What was your best subject at school?
The reason I got into cooking was because I did it at school, the only lad in a group with 32 girls
What was your first job?
A 50p-an-hour bus cleaner. I used to earn more money from finding coins underneath the seats!
What was your first job in catering?
Chef de plonge (washing up) in the village pub, with a swift promotion to cooking on the grill within weeks
What do you normally have for breakfast?
I usually like a bit of crumpet in the mornings
Which is your favourite restaurant?
I don’t go back to the same places often, had a great meal in the St John hotel recently, and stalwarts like Le Caprice deserve more of a mention sometimes, maybe as I worked there for 10 years
What’s your favourite hotel?
Anywhere small and simple that offers good service. In Italy this year I actually switched hotels as the service was really bad.
What do you do to relax?
Not a lot, the odd game of tennis would normally happen once a week, but haven’t had a chance this year
What is your favourite drink?
I’m quite a fan of a long white port and tonic during the summer. I was introduced to this by Sophia Bergqvist of Quinta de la Rosa a couple of summers ago
Are there any foods/ingredients that you refuse to cook with?
I don’t see any reason why you want to use dried herbs?
Which person in catering have you most admired?
I think it has to be someone you have spent time with, so people like Jeremy King and Chris Corbin for their professionalism and structure, and Nick Jones for energy, creativity and vision
What is your favourite food/cuisine?
Anything… though I’ve just got big into barbecuing now I’ve finally got a garden!
Which person gave you the greatest inspiration?
Again, people I have spent many kitchen hours with, so obviously Mark Hix, but Tim Hughes, too, chef-director of Caprice Holdings
What irritates you most about the industry?
Froths, foams and bubbles – when’s it going to burst?
When did you last eat a hamburger?
Last week at HIX Soho, it’s always on the menu
What’s your favourite film?
I’m a fan of movies such as Shawshank Redemption or American History X
Kevin Gratton, group head chef, Restaurants Etc