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The Caterer

Revelations: John Sparks, chef-director, the Corn Stores, Reading, Berkshire

27 January 2019 by
Revelations: John Sparks, chef-director, the Corn Stores, Reading, Berkshire

What was your best subject at school?

What was your first job?

Luggage porter at my dad's hotel Broadway Park hotel in Sandown on the Isle of Wight] when I was 14 and making toast before school

What was your first job in catering?

I progressed to working as a chef in my parents' pub

What do you normally have for breakfast?

Coffee first, then usually McDonald's drive-through. If I'm home I love making shakshuka. There's a Turkish version called menemen - fried onions, bacon and tomato, topped with eggs and then baked under the grill

What do you do to relax?

Read. I love historical fiction, can't get enough of it

Which is your favourite restaurant?

Depends on my mood: Tonkotsu for ramen or Ember Yard in London. My best experience was without a doubt FÁ¤viken in Sweden

What's your favourite hotel?

Bovey Castle in Dartmoor National Park - I worked there for five years. Great hotel, amazing location and space. It's a country house with loads of history - it was owned by WH Smith

What is your favourite drink?

Bit of a typical answer here! IPA, craft beer - I really like Beavertown beer

What is your favourite food?

Ramen, it's my go-to comfort food

Which ingredient do you hate the most?

Coconut - I only like it in Thai food

Are there any foods/ingredients that you refuse to cook with?

I don't cook beef that is not sourced in the UK

What flavour combinations do you detest?

Coffee in dessert - I don't understand it!

How would you describe your desk?

It's usually a chopping board at one of my restaurants. Quite empty, knife, notepad, laptop on the side, playing heavy metal on Spotify

Which person in catering have you most admired?

Jeremy Rata and Darron Bunn at Bovey Castle - Jeremy was the MD and Darron was the head chef

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