Chef of the Week: Sam Fazackerley, Head Chef at Rosso in Manchester

How long have you worked at your current restaurant? 
I have been working at Rosso, for close to 9 years now. In various positions, Chef de Partie, Head Pastry Chef, Sous Chef until eventually becoming the Head Chef.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
I recall growing up that I would avidly watch any and all cookery programmes that were on the TV, as I got a little older I liked to modify recipes or fuse different things together.

Luckily my parents would let me experiment and cook for them both. But then I started to work for a family business originally washing up but slowly learning  more and more about baking etc.

It took me a while but the skills were learnt over a long time until I eventually went to college to retrain as a chef. The majority of your skills really come on the job though.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
Everything. The comradery, the adrenaline, the creativity. Its an all or nothing profession. If there’s something you don’t enjoy about it, get out. That thing will become a niggle will become an itch until it becomes all the job is.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Customers, my brigade and salt. It all begins and ends with those three things.

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
My palette, it’s taken my whole life to train and mould it into what it is, through experience. To me it’s invaluable.

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
That’s a bit of funny phrase, that I’m not partial to. The inference is that there’s a merry go round of idea’s that everyone dips into, I don’t subscribe to that.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Ego – a lot of people can enter the industry with a feeling they know all there is, a bravado and confidence that’s misplaced. Feeling they’re the finished article. Its something I’m sure I was more than a little guilty of before.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
Each season has its own unique place for me, however saying that I’m an utter mycophile at heart. So I’ll have to say Autumn.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
The next one, as that will be the total embodiment of my evolution as a chef.

How do you come up with new dishes?
You have to remain inspired, it’s integral to what you do. So I’m a slave to new flavours, I like to source different ingredients that I may have never worked with before and try to incorporate those.

Focus on the tales of other people you work with, what’s their culinary journey, their background.

Who was your greatest influence?
My partner, Tara. She’s my absolute muse in all of my creative pursuits. She unlocks within me, my joy for being, without which I couldn’t be me.

Tell us three chefs you admire
-Josh Niland
-Andrew Clark
-Brad Carter

What is your favourite cookbook?
Manresa by David Kinch.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
Luke French, Simon Martin, Mark Owens & Elizabeth Cottam.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
Flank, I haven’t been and I’m not sure if that disqualifies me or not, but seeing their business grow up and into a fully fledged restaurant is super inspiring, and plus I love smoke, and fat and all the things they’re about so I look forward to making. The trip sooner rather than later.