Chef of the Week: Mike Jennings, Chef Consultant at The Hospitality Hut in Manchester

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
I have been a chef for 22 years and am now a hospitality consultant.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
I started cooking Sunday roasts with my mum and just fell in love with food at that point.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
Creating dishes that put a smile on the customers face.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Salt, olive oil and butter.

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

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
The reinvention of the classics seems very popular at present.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Not knowing when to stop putting things on a plate, pick your flavours and keep it simple.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
Game season! I love cooking venison, grouse, blackberries etc.. The whole season has a very comforting feel to it.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
Grilled mackerel, pickled beetroot, goat’s cheese, orange & watercress salad.

How do you come up with new dishes?
I usually start with 2 ingredients and work on a balance of flavours, textures and all round balance for the customer.

Who was your greatest influence?
Shaun Rankin & Gary Rhodes.

Tell us three chefs you admire.
Nigel Howarth, Andrew Baird & Wayne Tapsfield.

What is your favourite cookbook?
Gary Rhodes, New British Classics.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
Douglas Balish, Kirk Howarth, Lee Smith and Eddy Rains.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
The Green Lab, Northern Quarter, Manchester.