Chef of the Week: Rob Winslow, Head Chef at The Bay Tree Hotel in Broadstairs, Kent

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
I have worked at my current restaurant for five years, and have worked my way up from KP to head chef.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
I have always had a passion for cooking and baking since a young age even taking part in a junior chef course at Thanet College. I then learnt my skills full-time at East Kent College as a chef studying level 2 to level 3 kitchen and level 3 patisserie & confectionary.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
The things I enjoy about being a chef is the excitement during prep and at service time knowing that your prep becomes the end product.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Lemon, butter and fresh bay leaves from the tree at the Bay Tree Hotel where I work.

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
Definitely the one thing I couldn’t live without are my I.O.Shen knives.

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
Veganism, vegetarianism and superfoods e.g. kimchi and fermented foods.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
They overcomplicate dishes/or the menu. My key saying is always stay humble.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
My favourite time of year for food is spring/early summer because you have rhubarb, asparagus and new potatoes.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
I am most proud of slow cooked pork belly, cooked in apple juice and stock for eight hours, served with creamy mashed potato, sauteed kale, homemade marmalade, glazed heritage carrots and braised leeks.

How do you come up with new dishes?
I come up with new dishes by starting with the basic ingredients and then tweaking it and adding new flavour concepts.

Who was your greatest influence?
Michel Roux Jr and Tom Kerridge.

Tell us three chefs you admire.
I admire Tom Kerridge, Marcus Wareing and Simon Rogan.

What is your favourite cookbook?
Stark by Ben Crittenden. Stark is a local restaurant to me, it has really inspiring dishes in the cookbook.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
Gary Usher is definitely the one to watch having just added to his restaurant portfolio.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
The Quince in Westgate with sensational food and atmosphere, they are definitely moving in the right direction.