Ahead of his appearance on Great British Menu this evening, we caught up with Dave Critchley, executive chef director at Lu Ban in Liverpool.
What was your best subject at school?
What was your first job in catering?
Kitchen porter at the local pub, the Halfway House
What do you normally have for breakfast?
Coffee, lots of it!
What do you do to relax?
I don't. I'm always on the go!
Which is your favourite restaurant?
I've eaten in some incredible restaurants around the world, especially in China, but my favourite in the UK is probably L'Enclume
What's your favourite hotel?
The Shangri-La in Tianjin was my HQ during my time in China and it has so many amazing memories. Hope Street hotel in Liverpool is awesome too though
What is your favourite drink?
Coffee, although I've been getting into teas recently. Oh and gin, lots of gin!
What is your favourite food/cuisine?
Which ingredient do you hate the most?
I don't have an ingredient that I hate – I try to use as much variety in my cooking as possible
What flavour combinations do you detest?
Ones that don't work!
What do you always carry with you?
My phone! I couldn't survive without social media
How would you describe your desk?
Non-existent! I'm still working on getting an office
Which person in catering have you most admired?
I've looked up to the many chefs I've worked with and for over the years. Mark Prescott is a legend though
Which person gave you the greatest inspiration?
My parents have always inspired me to work hard and be a good person
Cast away on a desert island, what luxury would you take?
My collection of cookbooks probably – I'd finally get the time to read them all cover to cover
What daily newspaper/website do you read?
None, it's Insta and Twitter with my first morning coffee
If not yourself, who would you rather have been?
Steven Gerrard – I suppose that life would've been alright!
If you had not gone into catering, where do you think you would be now?
I'm a trained illustrator, so I'd probably be sat over a desk scribbling pictures for children's books
Describe your ultimate nightmare?
Saturday night service, overbooked, understaffed, running out of prep and no KP!
When and where was your last holiday?
Sorgun, Turkey. It was amazing – it seems a long, long time ago now
Tell us a secret...
I'm actually a lord – really, I am!
What irritates you most about the industry?
Egos and the review culture we live in. It brings way too much misery and stress to workers
When did you last eat a hamburger?
I made some beautiful beef burgers last week at home for my lad. I'm not massively fussed on fast food though
What's your favourite film?
Anything with Tom Hanks in, but Burnt, Chef and Waiting are all great industry-related films
Who would play "you" in a film about your life?
I'd like to say Tom Hanks – but more likely Rowan Atkinson
What's your favourite book?
I'm happy with any cookbook really and I'm reading some incredible Chinese cookbooks at the moment. Mr Hong by Dan Hong is brilliant
What is your favourite prepared product?
I really love Chinese dumplings from the Asian supermarket – I could eat tons of them with crispy chilli oil and black vinegar
Who would be in your "fantasy" brigade?
I'm really happy with my current team, but if Andrew Wong ever fancied joining us for a few shifts that would be pretty sweet!
If you had more time, what would you do?
Get into trouble, most probably! In the last lockdown I set up and ran two businesses: a heat-at-home range and a charity... I filmed GBM and ripped the house apart with home improvements. I would really just like to get back in my kitchen now!
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