The head chef at the Empire Room, Royal Harbour hotel in Ramsgate, Kent shares his likes and dislikes
What was your first job?
A plongeur in the Conservatory, a small restaurant in Ramsgate, Kent, when I was 14
What do you do to relax?
I spend time with my wife, Gemma, and our three young boys, Noah, Alfie and Oscar
Which is your favourite restaurant?
It must be the Empire Room as I spend 15 hours a day here. But away from work, Wheelers Oyster Bar in Whitstable is special
What’s your favourite hotel?
I have special memories of Mallory Court in Leamington Spa, where I spent four years
What is your favourite drink?
A pint of local real ale
What flavour combinations do you detest?
A 1970s trifle with carton custard, packet jelly, tinned fruit and squirty cream
Which ingredient do you hate the most?
I love shellfish, but I haven’t had much luck with whelks – too chewy
Which person in catering have you most admired?
Simon Haigh, head chef at Mallory Court. He took me in as a commis straight out of college and really developed my skills to a Michelin-star level
Cast away on a desert island, what luxury would you take?
A barrel of local Gadds’ beer from the Ramsgate Brewery. It’s a great drink, but I could also try using the keg to make a dingy.
What is your favourite prepared product?
Cheese; I do like some after-service cheese and biscuits. I’m partial to Kentish Brie and Camembert.
If not yourself, who would you rather have been?
Jimmy Doherty of Jimmy’s Farm
Tell us a secret…
I love crunchy peanut butter and Bovril, together, on toast
What irritates you most about the industry?
Government cutbacks in catering colleges, which I feel, having spent five years teaching, has been one of the reasons for the lack of chefs in the industry
What’s your favourite book?
Where Chefs Eat by Joe Warwick