When did you realise you wanted to work in hospitality?
Having completed two years at Oxford University reading Latin and Ancient Greek I decided I needed a big change and was offered a commis chef position by a friend of the family. My father worked as a KP and my mother was the first ever waitress for Pizza Express so it was probably only a matter of time! They both cook really well and have a great passion for quality ingredients. I did not know it at the time, but my brother and I were spoilt in terms of the level of home cooking as we grew up.
Where and how did you get your start?
At the Jazz café in Camden, prepping vegetables, loading the food lift in service and loving being part of a crazy team of old school chefs.
Sum up your current work life in one sentence.
Busy but enjoying every minute!
Who has been really influential on your career and why?
I have been lucky to work with some great chefs, some well-known, others less so. Learning from Gennaro Contaldo in the kitchen at Fifteen was a real eye opener. I also had the great pleasure to work with a fish cutter called Kevin Crowley. Having spent the night cutting fish at Billingsgate, he would donate his time and expertise to the training of the students at Fifteen. His knowledge of and respect for fish is truly inspirational.
What’s next for you?
Working on opening more sites for our existing concepts and developing new concepts.
What’s your one piece of advice to someone starting out?
You can learn something from every chef you work with. As the Senior Training & Development Chef for the Jamie Oliver foundation I would always challenge my students to teach me something when they returned from work experience placements in some of the country’s top restaurants. Invariably they did!
Where did you last have a great meal?
Izakaya Hannah – a small Japanese restaurant in Waterloo. A real hidden gem. The slow cooked tuna collar (Kama) is unbelievable.
Are there any openings you are looking forward to?
Kol, an amazing new Mexican concept coming early next year and Casa Do Frango 2, of course.
Where is the most exciting city for hospitality (after London)?
My parents live part of the year in Paris and we always eat fantastically when visiting. I am a massive ramen fan so Tokyo is at the top of my list for the future.
Who would you identify as a rising star?
Santiago Lastra will definitely be big news next year.