What is the name of the current restaurant you work at and how long have you worked there?
I currently work at Mamucium Restaurant & Bar in Manchester City centre. It is situated in the Hotel Indigo Manchester Victoria. I was very fortunate to be part of the opening team of this venture, I started working for the company at the beginning of August 2018.
Give a brief overview of your career.
I started my career whilst I was still in school at the age of 15, I first started as a kitchen porter in my local village restaurant called Firenze, it was a small family ran Italian restaurant. I worked there for 6 years in total. I certainly learned a lot but the biggest addition was falling in love with food. At the end of my time there I knew I wanted to be a full time chef. When I started it was simply a job to earn some money.
I then wanted to work in a large kitchen to gain experience in a professional and demanding kitchen. I accepted the role as a Chef de Partie at the Radisson Hotel at Manchester Airport, It is a 360 bedroom hotel that feeds hundreds and hundreds of guests daily. After 3 & a half years I moved to the city centre to work for David Gale at the Alias Rossetti for 1 year in Manchester Piccadilly. I then moved back to the Radisson hotel at Manchester airport to take on a senior sous chef role for the company.
Twelve months later I was finally promoted to Executive head chef at the hotel. I remained in this post for 2 years when I was given the opportunity to make an internal transfer to open a new brand of Radisson called the Park Inn in Manchester city centre. It would be my first opportunity to open a brand new hotel. After 5 years as Executive chef I moved on to the Crowne Plaza Hotel at Manchester Airport, a 303 bedroom hotel with 4 separate restaurants to manage.
This was the new challenge that inspired me. After 1 year I moved back to the city centre to head up Manchester’s most iconic 5 star Hotel The Lowry hotel. I worked at the hotel for 3 and a half years before I made the switch to Mamucium. Mamucium is the latin word for Manchester and the restaurant concept is based on northern influenced food. Originally coming from Glossop and being a true northern boy, this restaurant was a great fit.
Where did you learn your skills/culinary education?
Whilst I worked at Firenze I attended Tameside College to do my catering qualifications, I also did my pastry qualifications a few years later at Trafford College. But I must say the largest amount of learning came on the job in the roles I held.
What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
I think the great thing about being a chef is the impact you have on other peoples lives, whether it be the guests we are feeding or whether it’s the younger chefs you have working for you and how your actions can effect their lives. One of the most rewarding aspects of the job is when you give someone their first opportunity in the kitchen then years later you see then running their own kitchen and teaching younger people what you taught them.
Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
The Lancashire hotpot that is a signature dish and has remained on my menu is certainly one of them. The dish consists of a sous vide piece of Locally reared Lamb Cannon, served with a cabbage parcel of confit lamb leg which is bound with slow cooked lamb fat onions and lamb juices. It also poached potato pearls and carrot puree and a natural lamb jus. Not only does the dish look very elegant its extremely tasty.
How do you come up with new dishes?
Coming up with dishes depends on many factors, one is the concept of the restaurant, does it have a theme? Then seasonality plays a big part. I also try to incorporate some kind of a storey to my ingredients, what I have picked them and what’s special about them. I really like my dishes to look the part as well as tasting good so the design of the plating also plays a big part, I also like to use classic flavour combinations that are we matched.
Who was your greatest influence?
I’ve been very lucky in life that I have had so many great influences. As far as an influence in a kitchen I must say that David Gale has a great influence on me, he has a very unique man management style that I really appreciated and have adopted.
What is your favourite cookbook?
For me the Larousse Gastronomique is my favourite, it’s one of the originals that has influenced so many chefs over the years. Its full of recipes and techniques that you can refer back to all your life, its also something you can direct all your team to if they ever need and recipes – it is one of the mother books.