Chef of the Week: Mark Constable, Executive Head Chef at I’ll be Mother Group in Kent

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
I’ve been with the I’ll be Mother group for nearly a year. I’m Executive Head Chef for the group overseeing over seeing four sites including The Beacon, The Twenty Six, Swan at Chapel Down and Kingdom.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
I’m originally from Rochester, Kent. My career has taken me from fine dining at The Savoy to country house hotels in Windermere and Marlow to the world of corporate hospitality and match day dining at Chelsea Football Club.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
I like working with my team. 10 heads are always better than one.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
There are so many but parsley, banana shallots and yoghurt are current favourites.

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
Easy – my Thermomix.

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
Trends come and go. There’s a lot of plant based and vegan dishes at the moment and the preserving trend is interesting. For me though, it’s all about good food with great ingredients, cooked well.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down? 
Over complicating dishes.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
Impossible to answer, I love all the seasons.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
There’s a lovely braised blade of beef currently on the menu at The Beacon which comes with an individual ox cheek and tail cottage pie. It’s pure comfort food.

How do you come up with new dishes?
Always with the team. Everyone gets involved with new inspirations and dishes. We work together as one.

Who was your greatest influence?
My Mum.

Tell us three chefs you admire.
Simon Rogan is very influential to me at the moment. I’ve been to L’Enclume several times and it keeps pulling me back. I like Daniel Clifford and Tom Kitchin too.

What is your favourite cookbook?
Simon Rogan’s book and Out of My Tree by Daniel Clifford.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
Kent chef Will Devlin is doing great things at his new restaurant The Small Holding in Kilndown.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
The Fordwich Arms.