Alan Murchison, chief executive officer at 10 in 8 Fine Dining Group, talks about strong coffee, lavender, Gordon Ramsay and Take That…
What was your first job in catering? Kitchen porter in a local hotel then promoted to the giddy heights of a YTS chef on £28 a week
What do you normally have for breakfast?
Strong coffee and Dorset Cereals toasted spelt muesli
What do you do to relax?
I go running every day
What is your favourite restaurant?
The Hand & Flowers, Marlow, with Alinea in Chicago close behind
What's your favourite hotel? I will always have a soft spot for Raymond Blanc's Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, for so many reasons
Are there any foods/ingredients that you refuse to cook with? Out of season food of any description annoys me as it's just lazy and does not taste of anything
What is your favourite cuisine? Anything Asian - Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese
Which ingredient do you hate the most? Processed food of any type
What flavour combinations do you detest?
Lavender with anything. It's like kissing your granny; it's not right
Which person in catering have you most admired?
I still admire Gordon [Ramsay]; we have not seen anybody quite like him. I know it's not fashionable at the moment to give him any credit, but let's not forget he has helped take our profession to another level in so many ways
Which person gave you the greatest inspiration?
All my head chefs who mentored me on the way up the ladder: Graham Newbold, Simon Haigh, John Burton Race and Raymond Blanc
If not yourself, who would you rather have been?
Tell us a secret…
I have been to see Take That and really enjoyed it!
What irritates you most about the industry? Low wages for so many people and even hearing the words ‘Ready Steady Cook'
Who would be in your fantasy brigade?
Canapes: Heston Blumenthal, cold starters: Marco Pierre White, hot starters: Martin Burge, fish: Tom Kerridge, sauce: Raymond Blanc, pastry: Benoit Blin, running the pass: Will Holland, pot wash: Jamie Oliver