Chef of the Week: Niall Keating, Executive Head Chef at Whatley Manor, Wiltshire

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
Since December 2016.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
I was shown a high pace kitchen environment from a young age and became hooked – I really got my kitchen skills nailed down with Sam Moody at The Bath Priory Hotel.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
Being in and looking after my team – we work together every day and we have become a family.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Water, soy, salt.

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
A knife for each individual job in the kitchen.

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
South American.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down? 
Not understanding the balance of a menu – not eating your own menu.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
Autumn – not necessarily game season but the earthy flavours that come out of this time of the year.

How do you come up with new dishes?
It’s a natural evolution of produce coming in and out of season, with a few sparks of creativity.

Tell us three chefs you admire
I have most admiration for the ‘Roux Scholars’. They are not all ‘Michelin-starred’ chefs but cooks who have proven to be masters of their profession.

What is your favourite cookbook?
Faviken by Magnus Nilsson.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
Jack Cashmore (Anglo) and Tom Spenceley (Typing Room).

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
Bibendum by Claude Bosi.