Chef of the Week: Joshua Hunter, Head Chef at Holland & Holland

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
I’ve been Head Chef at the Holland & Holland Shooting Grounds for two years now.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
My passion for cooking probably came for a passion for eating!

I trained at Leiths and then worked at several restaurants in central London, including La Trompette, Murano and Kitchen W8.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
Certainly the creativity and satisfaction that comes with expressing yourself through food. But also working in a team and the relationships that you build from grafting in a kitchen.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Thyme, anchovies and salted butter.

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
The Vitamix.

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
People are continuing to focus heavily on the provenance of ingredients- which is great. Farmers and spectacular produce are given recognition on menus.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Forgetting that they are cooking for customers and not chefs. It’s important to cook food that a customer will understand.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
September. The game season has kicked off and Grouse is on lots of menus. You also have some fantastic late season tomatoes and berries in season. It’s areal time of abundance in the UK. There are things like elderberries and cobnuts and also amazing seafood.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
We had a fantastic fillet of Hereford beef on the Christmas menu this year. We rested it in a truffle butter and then finished it with fresh winter truffle and red wine sauce. Super simple but decadent and tasty.

I was really happy with the Tortellini of Red legged partridge, with white onion velouté, chanterelles and game jus.

In the summer we did a ceviche of stone bass and British red prawn, with smoked cod’s roe and tomato water.

How do you come up with new dishes?
I tend to start with a list of ingredients I am excited about that have recently come into season. I then think about different ways these can be incorporated into the menu. Each dish should have a star ingredient that it’s trying to highlight.

Who was your greatest influence?
Probably my mother.

Tell us three chefs you admire
Mark Kempson, Tim Allen and Pip Lacey.

What is your favourite cookbook?
For sweet I would say The Square Cookbook Volume 2 by Phil Howard, and for savoury, The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
Tough one, with everything that’s going on at the moment! I’m sure Bret Graham will come back strong in some capacity following the closure of The Ledbury.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
Again, a tricky one in the current circumstances! I went to the Fallow residency on Heddon Street in September which I really enjoyed.