Name 2 of your “food heroes” and tell us why they inspire you?
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall: his approach to river cottage and a slow food style ethos is commendable, but primarily I've always found his outlook on meat eating to be an excellent way of thinking "Because animals have to die for us to eat it's important we try to waste as little of the animal as humanly possible"
Gordon Ramsay: He's perhaps a contentious choice, given how dramatised a lot of his more recent series have been, but having worked in kitchens before I know that the stereotype is somewhat true. It underlies a deep passion for the quality of food served and how it is prepared. A chef that acts like I feel Gordon Ramsay does in the kitchen has the utmost respect for the food they cook and serve to customers and his style of cooking is to be encouraged. High standards of quality along with uncomplicated preparation and presentation really lets the food speak for itself.
What do you like to cook and why?
Pastry is becoming a lost art. It's fiddly, but it's not necessarily difficult. You primarily need to follow the rules and give it the appropriate time required in it's preparation.
When I'm not on a diet I like to make my own mayonnaise, along with other classical sauces like bearnaise and hollandaise to serve freshly made. The taste is completely incomparable to shop-bought equivalents, I suppose this is again a lost technique.
This all stems from my time at cookery school where I was taught by a 60+ year old lady with a great deal of knowledge and experience in the kitchen. One day information like she has will be lost if people don't endeavour to learn and pass it on.
When did you decide to become a chef?
After working in IT I felt like retraining and wound up going to cookery school to learn a new trade that is also a valuable life skill. I attended cookery school in 2012
What do you remember about School dinners?
Primary school dinners are why I hated Quiche for a ridiculously long time. The quality overall from Secondary school onwards was not too bad in reality, although I've never been a hugely picky eater. The vegetables were never that good.
What was your favourite school dinner?
Roast chicken and Stuffing balls. I went to boarding school so I have great memories of a Sunday morning fry-up too.
What would be your perfect meal?
Starter- Smoked Salmon and prawn cocktail plate with a marie rose
or Pate/Terrine with oatcakes and some sort of fruit chutney
Main- Steak and chips with bearnaise sauce - Despite thousands of years of culinary advancement it's hard to beat a well-cooked steak.
or Alternatively a sunday roast pork belly, with some assorted sides
What kitchen tool could you NOT live without?
It's hard to understate the value of some good quality chef knives. Assuming that as an invalid answer, a mandolin.
In your restaurant or premises who would be your ideal diner?
An open-minded eater with no allergies and a willingness to try absolutely anything. I think that's the best way to be. Can't knock it till you've tried it.
If you weren't a chef what would you be?
I'd perhaps still be in IT, a writer or a photographer, or perhaps working for a local biscuit producer that exports internationally.
Where do you go when you want to eat at a restaurant?
Edinburgh - Timberyard, L'escargot Bleu, Gardener's cottage, Dusit
What 5 ingredients would you choose to have on your desert Island?
onions Chilli Beef Chicken Potatoes