Where have you previously worked?
After leaving The Talland Bay Hotel, I moved on to a place called ‘Couch’s Brasserie’ which is ran by Richard McGeown who was trained by Gordon Ramsay and Marco Pierre White. It was a small bistro with myself Richard and one other chef. While working here I bought a café and did it up, I still own the café with my sister. The café is called ‘Bean and Scone’ I ran the café for 5 years while my sister was traveling. Once she returned, I moved to Wilshire where I met my partner. Here I helped out with new openings and start-up restaurants. We then moved down to St. Ives where I worked in the ‘Sea Food Café’, I worked here for a year before returning back to Wiltshire where I was the Head Chef at Laval Garden Centre in Shaw for 4 years. I took this restaurant from a quiet café into a trendy niche restaurant, where I produced lots of fresh food from the garden centre.
What are you most excited about working at Visit Hillbrush?
The most exciting part for me is that it is still a new restaurant. The people who work here are very passionate about the business and want to grow it further. I see it as an opportunity to come in and put my own personality into it from my previous experience. I like quirky places that have a unique business model to them. I like a challenge, and I see it as a place that can flourish and grow.
What is your favourite food gadget in the kitchen?
My favourite gadget is the Sous Vide. It is such a versatile piece of equipment to use, it allows you to lock in flavours that you would otherwise loose from conventional boiling or steaming. Essentially, you seal the food in a vacuum sealed bag and drop it into the machine.
Who is the most famous person that you have cooked for?
That’s a great question! I have been lucky enough to cook for a few famous people in my career. One of my regulars was Richard and Judy as they used to live very close to ‘The Talland Bay Hotel’, I also cooked for Jamie Oliver here too. Most recently I cooked for Paloma Faith, but the most famous person I’ve cooked for that resonates the most would be Sir Tom Jones.
What dish must you try on the menu at Visit Hillbrush?
Personally, right now I would recommend the fish pie. We are supplied with really high-quality fresh fish from Devon and Cornwall. As a sea food person and growing up on the coast, I think it is one of the best dishes that we currently have on our menu.
Who inspires you in the food industry?
I would say that I take inspiration from many different people in the industry. Firstly, I would say Gordon Ramsay for his passion and drive. Before he became so well-known his main goal was to achieve his accreditations and Michelin Star’s, and that hard-working attitude is something that I see within myself. I would say Marco Pierre White too for is classical cooking styles and I have big respect for Jamie Oliver, he was the one of those who started to introduce restaurant style food that the public can easily cook in their own homes.
What is the best part about being a chef?
The best part about being a chef for me is being around people, being hands on and being creative. Personally, I can’t sit in an office I like to bounce around and dash from place to place. I like to let my creative juices flow when I’m designing a plate and be creative with other people as well.
What is your top tip for any budding chefs?
My top tips for any budding chefs would be to listen, don’t be afraid to fail, be passionate and hard working. In my opinion, these are the key points that anyone starting out in their career should take with them. It’s a difficult job, and a mentally tiring job, so a certain amount of effort is required to succeed.
What is your favourite movie?
That’s a tough question! My wife and I watch a lot of movies, but I would have to say that I could quite happily sit down and watch the Matrix trilogy.
What is your favourite car?
I am certainly a petrol head. My favourite car changes, right now I’m into my classics. So, I would have to say a 70’s or 80’s Mercedes SL. You can’t really go wrong with a 450 V8. There is nothing better than driving around the coast in a classic car is a bit more Hollywood than a modern car.
What do you like to do when you are not cooking?
I’m a family man, so I spend a lot of time with my wife, we like to go for walks in the countryside. We also spend a lot of time in Cornwall visiting my family. I have a little boat that I use to go out rod fishing, there is nothing better than cooking a meal with a freshly caught fish. Although oddly enough I do spend a lot of time cooking at home for my wife, but cooking at home and cooking in a restaurant is very different.
Which country has the best food out of those you have visited?
I’ve travelled quite a bit, but I would have to say the Italians. Each region of the country has a different style, but they are all so amazing! The French do know their food on a technical level, but there is something about the Italian style that draws me in, even the simplest dish is just incredible.
Where is your favourite place to holiday?
I’ve been lucky enough to visit lots of different places. I would have to say Kefalonia in Greece, it’s my mine and my wife’s go to destination. Eventually I’d love to have a small restaurant over there one day, but certainly have a villa there as we tend to go there for our annual holiday. The atmosphere is calm and relaxing and is a nice change of pace to over here.