How did you start cooking? When did you know that you wanted to be a chef?
I used to cook my mum scones and she would say that I should be a chef. So when I was 18 I went to Chilston Park Hotel, knocked on the kitchen door and said ‘I want to be a Chef’ and the rest as they say is history. The Head Chef took a chance on me and I was there for three years while I completed my NVQ.
Who are your cooking influences?
It has to be Tom Kerridge – I met him two years after I started cooking and he just gave me a major boost. He was such a nice guy and to break the mould like he did – receiving two Michelin Stars for his pub The Hand and Flowers – really inspired me.
What inspires you to create a new recipe?
My recipe inspiration comes from a few places. Firstly, I find what other chefs post on social media helpful in keeping up with the trends. Secondly, I love to take the classics and look at the skill behind them really emphasising the flavour – I love it when a dish looks simple but took a lot of skill to put together. Lastly I get inspired by the seasonality of ingredients: I like to pick one and build a whole dish around it.
What food do you like to cook – at home and in the restaurant?
My favourite dish is the first ever dish that I was allowed to plate myself as an apprentice and I still cook it at every opportunity I get – if you come round to my house you will be fed this. It’s loin of venison with dauphinoise potatoes, fig tart and bitter chocolate sauce. The food in Quarter Bar & Lounge is super-relaxed with a direction towards social eating.
Who are your favourite chefs and why?
It has to be my first two head chefs. I learnt so much from them and I can never pay them back for taking a chance on me.
What ingredient could you not live without?
Butter – although I try to use less at home than I do in the kitchen at work.
How do you spend your time out of the kitchen?
I just love to get out and about and explore the British country side.
Other than the hotel, where would you recommend in the area?
It has to be Borough Market – the stall holders put so much effort into making the few dishes that they sell utterly delicious.
Can you share a favourite recipe that we can do at home?
This is my chocolate fondant recipe, which will be on every menu I ever write.
100g dark chocolate – melted
70g caster sugar
50g plain flour
Cream the butter and sugar together until it is light in colour and no longer grainy. Slowly add the eggs, melted chocolate and lastly the flour. Divide the mix into 4 dusted ramekins and cook in a preheated oven for 10 minutes at 180 degrees.
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This year, MagellanPR is celebrating our 20th anniversary. We launched our agency in 1998 with the inauguration of Claridge’s Bar and today in 2018, in what seems like a pre-destined progression, we find ourselves representing Champagne-Ardenne.
Taking Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan as our inspiration, whose tenacity ensured the first circumnavigation of the globe, we at Magellan follow in his wake, living & breathing all things travel – hotels, destinations, operators & more. To celebrate this landmark anniversary, we are living it large by *ahem* going small. Follow our #miniMagellan hashtag in instagram and twitter to live our lives in miniature!