Gary Foulkes took the helm as executive chef of Angler, D&D London's South Place Hotel's Michelin-starred seafood restaurant, in June. He spent five weeks travelling around Thailand prior to his new role. He talks to Katherine Price about moving on from the Square
You've recently joined South Place hotel from the Square. Why did you make the move?
What are you looking forward to most in your new role at Angler?
I'm excited to continue to develop the menus with new and progressive dishes, working with small, quality suppliers.
How did you feel about leaving the Square, after Phil Howard moved on?
My time at the Square has certainly shaped me into the chef I am now. I'm excited to take on a whole new challenge and the timing just felt right. When the opportunity arose, it just felt like the perfect fit for me, and it was too good to turn down.
Is the new menu completely yours?
The menu is product-driven and focused on seasonality, so the offering is constantly evolving. Since joining the team I've certainly put my own stamp on the menu, with the introduction of many new dishes that I'm excited to unveil, such as thinly sliced octopus, citrus dressing, taramasalata and chipirones.
Will you be adapting your cooking in any way?
The hotel's city of London location means that during the week our core clientele is the business guest, who often has tight time constraints that need to be met. I have to closely manage a slick and efficient operation in which quality is never compromised.
You travelled the world for two years - how has that influenced you as a chef?
Massively! I experienced so many cultures and cuisines and it opened my eyes to new flavours and methods of cooking that I've been compelled to recreate in my own style.
I use a lot of ingredients that I discovered and tasted along the way, and a few dishes on the new Angler menu certainly reflect that - the Cornish turbot with a bonito dashi was inspired by my time spent in Japan.
Are there any ingredients that you particularly like to work with?
Anything seasonal - to name just a few: English asparagus, elderflower, Jersey Royals, cuttlefish and Cornish lobsters.
What do you think is currently the biggest influence on food in the UK?
Mexican cuisine is really coming to the fore, in London particularly. Quality restaurants are shifting mind-sets - genuine Mexican dishes are so much lighter than perceived. I must mention La Taqueria in Westbourne Grove - one of my favourites for tacos!
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