Chef of the Week: Roy Ner, Chef Patron at Jeru in London

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
I have been working at Jeru in Mayfair since the opening in 2021.  Prior to this I had spent the past 18 years in Australia.  So I am relatively new to the UK scene.

Where did your passion for cooking come from, and where did you learn your skills?
The beauty of hospitality lies in bringing people together for a shared experience of good food, wine, and company. It’s a simple yet powerful way to forge lasting memories and moments. Growing up with a North African food heritage, I learned the value of coming together with family over a spread of delicious food. It has inspired me to cherish the tradition of gathering, sharing meals and creating memories with loved ones.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
It’s amazing how food can be used as a powerful tool for communication – watching people understand and enjoy it is truly inspiring.

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

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
My Japanese knife and a charcoal pit.

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
The true understanding of low and slow cooking.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Been too technical about specific dishes, forget the guest experience on the table and most importantly the art a composed menu as a whole.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
In summer, when the flavours become light and punchy.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
Our deep understanding of the bread and Koji fermentation that led to our legendary potato bread.

How do you come up with new dishes?
Inspiration is a muscle or an instinct that takes years to develop. Once you understand your identity, everything can spark a new idea.

Who was your greatest influence?
I had a lot of professional chefs for whom I worked, and they guided me through my career. But the greatest influence of my heritage is the fact that food is enjoyed in a family environment and in abundance.

Tell us three chefs you admire.

What is your favourite cookbook?
Larousse Gastronomique.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
There are so many fantastic rising chefs, it would be hard for me to say.  But I do get some inspiration from the Young Chef Young Waiter competition that I am currently judging.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
Nela, Amsterdam. Ex executive chef of Nobu is doing his interpretation of charcoal cooking.