We delve into the life and inner thoughts of a top chef. This week: Kevin Tickle, chef patron, Heft, Newton-in-Carmel, Cumbria
What was your best subject at school?
I quite liked geography as it goes
What was your first job in catering?
I did a few shifts in a local pub in Foxfield as a pot wash
What do you do to relax?
Go fishing for pike, go shooting – especially grey squirrels – and spend as much time with my family as I can
Which is your favourite restaurant?
I've eaten in some of the best restaurants in the world, but I haven't enjoyed it as much as celebrating a massive life moment with a simple portion of fish and chips in great company
What's your favourite hotel?
Sharrow Bay in Ullswater, Cumbria, a stunning location
Which ingredient do you love the most?
Mushrooms, I can't get enough of them. If I had to choose one variety it would have to be the humble Cumbrian cep
What flavour combinations do you love?
I enjoy cooking with ingredients that are truly seasonal, no matter how extravagant or humble. It'll be another year before you get to taste them again and that makes all the difference to me
What do you always carry with you?
My foraging gear and my walking boots are always in the car boot. And there's usually a fishing rod in there too, just in case
Which person in catering have you or do you most admire?
Probably Simon Rogan. He started from scratch without a huge budget and look where that restaurant is now
Which person has given you the greatest inspiration in your career so far?
My dad, he is what you'd call a proper grafter. Nothing phases him, he just gets on with it
If not yourself, who would you rather have been?
Mick Brown, pike fishing legend
If you hadn't gone into catering, where else would you have done?
A fireman or an electrician
What's your favourite film?
The original Watership Down
What would you change about the industry?
Make sure that junior chefs put the time in before they get promoted. Young chefs just want to get to the top and don't get that you've got to work bloody hard to reap the rewards
What is your favourite prepared product?
I'm a big fan of M&S pasta sauces
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