Chef of the Week: Ross Pike, Chef Director at Oakman Inns

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
Six years as Chef Director.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
I started washing up in a great pub at the age of 14 and feel in love with the kitchen.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
Passing on the knowledge and watching people grow.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Salt, butter and flour.

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
A sharp knife!

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
Being proud of British ingredients and putting them centre stage.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Over complicating things.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
Spring going into summer, the first buds on a elderflower bush.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
Sourdough sticky toffee pudding.

How do you come up with new dishes?
Start with an ingredient or a waste product from another dish, then build from there using inspiration from dishes I have done in the past and also using social media.

Who was your greatest influence?
One of my first head chefs Neil Juniper who pushed me to try and if I failed at something its not a problem, learn from it and try again.

Tell us two chefs you admire.
Brett Graham and Pierre Koffmann.

What is your favourite cookbook?
Bread and butter by Richard Snapes.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
Gareth Ward at Ynyshir Hall.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
Sunday in Brooklyn.