The co-proprietor of the newly opened Lorne in London Victoria talks to Katie Pathiaki about what it takes to open your very own restaurant and how to make it a success
I started in the industry at the age of 16. My first job was working in the local pub. I worked weekends and nights after college and loved the buzz and energy of the kitchen.
When I was growing up, my inspiration was Gary Rhodes. I found his passion for food on TV infectious. Now, I would say Phil Howard is a huge inspiration. He is someone who has taught me so much and he's a person I look up to a lot.
The best thing about being a chef is the fact that every day we start afresh and every day in the kitchen is different. At Lorne the menu is written daily, depending on what is at its peak. We work closely with our suppliers, I talk to them every morning on the phone and we build the menu from there. You never stop learning and that's exciting.
There is no blueprint to success. Work hard, trust yourself and build a team of passionate people and you also have to hope for a bit of good fortune along the way.
It's hard to pigeonhole ourselves as a style of restaurant. I guess that modern British sums us up best, though dashi, pasta and spices will all be used at Lorne. It's the food I most enjoy cooking and eating and I can draw on my experience without being restricted by one cuisine. Ultimately, we just want to cook food that provides people with pleasure.
The first Michelin-starred kitchen I worked in was the Star Inn in Harome in North Yorkshire with chef Andrew Pern. I loved my time there in the kitchen and Andrew's teachings opened up opportunities for me to progress into other Michelin-starred restaurants. I have taken a lot from every restaurant I have ever worked at, but I also eat out whenever I can, and all these things combine to shape me as a chef.
My time in San Francisco was absolutely amazing and something that I look back on with such fond memories. Corey Lee, with his tireless perfectionism, was amazing to work for at the three-Michelin-starred restaurant Benu. He opened my eyes to a style of cooking that I had never experienced, but it was always my plan to come back to London.
I think the food in the UK is better than it's ever been. There are so many talented chefs and I just hope it continues to grow this way. To do this, we need to ensure we are looking after our staff by providing an enjoyable and rewarding place to work.
The biggest lesson I have learned over the years is to stay humble.
It is hard to find good staff, but we are so lucky to have an amazing team at Lorne. We aim to try and keep good staff by training, taking them to visit suppliers and also letting them influence the menu. Now that we have started to settle, we encourage the guys in the kitchen to put forward dishes on a weekly basis.
It's always been my dream to launch my own restaurant. Now, we need to build on the positive start that we have had to make sure we are offering a restaurant that people want to come back to, time and time again. I guess that now we are open, my dream has somewhat shifted to be owning the most successful restaurant I can.
My words of wisdom would be to follow your dreams. Be patient. There will be setbacks along the way. That said, it's a great industry to be part of, so enjoy what you do.
2016-present Co-proprietor, Lorne, London
2015-2016 Chef, the Square, London
2013-2015 Sous chef, Brawn, London
2012-2013 Chef de partie, Benu Restaurant, San Franciso
2008-2012 Junior sous chef, the Square, London
2007-2008 Junior sous chef, the Star Inn at Harome, North Yorkshire