Chef of the Week: Rupert Taylor, Executive Chef at Bowood Hotel, Golf & Spa in Wiltshire

What is the name of the restaurant you currently work at?
I am the Executive Chef at Bowood Hotel, Golf and Spa.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
I did a work-based apprenticeship under Chef Gary Jones who trained under Raymond Blanc at Homewood Park. This is where I started to work with high end ingredients and learning the classical way to cook. From there I work at The Fat Duck with Heston Blumenthal where I learnt the more modern molecular gastronomy.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
Learning new techniques and trying new ingredients.

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

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
A good non-stick pan.

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
Fermenting is everywhere at the moment.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Not learning the fundamental basics. I also find that a lot of chefs can’t do pastry, this is a skill set that I think all chefs should have.

What is your favourite time of year for food?
Summer to autumn it is one of the best times for products.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
I have a dish that is called ‘Taste of the Garden’, this dish is a dessert that changes with the season. The twist is I use vegetables. Example lemon verbena, carrot toffee and butternut ice cream.

How do you come up with new dishes?
I read a lot of cookbooks, food magazine and watch a lot of tv cooking programmes. I then take a recipe and make it my own and let the creativity flow, I also share this with my team and get their input.

Who was your greatest influence?
Heston he really opened my eyes to what can be done, and that nothing is ever prefect, it can always be done better.

Tell us three chefs you admire.
I have four: Gary Jones, Heston Blumenthal, Pierre Koffmann and Peter Gilmore.

What is your favourite cookbook?
I have so many it is hard to pick a favourite, but the one that means most to me is ‘The Fat Duck Cookbook’ only because I was there when it was created. I know and have made everything in that book in the four and a half years I was there.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
Merlin Laborn-Johnson at Osip, Carl Cleghorn at Thornbury Castle and Chris Cleghorn at The Olive Tree.