What do you find most satisfying about your work?
When customers are appreciative of the little things, the things that aren’t necessarily exciting but have taken a great deal of thought and hard work to achieve. I also love nothing more than a restaurant full of happy people with empty plates.
Is there a chef you particularly admire, and if so why?
Yes, Raymond Blanc, because he shares his vast knowledge unselfishly and moves with the times. His recipes are also fantastic and they all work!
Is there any aspect of the contemporary food scene that you find especially irritating?
Yes, the use of empty plates and placing a teaspoon of ingredients on the edge, leaving 90% of the plate empty.
Describe your perfect dining companion or guest.
Richard Branson – any man who creates a galactic airline must have some amazing stories to tell.
Are there any food critics whose opinions you respect, and if so why?
Yes, Giles Coren. He describes the exact reasons for his critique, not just personal preferences and his use of language is very poetic.
What’s the most important thing to bear in mind when cooking your recipes at home?
Wash up as you go along! Prepare everything you can in advance so it gives you time to enjoy your food and the company you have. Good food should be a social event for the cook/host too.
What inspired you to become a chef?
My parents have always been great home cooks and their wonderful dinner parties started my interest in producing great food. During the school holidays, my mother would set a task, for example, produce a cake; I would keep doing it until I got the perfect result.