Chef of the Week: Laurentiu Samoila, Head Chef of the Five Horseshoes in Maidensgrove

How long have you worked at the restaurant?
Just over two months. Before that I worked at the Bluebells restaurant in Sunningdale.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
My passion for cooking comes for my dad, mum and my grandmother, who are great cooks. When I was a child I used to spend my time in the kitchen with them helping around specially during the festive seasons. I developed my skills over the years after I finished college. I have worked in France, Italy and UK for the last 14 years.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
Being in this trade and working as a chef, every day is like a school day as we learn and discover new things every day.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without
Salt, pepper and lemongrass.

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
My favourite piece of equipment in the kitchen is the vacuum machine, you can do so many things with it, from aerating to compressing. It’s just fun.

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
A lot of chefs are using methods such as fermenting, preserving and curing.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why? 
My favourite time of the year is autumn as the game season starts and nothing can beat a good venison suet pudding.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of? 
Cornish grilled sardines on toast with smoked paprika mayonnaise and pickled cucumbers.

How do you come up with new dishes?
I get usually inspired by what it is available during the season.

Who was your greatest influence? 
One of my biggest influences was my father and Jean-Luc Rabanel.

Tell us three chefs you admire 
Nathan Outlaw, Jean-Luc Rabanel and Björn Frantzén.

What is your favourite cookbook?
Bentley: Contemporary Cuisine by Brent Savage.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
Anton Piotrowski at Roski in Liverpool and Tom Brown at Cornerstone in Hackney.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
The Mash Inn in Radnage, Buckinghamshire, as it is a great concept and everything is sourced from their own garden and they forage in surrounding woodlands.