
I break down each element along with technical cooking methods, then create a sauce that brings everything together.

Who was your greatest influence?
Gordon Ramsay back in the day

Tell us three chefs you admire
Andy Holden, Andy Summers, Graham Garrett

What is your favourite cookbook?
Sex, Drugs and Sausage Rolls by Graham Garrett.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
I haven’t been to any newly opened restaurants within the last year – however, my go to restaurant is West House in Biddenden.

Photography: Fleur Challis