What is the name of the current restaurant you work at and how long have you worked there?
The Lygon Arms Hotel – Bar and Grill – 4 years.
Give a brief overview of your career.
Training in Prague, Czech Republic, I worked in a number of the great hotels and restaurants in the city, before running my own restaurant for 3 years. I was always fascinated by British cuisine and the produce that was readily available. I have decided to relocate to London and start from scratch, quickly worked my way to the top, and always choosing to work in historical manor houses and establishments steeped in history. I was always drawn to historic buildings with spectacular grounds with a history of hospitality. The Lygon Arms exceeds all of this. What better place to cook in?
Where did you learn your skills/culinary education?
Started in Prague – Catering and hospitality college, followed by Hotel operations and catering private school with many work experiences around the city in one of the best places and chefs.
What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
The buzz and excitement of a busy kitchen, the feeling on a Saturday night service when every guest leave happy, the team work and banter which is needed in every work place, seeing young chefs progress and most importantly our job is never the same with seasons changing and quality produce becoming available around us. I enjoy talking to local suppliers about new products each seasons and always look forward to writing the next menu.
Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
The dishes which was developed and evolved by talking to my chefs and tasting them as a team. We have iconic dishes which are on the menu in all of our Iconic Luxury Hotel properties, this reminds me that we are part of a dedicated team and all share the same vision.
How do you come up with new dishes?
Every new dish starts with discussing new ideas with my best chefs, and then recreating them in the kitchen. Tasting sessions follow with my managers and when we collectively agree with the outcome of the dish, it becomes part of the menu. I enjoy getting everyone involved and make them proud of having an input. It’s a team effort.
Who was your greatest influence?
As a young chef, I worked with a butcher in Kampa Park who was 72 years old, and who managed to do all the butchery for the whole place. I admired the energy he put into everything. When I moved to England 16 years ago, my inspiration became Gary Rhodes, I loved his cooking style. As of late I am inspired by observing the experience and talents of the people around me, within our company, and I continue to learn a lot from them.
What is your favourite cookbook?
- Tom Kerridge’s Best Ever Dishes
- The River Cottage Fish Book by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
- Paul Hollywood’s 100 Great Breads