What is the name of the current restaurant you work at and how long have you worked there?
I’m currently baking sourdough at Docker in Folkestone and I’ve been there since September 2019. I’m in the process of starting my own street food pop up called The Bao Baron.
Give a brief overview of your career.
I’m former head chef of Samphire, Whitstable and Googies, Folkestone, rising from a background in Kentish restaurant’s such as Rocksalt, Folkestone and The Swan, West Malling. Over the course of my career I’ve twice won Taste of Kent Awards, taken finalist in the National Burger Awards and achieved two consecutive entries into the Waitrose Good Food Guide. During my time at Samphire, I oversaw a number of high-profile takeovers, working alongside Michelin starred and well-renowned chefs such as Jose Pizzaro, James Cochran of 1251, Dan Smith of Fordwich Arms, Steve Harris of Sportsman and Marcin Szelag of Rocksalt. I take influence from around the world and exercise a broad range of culinary skill sets, including the practices of pickling, smoking, baking, fermenting, curing and foraging. An appetite for knowledge and a passion for food culminates in menus that emphasise seasonal produce.
Where did you learn your skills/culinary education?
I did an NVQ 2 at Folkestone College, but most of my skills have been picked up from people I have worked with and my own desire to learn.
What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
It’s a job the requires all of your senses. Smells and sounds, the way things look and feel and of course the way things taste. It’s very engaging and the purest way of showing someone care and respect.
Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
A tricky question! I created a tasting menu around the ethos of nose to tail eating using a side of Dexter Beef from Sladden Farm in Alkham Valley, making smoked sausages, Vietnamese pho, calves liver and bacon, curing the fillet, and a shin and oyster pie. And I made my own suet from the fat to make a steamed pudding for dessert.
How do you come up with new dishes?
It depends what I’m reading and what is inspiring. I like to keep things seasonal and pay attention to trends and what people are wanting to eat at the time.
Who was your greatest influence?
I feel very lucky to have the support of my friends and family and that always gives me confidence and inspires me.
What is your favourite cookbook?
I’ve got a few! The first one my parents got me when I was about 15, Jamie Oliver – Jamie’s Kitchen Joe Beef, Pitt Cue Co, and Bone Daddies. And I couldn’t live without my foraging and mushroom guides!