Chef of the Week: Richard Davies, Executive Chef at Calcot Manor, Nr Tetbury
How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
Four months so I’m a newbie, but I have lived and worked in the area for ten years.
Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
I started washing up at 14, and fell in love with it straight away.
What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
There are different challenges every day, no two days are ever the same. Also, cooking with the seasons. When I started cooking, seasonality was never considered, but the mentality has changed and for the better.
Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Salt, butter and vanilla (OK, I could cook without it but I would miss it for sure).
Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
I think there is a massive shift towards a less formal offering, something that really attracted me to my new role at Calcot.
What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Consistency, not checking or tasting everything.
What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
Winter! I love the heartiness and robustness of winter produce and flavours.
Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
I love our tartare of organic Calcot beef. We have our own Aberdeen Angus cows grazing on the land during the year, and it is a magnificent product, served simply with big flavour.
How do you come up with new dishes?
Using seasonal produce at their peak and a perfect marriage of flavours.
Who was your greatest influence?
Really tough as every Head Chef I have ever worked with has helped and inspired me on to greater things.
Tell us three chefs you admire
Josh Eggleton (the hardest working man alive), Michael Wignall (not many chefs can put so many flavours together and make it work, he’s a true magician) and Gordon Ramsay – having worked for him, I have seen how he worked his bollocks off to get where he is today. A true legend.
What is your favourite cookbook?
White Heat by Marco, I used to sit for hours as a young cook just staring at the pictures – of the food and him!
What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
The Game Bird at the Stafford in London – I love the menu and concept.