Rob Roy Cameron is executive chef at the newly opened Untitled, a cocktail bar and restaurant in Dalston, London. He speaks to Katie Pathiaki about his past at top restaurants in Spain, such as elBulli, 41 Degrees and Hoja Santa, and what made him settle down in London after travelling the globe
You were born in Botswana?
Yes, although my family moved back to the UK when I was 17 years old. I studied photography in the UK and worked as a photographer’s assistant for a couple of years.
What was your first job in the hospitality industry?
Working in my mum’s pizza restaurant.
Where do you think you gained the most valuable experience?
When I was head chef at 41 Degrees. I was very young and there was a steep learning curve. It was a time when I grew a lot as a chef and as a person.
What was your first business?
I started when I was six, making pastries in my mum’s oven and selling them to neighbours.
What is the focus of Untitled?
Creating a space where you can enjoy creative drinks and delicious food.
How would you describe the restaurant’s style?
It’s taken from the simplicity of Japanese cuisine.
What is special about your menu?
The dynamic. You can easily have a couple of dishes paired up with your cocktails or go for the whole menu in one go, to share – or not. It’s simple and straightforward. It complements the drinks and the drinks complement it.
What attracted you to Untitled specifically?
The chance to do something different. Working with cocktails and creating a space where the food is as exciting as the drinks, because they go hand in hand.
Has moving to London been a steep learning curve?
It is very different to Barcelona. It’s just been a case of adapting to the scale of the city.
What do you think of the food scene here?
It’s changed a lot since I used to live here. It’s definitely grown and become more creative and interesting – especially in east London.
Do you think people are eating more Japanese/Asian cuisine?
I think people are starting to cook it more, and Asian ingredients and condiments are now easily found in any supermarket.
Did you plan to be involved in Untitled?
No, at first I was asked only to help set up the kitchen, but I really enjoyed the space and working with the team, so I was happy to stay when they asked.
What are your aspirations?
My main one is to be a good chef, and I am always learning and growing. I am not necessarily looking for fame, but to be respected by my peers would be nice.
Have you achieved your dream?
One of them: working in elBulli, the best restaurant in the world