Chef of the Week: Ross Gibbens, Chef Proprietor of Wellbourne in Bristol, London & Spain

Ross Gibbens, is Head Chef and Owner of Wellbourne, which features three individual restaurants – Wellbourne in Clifton Village, Wellbourne Salardu, a fine dining and apres ski restaurant and bar in the Spanish Pyrenees and Wellbourne Brasserie in White City Place.

A talented chef, Ross has worked at some of the UK’s leading restaurants including Dabbous, Launceston Place and two Michelin-started venues including Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, The Square and The Vineyard in Berkshire.

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
Since we signed our first lease. March 2017.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
My dad was a chef and he used to have all these fun stories of the good times that came with the hospitality trade so I think it unintentionally got me interested. I was very luckily to work with a head chef in my first ever job who invested his time in me. He had worked for some amazing chefs and got me on my way nicely.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
When you get a team that all just click. Kitchens can only be as enjoyable as the people around you. Also creating a delicious plate of food that brings pleasure to a customer.

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

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

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
Style over substance.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Forgetting the importance of communication between your whole team, especially front of house.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
Spring. It’s just a great time of year, with the crisp mornings comes natures larder.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
It’s very simple but the fig leaf infused cultured butter we serve to every customer with our sourdough in Bristol. I think it’s a very subtle but elegant flavour.

How do you come up with new dishes?
Cook with the seasons and a clear mind.

Who was your greatest influence?
Ollie Dabbous. He has a unique touch and I learnt about the entire running of a business from him, which is so important. It’s a big step going from cook to owner.

Tell us three chefs you admire
John Lawson, Rob Weston and Gary Foulkes.

What is your favourite cookbook?
Crust by Richard Bertinet

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
Ben Marks from Perilla. He is the chef that is doing something unique and special in my option and just keeps his head down, not star gazing.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
They certainly don’t come any bigger than Hide.