Chef of the Week: Karl Richardson, Executive Head Chef at The Waldorf in London

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
I have been the Executive Head Chef of the Waldorf for 13 months.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
Always have had a real passion for food but also the hospitality industry. I started out in a local pub whilst still at school working with a crazy bunch who showed me the excitement of the kitchen environment from food to service.  I have been lucky to have range of experience from starting in a Gastro Pub to country hotels, fine dining boutique hotels.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
The daily challenge and different cuisines – at The Waldorf we get to cook for a great restaurant, 2 bars, banqueting and unique pop-up projects.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Thyme, garlic and potato.  

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

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
Informal dining with quality, bespoke events with live cooking interaction, veganism with touches of Asian style.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Planning of dishes and daily work – without this it adds additional pressure which leads to mistakes and possibly cutting corners.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
Very tough one this but I would have to say Spring – everything feels new, fresh and full of life. I think of spring and I think of green.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
Rabbit head to toe – it’s a dish that uses the whole animal, preparing and cooking each element with quality. I love to pair this dish with ceps, burnt onion, carrot textures with honey.

How do you come up with new dishes?
I eat out as much as I can, I draw on my own and my teams experience and I also like to experiment.

Who was your greatest influence?
I don’t think I had just one, I have worked with many talented chefs but have also looked up to many famous chefs and cooking styles from around the world.

Tell us three chefs you admire.
Daniel Clifford, Anthony Roy and Daniel Humm.

What is your favourite cookbook?
Out of my Tree by Daniel Clifford.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
I recently ate at Adam Handling’s restaurant Frog in Covent Garden which was wonderful! Nice chef interaction and finishing of the dishes at the table.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
The Petersham Floral Gardens in Covent Garden, wonderful concept, classy, cool and hiddengem in the bustle of Covent Garden – great food.