Alyn Williams, chef-patron, Alyn Williams at the Westbury, London
What was your first job?
A paper round when I was at school, and then working as a trainee hairdresser in my mum’s favourite salon in Bond Street
What was your first job in catering?
It was a gentleman’s club called Naughty Lunches in St James’s. I started doing the washing up, then the sous chef left and I was offered his job. It was pretty much a strip joint – I was 16 and I thought I’d died and gone to heaven
What do you do to relax?
I go to the football – I have a season ticket at West Ham
Which is your favourite restaurant?
The Ledbury in Notting Hill or Midsummer House in Cambridge
What’s your favourite hotel?
The Capra in Saas-Fee, Switzerland
What is your favourite cuisine?
Japanese. I love its freshness, complexity and depth of flavour
Which ingredient do you hate the most?
Salt-based stock cubes
What is your favourite drink?
Glenfarclas 40-year-old single-malt whisky
What flavour combinations do you detest?
I don’t like strong aniseed flavours, as I got very drunk on Pernod when I was a teenager
Which person in catering have you most admired?
Paul Ainsworth: he’s a good friend, he’s a fantastic cook and a great person. John Williams at the Ritz is also my culinary hero
Which person gave you the greatest inspiration?
My mum. She was an extremely inspirational woman. She gave me great advice and was very open-minded
Cast away on a desert island, what luxury would you take?
A stove, a box of all-weather matches… and a bottle of Glenfarclas
If you had not gone into catering, where do you think you would be now?
A pro snowboarder or a lounge/wedding singer
Tell us a secret…
I eat more peanut butter KitKats than is good for me
What is your favourite prepared product?
Heinz tomato soup with crumpets on the side