Chef of the Week: Ryan Shilton, Head Chef at Dormy House in The Cotswolds

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
Just over 1 month.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
My passion began from eating hearty home cook food at home. My mum has always grown rhubarb in the garden, once it was ready she’d make a crumble. The whole process of growing and picking your own food really intrigued me and has been a real passion of mine throughout my career.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
Mentoring and seeing young chefs grow and develop in the kitchen as well as the challenge of producing consistent, tasty food and knowing that each guest has enjoyed what we have produced.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Vinegar, soy and sugar.

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

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
I try not to get to involved with trends but cooking on open fire seems to be popping up all over my Instagram right now.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Consistency and care. It’s a hard career path to go down, you have to love what you do.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
Summer. The vibrancy of the produce around and the light, sharp, fresh flavours really enhance my style of food.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
Probably one of the first dishes I put on after getting my first head chef role, it was Mangalitza Pork, peas and Worcestershire sauce. The dish has developed and has been on the menu numerous times throughout the summer months. Something you will probably see this summer at Dormy!

How do you come up with new dishes? Its all about Simplicity.
Sourcing the best piece of protein we can get, finding whats in season and bringing it to life with a bit of acidity and sweetness.

Who was your greatest influence?
My Parents.

Tell us three chefs you admire.
Gareth Ward, Michael O’Hare and Mark Birchall.

What is your favourite cookbook?
Too Many Chiefs, Only One Indian by Sat Bains.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
Tom Shepherd. He’s opening his first restaurant in Lichfield, in Staffordshire. Its definitely going to take the dining scene there to new levels.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
From 2019 openings I must say Pensons in Worcestershire has really interested me. I really liked Lee Wescott’s food from the typing room and its just getting better and better.