What is the name of the current restaurant you work at and how long have you worked there?
I am currently at The Bulls Head Heyside, which is conveniently next door to where I live. I have been here for about 12 months.
Give a brief overview of your career.
I am a third-generation butcher learning my trade at the family abattoir and butchery. I then went on to specialise in sausage making where I developed many different flavour combinations which later led me into street food, where I cooked in some incredibly challenging situations. After about a year of wet tents and field cooking I found bricks and mortar in Manchester as part of a street food start-up which later became Beastro, a 30 cover bistro. I have catered weddings and special occasions all over the country and even cooked a fine dine meal on the back of an open top bus while it drove around Manchester city centre.
Where did you learn your skills/culinary education?
I think that my style and education in cookery started with my grandma and continued with my mum. Both ladies have had an incredible influence on both my outlook to cooking and my style. I have had no formal education, but I am continuously learning through working with some incredible chefs, watching others, reading, and experimenting with produce. I feel my years in the butchers has inspired a lot of my food.
What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
I think deep down its all about service, its difficult to explain but there is something about having a grab full of checks, the printer whirring away and just beautiful plates of food going out. It’s addictive!
Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
One of my favourite Burns night dishes was some delightful Haggis and whiskey wontons that we serve with a spiced plum sauce. They are delightful but it has been a starter and bar snack and has been on the menu ever since. I created a dessert using piccolo parsnips, which really divides people. It has ginger crumb, spiced cream, chocolate ‘soil’, lemon balm and poached parsnips. Served in a glass layered to look like a garden.
How do you come up with new dishes?
I start with a seasonal ingredient, I then work from there looking at what flavours will taste best with it, I love mixing ingredients and techniques that people would not necessarily use together.
Who was your greatest influence?
Fergus Henderson for his passion for nose to tail cookery. Its all about the offal #nosetotail
What is your favourite cookbook?
My mum found my great grandmas handwritten recipe book amongst some old books when she was having a clear out. It may not be the most up to date in the world, but some the recipes in it are amazing. Its not the newest, or the most expensive, but is my favourite.