Chef of the Week: Will Guthrie, Regional Executive Chef of The Brownsword Hotel Group

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
I have been the Executive Head chef of Buckland Manor now for 8 and half years.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
A My main love for food came from mum, growing up with her cooking and baking every day. Yet my passion did not really start till I was about 18 years old and working for then the one star chef Ben Davies at LLangoed Hall.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
I definitely love eating what I produce, as you might be able to tell!  However I love seeing young chefs grow, if I can be a little part of their development and learning. This is what gives me my most enjoyment.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Salt, butter and chocolate!

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
It has to be my knives and a crank handle flipper (they’re  like a comfort blanket).

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
I think we are finally going back to the classics, simple in presentation but with the added touch of a chef bring them into the modern day, and that’s fun!

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
The mentality that they think they should be a senior chef with no real knowledge to back it up! There are some that are young which are simply gifted ( i.e Niall  Keating) but not many! So they simply need to take more time to be a stronger chef!

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
That’s a tough one but I think autumn because I love the heartier ingredients such as the squashes and hedge fruits like blackberries.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
I couldn’t pin point one dish but the ones which are most playful are normally my favourites.

How do you come up with new dishes?
Firstly we look at what is in season and then we try to create great flavour combinations as a team and have fun with them.

Who was your greatest influence?
My family first! But in my professional life would have to be Simon Haigh and Stuart McLeod for very different reasons, two amazing chefs and mentors.

Tell us three chefs you admire.
Michael Caines, Gareth Ward and Raymond Blanc.

What is your favourite cookbook?
My goodness that’s an impossible question  but over the years the ones that I keep returning to are Bentley , Eleven Madison Park, Michael Bras , Le Champignon Sauvage and WD 50 to name a few.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
Douglas Balish, Allister Barsby, Alex  Bond and Chris Eden.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
A great last question!  It would have to be the Minster Mill as I helped open it for Brownsword Hotels!