How long have you been a chef?
Since as long as I can remember. It has always been my passion, in fact in some of my earliest family photos you can see my grilling steaks aged 7! Professionally though, I started late. I finished culinary school in 2006 and spent a year travelling, learning and cooking at one of the best restaurants in Southern Italy.
How long have you been working for The London Kitchen?
I joined the team January 2013 and was amazed with the wide range of customers, venues and projects happening here, all at the same time.
What would you say are the most important aspects of your job role?
It is my job as a chef and caterer to provide guests and customers with more than they expect. So I always lead by example, and strive to maintain a great work environment – it reflects directly onto the food we serve.
What brought you to The London Kitchen?
In my career I have worked, travelled and learned from talented chefs in several different countries. I have always been particularly interested in fine dining restaurants, and realised that the experience I would gain working with a high-end catering company such as The London Kitchen would be invaluable to me. And within months I’ve learned more than I expected to, and had a great time doing it!
What has been your proudest accomplishment?
I have worked on almost 200 events with the team, ranging from informal tastings and private dinners to receptions and seated dinners for thousands of guests. I’m very proud to be finishing 2013 as a key part of the team, having worked hard to make this a truly successful year for The London Kitchen. The whole team should be proud of the work they’ve done this year, I think the brilliant feedback we’ve been receiving has been well deserved!
There are a range of different cuisines on The London Kitchen menu. Which is your favourite to cook and why?
Just like New York and Tokyo, London is a very cosmopolitan place. This characteristic gives us so many possibilities, allowing us to explore influences to create truly exciting new dishes. We work mainly with British classics using great seasonal produce, but always give them a London Kitchen twist.
What do you find exciting about creating new dishes and menus?
The research and development of new menus is probably the high point of any chef’s day. I’m constantly thinking about menus – on the train, at the supermarket… anywhere! It is just a matter of analysing your ideas and turning them into dishes which our customers will love.
What is your favourite kitchen gadget in The London Kitchen?
The Rational oven! We cater for private dinner parties for either 6 or 2000+ guests, and this oven is my secret weapon. It enables me to achieve perfection and consistency, no matter how many covers we do at once.
You have recently introduced the ‘manapé’ to your menu – a man-sized canapé. If you had to eat only one manapé for the rest of your life, which one would you choose?
It has to be the lamb slider with carrot harissa. I love the combination of the brioche bun and lime yoghurt, perfectly complementing the lamb, mint and spices.
All time most memorable foodie moment?
Anything that I can take straight from nature and transform into something special is always memorable. One of my favourite memories was a day spent lobster fishing in French Brittany, followed by a four course meal by the sea – starring our freshly caught lobsters.
If you could choose any chef in the world to cook you a three course London Kitchen meal, who would you choose?
Chef Grant Achatz, from Alinea, Chicago.
And what would you have Grant cook for you?
Our menus are very seasonal but, if I could mix them all I would be very pleased to have our prawn, avocado and crab remoulade from our summer menu as starter, the pork, wild mushrooms and tartiflette from our ski menu as main, and the deconstructed apple strudel with a pliable ganache to finish.
What do you love the most about your job?
When you’re working for a catering company the feeling of excitement is constant! I think it’s because every day is so different. Venues change, menus change, seasons change, and we need to adapt ourselves, meaning everything is kept fresh and we’re always being challenged.
There is nothing better than the feeling of accomplishment at the end of an event. We obviously have a very well-oiled system in practice but the adversities are always present. It requires a lot of hard and precise work and we all love it. And that’s why we keep on doing it with a big, genuine smile in our faces.