Ahead of his appearance on Great British Menu this evening, we caught up with Stuart Collins, chef and co-owner at Docket No 33 in Whitchurch, Shropshire.
What was your best subject at school?
Maths, or design and technology
What was your first job?
Washing up in a butcher's shop
What was your first job in catering?
The butcher's shop also did outside catering, including pig roasts outside Molineux Stadium in Wolverhampton on match days!
What do you normally have for breakfast?
Coffee and toast
What do you do to relax?
Cook at home with the family, or go out driving
Which is your favourite restaurant?
That's a tough one….but, Takao Takano in Lyon was amazing
What's your favourite hotel?
Gidleigh Park in Devon
What is your favourite drink?
Spiced banana rum with caramel, lemon juice and soda – it's like a grown-up ice cream soda!
What is your favourite food/cuisine?
Which ingredient do you hate the most?
Are there any foods/ingredients that you refuse to cook with? If so, why?
Strawberries in December – they're out of season and flavourless
What flavour combinations do you detest?
Anything with a lot of rosemary
What do you always carry with you?
How would you describe your desk?
Which person in catering have you most admired?
Which person gave you the greatest inspiration?
It's impossible to pick one! I find inspiration from so many people I've worked with. Seeing their successes in a variety of different aspects within the industry is a great inspiration.
Cast away on a desert island, what luxury would you take?
What daily newspaper/website do you read?
The Caterer, of course
If not yourself, who would you rather have been?
I've been fortunate to work in some amazing places with equally amazing chefs, do some really cool things, travel far, and now doing my own thing with my family – I wouldn't want to be anyone else!
If you had not gone into catering, where do you think you would be now?
Something to do with engineering
Describe your ultimate nightmare?
A life without salt!
When and where was your last holiday?
Sydney 2017 – just before we opened the restaurant
Tell us a secret...
I once served lobster to a Qatari Sheik who had a shellfish allergy! In my defence, he only told me about his allergy after he'd eaten!
What irritates you most about the industry?
When did you last eat a hamburger?
A couple of weeks ago
What's your favourite film?
Gone in 60 Seconds
What's your favourite book?
I'm not a big reader, so it's got to be of real interest... Kitchen Confidential
What is your favourite prepared product?
Tempura seaweed snacks
Who would be in your "fantasy" brigade?
Paul Froggatt of Huka Lodge, in Taupo New Zealand; Stuart Ralston, Aizle/Noto, Edinburgh; Markus Glocker, Batard, New York City; and Sam Moody, Ballyfin, Ireland
If you had more time, what would you do?
Spend more time with friends and family
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