What is the name of the restaurant you currently work at, and how long have you been there?
Crockers Henley – Thames Chefs Table, I joined the group in December 2019.
Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
I always loved cooking as I kid, helping my parents out making cookies and things in the kitchen, but it wasn’t until I started my full time job with Stuart Robbins I became really passionate about cooking. Seeing someone pick food from a garden and turn it into a dish I thought was incredible, I trained on the job as an apprentice doing my NVQ.
What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
The creativity side, and that there is always something new to learn and try out.
Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Butter, salt and thyme.
Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
My Control Induction range.
What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
I don’t really know; I don’t follow trends!
What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Rushing, trying to climb the ladder too quickly, you need to do your time and learn as much as you can, you’ve got to learn to walk before you can run.
What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
September/October when there are a few summer ingredients left but autumn flavours have also started.
Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
Tomato risotto currently on the menu – tomato, black garlic, ricotta and basil, also my signature venison dish, venison, red cabbage and chestnut.
How do you come up with new dishes?
Working close with suppliers, always keeping updated with what’s coming into season, then with the help of my Sous Chef, Joshua. We always bounce ideas back and forth, writing every idea down on our kitchen whiteboard, then going back to them day after day till we are happy to start playing with it.
Who was your greatest influence?
The chefs that have got me to where I am now. Stuart Robbins, Richard Davies and Hywel Jones they have all had a tremendous influence on my career and I wouldn’t be the chef I am now without them.
Tell us three chefs you admire.
Jason Atherton, Grant Achatz and Tommy Banks.
What is your favourite cookbook?
Alinea by Grant Achatz.
Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
- Scott Barnard at Crockers Tring.
- Scott Paton, Acleaf Restaurant at Boringdon Hall.
- Ben Champkin, The Botanical Room Restaurant at The Newt in Somerset.
What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
This year has to be Crockers Henley, as I was lucky enough to be part of it.