I thought I would put in a note about where my cooking style and influences come from. My interest in food started mainly from “The Naked Chef” series with Jamie Oliver. It wasn’t always the food I liked as much as the idea of enjoying food and getting ingredients together and just having a go. Also it was food I would eat and try to cook. Jamie just gave me the inspiration to add a twist here or there and start to experiment.
I later became much more interested in the finer foods and in the main, Gordon Ramsey. I know it’s a bit of a cliché to have Chef Ramsey as an influence. I just enjoyed his food and more his other chefs at Maze & Boxwood. Yes, Stuart Gilles & Jason Atherton have inspired me a whole lot more, especially after their appearances in “The Great Birtish Menu” on the BBC. I have been to both restaurants, the only Ramsey restaurants I have eaten at. Maze is great, I like the idea of tapas style food that isn’t Spanish. Gives you a chance to try lots of different things. Boxwood is just superb with a steak even I couldn’t eat completely. If you go there, the Rib-eye chop is huge and has to be tried. Since writing this, Boxwwood has sadly closed and we enjoyed a great last night with Stuart and the team. It is not all bad news as Stuart let slip that he plans to open Boxwood again elsewhere, hopefully in 2012. Also the space at the Berekely has been taken on by a tru legend of hte kitchen, Pierre Koffmann.
Okay so all my influences thus far have been on the TV. I am not afraid to admit that I would not cook what I do now if it hadn’t been for that fact. However, I have met Jason Atherton & Stuart Giles and what came over was their passion for good food and quality ingredients. Jason particularly was more interested in how I’d got on with his book rather than talking about himself or the restaurant.
My Wife, Michala, is another one of my influences in more than one way. She is a qualified chef who decided not to go into the industry after finishing college. She has helped me with my knife skills in the main with other tips on how to serve and cooking techniques. She says about me that while she has the skill, I have the talent for putting ingredients together. Together we make a pretty good team. Michala also has a passion for good food and is responsible for introducing me to Michelin Star restaurants and without her I probably would never have gone. She is also the one who introduced me to the Taste Festivals and Saturday Kitchen.
The Taste festivals have given me a chance to try amazing food that I have never had before (oysters for one) and the chance to meet some of the Chefs. Among these who have since influenced me are Atul Kochhar, Richard Corrigan and Michel Roux Jr. Anyone who has read my blog fully or seen my Tweets will know that Michel Roux Jr is my main current influence. The man is nothing short of a genius of the culinary world. Also as well having these guys to influence me, I have been to their restaurants, Benares in the case of Atul Kochhar, Mr Corrigan’s Bentley’s & Lindsey House and of course, Michel Roux Jr’s Le Gavroche.
So quite a range of influences especially when you consider I will be taking some of Richard Corrigan’s hearty good food mixed in with the refined cooking of Michel Roux Jr for my father’s 70th birthday. Just a shame my Masterclass with Richard is not until June and I will be cooking this meal in February. Oh and did I mention the masterclass takes place at Corrigan’s of Mayfair.
I can not finish though without mention of Olly Smith. I love wine and Olly is great in not only the way he promotes wine and recently British Beer and cider, but also because he gives you choice. Yes we’d all like the best wine possible but we can’t all afford it and Olly recognises that by telling you what’s great at a price and then what you can get at a bargain to take it’s place.
So I’ll finish off by saying who would cook my fantasy dinner. The starter would be Jason Atherton with his BLT, main would be something by Richard Corrigan, probably Sea Bass or Pork, I would let him decide and then desert would have to be Michel Roux Jr’s selection which I had at Le Gavroche. I’m not a pudding or desert person and I would gladly eat that over and over. The wine would be selected by, as you would expect, Olly Smith.
Addendum 07/12/11: I thought I should add a little note on this as I have been lucky enough to meet and cook with a few chefs who all now deserve a mention in my influences. I owe a lot to these guys for their time, generosity and, above all, their knowledge. They are, Chris Jagger (Prested Hall), Hayden Groves (Lloyds of London), Jeff Galvin (Galvin La Chapelle) and Mickael Weiss (Coq D’Argent). I must also mention a two more chefs who have helped spur me on, Mark Baumann and Michael Riemenschneider. Mark for allowing me in his kitchen, even though he wasn’t there. Michael, who actually cooked steak in my own kitchen (he was the guest!) and who I hope to cook with in the new year.
This page has the following sub pages.