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Chef revelations – Barry Snook, head chef, the Truscott Arms, London

21 February 2014
Chef revelations – Barry Snook, head chef, the Truscott Arms, London

What was your best subject at school?
Anything other than English literature! I liked marine studies and of course hospitality.

What was your first job? My first job was Romeo's, an Italian restaurant in Brisbane Australia.

What do you normally have for breakfast? Breakfast? What's that?! I usually have a coffee made by our amazing housekeeper at the Truscott Arms called Gladys.

What do you do to relax? I like to relax indoors and catch up on whole series of TV programmes and if I am feeling cultural I like to go to art galleries and check out the latest exhibitions. My brother is an artist so it's something I've always been interested in.
Which is your favourite restaurant? I went to Benihanas for the first time the other day and I loved having a front row seat watching the chef cook. Those guys are amazing and so talented. They really engage with their audience and add a touch of theatre to their food. I'm also really enjoying Pied a Terre at the moment.

What's your favourite hotel?

What is your favourite drink? My favourite tipple is a quality scotch with coke, however I've been really getting in to local beers lately. When having a quick drink with a friend I will always have a pint of Camden Pale Ale.

What is your favourite food? I mainly like seafood, especially with a bit of warmth and spice. I am most particular about seafood. It has to be fresh and the more local (if possible) the better.

Are there any ingredients that you refuse to cook with? I think I could come up with a dish with any ingredients, but I would refuse to cook with anything if I didn't know where it had come from. I love visiting suppliers and knowing where each of ingredients is grown.

What flavour combinations to do you detest? Fruit in savoury dishes - I've never really understood it and it has to be executed perfectly or it can easily become a disaster.

What do you always carry with you? My mobile. With my job it is the most important thing for me to have with me… it drives my girlfriend nuts.

How would you describe your desk? ….an organised chaos. Mostly kitchen related books and invoices.

Which person in catering have you most admired? Keith Floyd. What more could a chef want? He was famous and rich, both in spirit and wine.

Which person gave you the greatest inspiration? Marco Pierre White. He is awesome and by the age of 33 he had become the youngest chef to have three Michelin stars.

Cast away on a desert island, what luxury would you take? My iPad to keep in touch with the world and to also play my music.

If not yourself, who would you rather have been? David Attenborough, without a doubt. He gets to travel around and see some pretty awesome sights. I love stuff like that.

If you had not gone into catering, where do you think you would be now? I would probably still be in Brisbane living the life of luxury on the beach. Hang on… why am I here again?

Describe your ultimate nightmare? My mum's cooking! Haha! She is the reason I became a chef and now she dreads even making me toast!

When and where was your last holiday? I was in Paris last month - where I popped the question to my girlfriend on the Eiffel Tower, she made me do it twice. She said yes thankfully.

What irritates you most about the industry? Lack of commitment from chefs. It's a hard time at the moment to get good senior chefs in. Every young chef thinks they know it all by the time they're 21.

When did you last eat a hamburger? Sunday - I made my own does that count?

What is your favourite prepared product? I love using the Chinese XO sauce.

Who would be in your "fantasy" brigade? (please give full names and details of where they currently work)
Hestern Blumenthal, Marco Pierre White, Roux Brothers……. Can they start on Monday please?

If you had more time, what you do?
I think I would travel more and see the world and taste different cuisines and see different cultures.

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