Chef of the Week: Sam Jackson, Head Chef at Dexter at Browns in Carmarthenshire

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
I’ve been working at Dexters at Browns for year and half now.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
My passion for cooking comes from early memories of cooking with and watching my nan cook. I am completely self taught.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
What I enjoy the most about being a chef is the creativity, and that you never stop learning.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Rock salt, butter and olive oil.

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
I could not live without my Thermomix.

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
The food trends I’m spotting at the moment is pushing the boundaries of what we know as modern British cuisine.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
I believe the most common mistake that lets chefs down is thinking you know everything and you can’t learn anymore so In turn you stop pushing yourself .

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
My favourite time of year for cooking would have to be the spring as we start to get a really good variety of vegetables coming into season and that we can grow and harvest here in the UK in abundance.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
The dish I’m most proud of would have to be a dessert we currently have on at the restaurant at the minute. It’s a 70% dark chocolate delice, caramelised peanuts, peanut butter parfait and hot salted carmel sauce. It gives me a sense of nostalgia as growing up I loved snickers and this dessert eats like a Snickers.

How do you come up with new dishes?
I have 3 main aspects I look at when creating a new dish and they are.  What’s in season, I consider how the guests will interrupt it, and then taste taste taste.

Who was your greatest influence?
My greatest influence is my mother as she always showed me growing up just how far hard work can get you and to never stop pushing yourself and your own boundaries

Tell us three chefs you admire.

What is your favourite cookbook?
My favourite cookbook at the moment is ‘How to Cook Meat Properly’ by Ben Foster.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
My favourite new restaurant that’s opened within the last year would have to be Feast Pembrokeshire at Tap and Tan. I love their concept of fresh food smoked and cooked over fire.