What is the name of the current restaurant you work at and how long have you worked there?
I am currently the Northern Executive Chef for the Ivy Collection (part of the Ivy Group). Responsible for the operation of 12 restaurants within the collection, including restaurants in Scotland and the Republic of Ireland. I have been in this role for 3 years now.
Give a brief overview of your career.
For many years I worked within stadia across Europe. I then returned to Leeds as Exec Sous at the Queens Hotel before joining the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group in 2011, progressing to Group Executive Chef over the course of six years. I joined the Ivy Collection in 2017 as the group started to expand out of London into the northern regions.
Where did you learn your skills/culinary education?
Mainly France and London, and I was educated at Leeds Beckett (Leeds Met). Most of my skills have been acquired by working with some very experienced chefs throughout the last 20 years. It was a privilege to work with some incredible people, from classically trained chefs to dynamic people managers and operators.
What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
Personally it has always been about people and the food. Firstly the provenance, freshness and heritage of ingredients.. We have some incredible suppliers in the UK who produce some outstanding produce that we should celebrate the use of above all other ingredients. Secondly, the teams within the restaurants. I love seeing the development of aspiring chefs and managers, it is a huge joy to be a part of. The dedication and loyalty of hospitality staff is truly what makes our industry so unique!
Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
I am proud of the dishes my team and I have created for the Ivy Asia Manchester menu, we have worked together to produce a menu tailored to the incredible building and clientele we have. But I’m a true Yorkshireman, so every Sunday roast with beautiful fluffy Yorkshire puddings that I dish up on a day off makes me very happy… it’s also never really about food being ‘my’ dishes rather, I am proud of putting british produce together to celebrate local ingredients in a fresh and seasonal way.
Who was your greatest influence?
MPW, a fellow Yorkshireman and world class chef. His fuss free attitude and drive has always inspired me. Keith Floyd brought humour and ease to 1980s television cooking and is still so relevant today… his wine glass never empty, a man that loved good uncomplicated food and a great french bottle.
What is your favourite cookbook?
Leiths Cookery Bible, the first book given to me in the 1990’s and probably one of the most comprehensive cook-books ever put together.