Chef of the Week: Mario Perera, Executive Sous Chef at The Dorchester in London

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
I have been working as Executive Sous Chef at the Dorchester since July 2017.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
My passion for cooking came from my parents who initiate me to the culinary world since I was 9 year old.

I loved seeing those cooking traditional dishes and quickly wanted to learn and reproduce them myself. I loved how creative you can be when cooking and developed my knack for cooking very quickly

At the age of 16, I joined the Taj Samudra Colombo Sri Lanka and did my apprentice program were I learnt the base of all multi culture cuisine technique, with a specialisation for the French cuisine.

I then followed Professor David Forsket at Thames Value University for 6 years were I became master in my field (pastry, kitchen and larder).

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
What I enjoy the most is the pleasure that a lovely meal can provide to people. I love discovering new flavours, from ingredients coming from different part of the locality, and mixing ingredients together to obtain different results. I always follow the trend and work on my presentations with a twist of innovation to make them always more attractive.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Sea salt, espelette pepper and extra virgin olive oil.

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
Tasting spoon.

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
Local, seasonal and healthy.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Writing a menu without having the knowledge of what is available from the market and in season.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
Summer as it offers the wider choice of ingredients and colours.

which of your dishes are you most proud of?
*Gin and tonic salmon, finger lemon and Bromley apple.
*Steamed wild sea bass on a bed of new crushed potatoes and Cornish seafood chowder , dandelion pesto and Cornish sea lettuce with a tapioca crisp.
*Wagyu short rib ravioli, chervil root, marsala jus and pistachio crumble with pecorino cheese foam.

How do you come up with new dishes?
I start by following the trend, the seasonality and add my innovation twist to the dish making it different to the competition

Who was your greatest influence?
My mother (Ammi)

Tell us three chefs you admire
Henry Brosi, Rick Stein and Jerome Corea.

What is your favourite cookbook?
Le repertoire des gastronomes

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
Adam Smith (Coworth Park).

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year? Hoppers.