Chef of the Week: Paul Evans, Head Chef at Mallory Court in Stratford-upon-Avon

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
I have been at Mallory since May 2017.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
My passion came from just making various different dishes, and creating something from nothing.  Finishing college and Chefs I worked with then taught me my basic skills and I continued to learn from there.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
I like to make people smile through food and being able to have an impact on their dining experience. When guests are celebrating a special occasion, I can help create memories through food.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Salt, lemon juice and vinegar.

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
Pacojet – plus it has broken twice this year and its horrendous to be without it!

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
It seems like Chefs are putting less on the plate, and focusing on the key ingredients and using more natural looking food.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Trying to do too much, and adding too much to the plate and losing the focus on the dish and the flavour.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
Autumn, just after the summer ends and the nights get colder and the evenings get darker. You have to be more creative to get the best colour on the plate at that time of year, and freshness with the dish.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
We have a new scallop dish on our A La Carte menu at the moment – pan roasted Orkney scallop, Blythburgh pork, garden gooseberries, scallop roe broth – which has been a real team effort to get the dish just right, everyone has been involved.

How do you come up with new dishes?
The seasons dictate the inspiration, and if you can start with really good ingredients, and focus on keeping three flavours on a plate the dish will come together.

Who was your greatest influence?
James Sommerin – I worked with him for over 5 years and progressed from Demi Chef to Sous Chef.  I was part of the team that retained a Michelin star, rosettes and a Good Food Guide score of 7.  He moulded me into the chef I am today, he had patience and put up with me!

Tell us three chefs you admire
Honestly I would say my team of chefs at the moment.  They all give it their best, and want to learn.  We are all working together to make Mallory the best dining experience and progress as chefs in themselves.

What is your favourite cookbook?
I have recently purchased The Ritz cookbook.  The recipes are amazing and inspiring, and the book is really passionate about food.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
Jordan Bailey from Aimsir restaurant!

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
I haven’t eaten out much in last year since becoming a dad!