Chef of the Week: Sofiane Kaced, Executive Chef at Bankside Hotel, London

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
Since February 2023.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
My mother. Growing up in Southern France and watching my mother cooking from an early age had a huge influence on my passion for cooking as well as my style and technique. Her food was typically French/Mediterranean, fresh locally grown, seasonal foods (lots of peppers) cooked over the grill.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
I love that I can be creative. Having the freedom to create new dishes, flavours and textures is fulfilling and rewarding. Seeing people smile and enjoying my food is the best feeling.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Onion, thyme and olive oil.

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

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
Wood fires are hot! Excuse the pun. Everything is about sustainability, provenance and growing your own. I really hope these are not just trends, and that people are genuinely moving towards this direction.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Allowing pressure and stress to get to them, this causes a stressful environment to work in. Over working dishes is another thing that can let them down, sometimes you just need the confidence to know something works.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
Spring. I love the way the season suddenly changes with promise. The bright colours, the first shoots of crops growing. It’s also a time to start planning new crops. It feels like a fresh start. I just love that.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
From the current menu the ‘Beetroot carpaccio’ and the ‘Beef Tartar’.

How do you come up with new dishes?
I am constantly gathering ideas, even when I am not looking to create new dishes. I jot things down, am constantly trying to discover new ingredients &  suppliers and then I bring it all altogether through brainstorming.

Who was your greatest influence?
I have two! Christian Sinicropi, he was always ahead of his times. I remember him 20 years standing out from the crowd wearing a bright green jacket rather than traditional whites. He cooks simple food, creativity.

My second is Jason Atherton. His influence stems from working alongside him. He is an incredibly talented chef, and I learnt a lot from him.

Tell us three chefs you admire.

What is your favourite cookbook?
Pollen Street cookbook.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
The team at Pavillon Ledoyen, Yannick Alleno and Mauro Colagreco at The OWO.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?