In this week’s Q&A we hear from Ali Borer, Head Chef at Smoking Goat in Shoreditch, arguably one of the best Thai restaurants in the country. Ali chats us through the future of Smoking Goat and the impact Lee Tiernan of Black Axe Mangal has had on his career.
I never saw myself wanting to be in the hospitality industry, I kind of fell into the trade and instantly fell in love. I enjoyed the excitement of using tools such as knives and cooking over fire, and the freedom of creation through food.
Where and how did you get your start?
I got my start at a very small restaurant in Menai bridge on Anglesey, growing up there and using the local produce that came from the seas surrounding the island was a dream.
Sum up your current work life in one sentence.
My current work life is hot, fast and exciting.
Who has been really influential on your career and why?
Over the last couple of years, the people that have influenced me has changed along with my cooking style, Lee Tiernan, Founder and Head Chef of Black Axe Mangal has had a huge part to play in it. His playful behaviour towards food and bringing flavour together inspires me, as well using the whole cut of the animal when cooking. It was an honour to cook beside him at our Offal Monday night in January.
What’s next for you?
I am not sure what the future holds for me yet, I am still trying to make Smoking Goat one of the most fun and exciting dining experiences and restaurants to come to.
What’s your one piece of advice to someone starting out?
One main piece of advice I would give to someone starting out is, you will always make mistakes but what matters is how you resolve them and learn from them.
Where did you last have a great meal?
The last great meal I had was at St Leonards in Hackney.
Are there any openings you are looking forward to?
I am very much looking forward to Chris Leach and David Carter’s opening at 10 Heddon Street.
Where is the most exciting city for hospitality (aside from London)?
My favourite city for hospitality and on a whole is definitely Lisbon.
Who would you identify as a rising star?
I am being slightly biased here as he is a friend of mine but I would have to say Shaun Whitmore.
This Q&A was first featured in the CODE Careers Bulletin. To subscribe please click here