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Revelations – James Lyon-Shaw

29 July 2011 by

What was your first job in catering? Waiter at the King's Arms hotel in Dorchester

What do you normally have for breakfast? Actimel and a coffee

What is your favourite restaurant? Very tough question; depends on my mood. I'm very into bar dining at the moment, so my current favourites are Dean Street Townhouse and Bocca di Lupo

What is your favourite hotel? Careys Manor hotel & SenSpa in the New Forest - it's great for a weekend retreat, it has a brilliant spa and a lovely simple French bistro where you can feast on snails

What is your favourite drink? A dirty martini made with cornichons or a good pint of Bath Ales Barnstormer

Which ingredient do you hate the most? Liquorice

What is your favourite food/cuisine? I love rustic food that lets the ingredients do the talking. I like tapas as it is a good way to draw out a leisurely lunch

Which person in catering have you most admired? Mark Hix - he's from my home town and went to the same college that I went to. He has made such a great success by serving honest food at a great standard. I love all his places

Which person gave you the greatest inspiration? My first head chef, Ashley Prynn, as he really got me hooked on cooking and how much enjoyment it can give so many people

What is your favourite prepared product? Anchovy sauce

Describe your ultimate nightmare A ban on drinking in pubs!

If you hadn't gone into catering, where do you think you'd be now? I was always into horse racing so hopefully working in that industry

Where was your last holiday? Last August in Andalucia; a small cottage in the hills

What irritates you most about the industry? Every pub that serves food is now called a gastropub

Who would be in your fantasy brigade? Grill - Jamie Dobbin, head chef of the Club at the Ivy; larder - Mark Fines, head chef of the Gun in the Docklands; pastry - Claire Clarke (formerly of the French Laundry); foraging - Oliver Rowe (formerly of the Konstam at the Prince Albert); and sauce - Adam Byatt, chef-proprietor, Trinity

If you had more time, what would you do? Spend it with my often-neglected girlfriend - probably eating out!

James Lyon-Shaw is group executive chef, ETM Group

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