Chef of the Week: Will Devlin, Chef Proprietor at No Fixed Abode Pop-Ups
Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
I have loved food for as long as I can remember and started training at West Kent College when I was 19.
What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
The produce. I love the endless possibilities of different flavours and exploring new things. It’s a constant journey of development.
Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Good quality sea salt, all vinegars and natural honey.
Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
A chef’s knife.
What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
I live in a tiny village in Kent and don’t get out much but I suppose I have seen a big increase in burger bars doing really wicked burgers. I love that sort of thing and there is quite a few popping up now.
What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Over-complicating things is a classic mistake. We have all done it but you kind of grow into your own style. Just concentrate on flavour.
What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
I love them all but I would have to say spring for the wild garlic, dandelions, asparagus and nettles – it’s an amazing time of year.
Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
Dishes move so fast these days they are never around long enough to become too attached to.
How do you come up with new dishes?
There is no one formula, some things just pop into your head at random times. Other times, I like to go out to the farms and fields and have a walk in the woods for inspiration.
Who was your greatest influence?
There are so many chefs that I look up to, including Fergus Henderson, Simon Rogan, Paul Cunningham, Nicolai Nørregaard, Sat Bains and many, many more. I think you should be open to see and taste the food of as many chefs as you can and get influenced by everyone.
What is your favourite cookbook?
Ingredient by Ali Bouzari.
Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
There are some wicked chefs cooking in Kent now. People like Ben Crittenden, Simon Ulph, Patrick Hill are all doing exciting things.
What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
Garage 108 in Notting Hill.