Chef of the Week: Lisa Fearn, Chef Proprietor at Y Sied Cookery School in Wales

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
I run a cookery school in Carmarthenshire, and we opened a coffee shop offering lunches and a local produce shop and deli at the beginning of November 2020.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
I’ve always loved cooking and become fascinated with growing my own vegetables during my early twenties. My grandmother was a great home cook and loved recipes, and I guess it grew from there. I’ve learned by watching and listening and trial and error!

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
I love the experimental aspect of cooking and baking. I love to tweak recipes and make lots of subsitutuions to make the recipes and processes as easy as possible for others to enjoy.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Onions, salt, sugar, but there are loads more!

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
My Japanese Santoku knife.

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
It’s been around for centuries, but fermented foods.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Health. Lots of chefs eat rubbish food!

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
Summer for fresh vegetables from the garden.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
Cakes and breads.

How do you come up with new dishes?
I look at the ingredients and think about different ways to combine them or about the ways they can be served differently to the norm.

Who was your greatest influence?
The enthusiasm of Jamie Oliver.

Tell us three chefs you admire
Jamie Oliver, Raymond Blanc and Delia Smith.

What is your favourite cookbook?
My first cookery book was Delia Smith’s Complete Illustrated Cookery Course, but now I love Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
Thomas by Tom Simmons in Cardiff.