What was your best subject at school?
Let's just say I was very good at detention
What was your first job?
I used to clean the spud machines in a chippy on the weekend, and when I was 13 I served hot dogs from a café in a bowling alley
What was your first job in catering?
A trainee cook at Hartwell House in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire
What do you normally have for breakfast?
Weetabix with banana and coffee
What do you do to relax?
I cycle – it forces me to focus on the road and not on my kitchen
Which is your favourite restaurant?
Eat Tokyo in Notting Hill
What's your favourite hotel?
The Connaught, London. I have fond memories of training there. It's always been at the top of its game
Which ingredient do you hate the most?
Hate is a strong word, but liquorice is my least favourite
What is your favourite food?
Anything Asian, but mainly Japanese food
What is your favourite drink?
Are there any foods/ingredients that you refuse to cook with?
I wouldn't bother with exotic meat and fish such as shark or crocodile (although native huss has its place)
What flavour combinations do you detest?
Shellfish and chocolate
What do you always carry with you?
My inhaler. Asthma is a bloody curse
Which person in catering have you most admired?
My old boss, Mrs Joan Reen, owner of Ynyshir Hall. She was a truly lovely person who taught me so much, and when she passed it was difficult for me
Which person gave you the greatest inspiration?
Martin Burge. He set me some pretty strong examples of how a kitchen should be run and his cuisine was the best I've seen
Cast away on a desert island, what luxury would you take?
A good filleting knife. There's no way I'm starving to death
What irritates you most about the industry?
Relief agencies and the rise of the ‘unskilled relief chef'. It has ruined the recruitment game in this country and there is a huge skill vacuum created by it that will affect the next generation
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