Two minutes with Luke Selby, Mortimer House

Published 11 October 2019

This week CODE catches up with Luke Selby, currently a guest chef at Mortimer House. Selby tells us how Raymond Blanc helped him enter the industry, why his two younger brothers are rising stars in his eyes and how being honest about mistakes is key to those starting out in the industry. 

When did you realise you wanted to work in hospitality? 

I’ve always wanted to be a chef – it’s all I can remember wanting to do. My mum always had me and my brothers foraging and growing things when we were younger so that instilled a respect for nature. I’d always loved cooking and had a natural ability for it so I knew I had to follow my passion.

Where and how did you get your start?

I got my start with Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir Aux Quat Saisons: I took part in a cookery competition (Rotary Young Chef) when I was teenager and he was a judge in the finals. I wrote to him afterwards asking for work experience, which I got (I was only 16) and I started a year later after completing my A-levels.

Sum up your current work life in one sentence. 

Busy! But also fulfilling

Who has been really influential on your career and why?

I’ve worked with loads of amazing chefs who’ve helped shaped my career – like Clare Smyth and Ollie Dabbous. But working Raymond Blanc and Gary Jones at Le Manoir was really formative for me and laid the foundations for everything I do now.

What’s next for you?

Currently I’m at Mortimer House doing their guest chef residency until early October; I’m also competing in the Bocuse d’Or National Selection at The Restaurant Show on Monday 30 September; then I’m cooking a collaboration with Sauce Supper club and the National Theatre on the 9th and 10th of October. I’m also working on a new concept with my brothers, so watch this space…!

What’s your one piece of advice to someone starting out?

Everyone makes mistakes, but make sure you’re always honest about them and learn from them.

Where did you last have a great meal?

Perilla in Newington Green – Ben Marks is a mate of mine and his food is outstanding. We met cooking the regionals of Great British Menu and he’s a super talented chef.

Are there any openings you are looking forward to?

Jonny Lake (ex-Fat Duck) is about to open Trivet in Bermondsey. It’ll be great to have him in London and I’m really interested to see what he does there. 

Where is the most exciting city for hospitality (aside from London)? 

I love the food scene in Tokyo. As a prize for the Roux Scholarship I chose to undertake my three-month stage in 3-star restaurant Ryugin in Tokyo and it was unlike anywhere else I’ve ever been. The food, produce and respect over there is incredible.

Who would you identify as a rising star?

In my opinion my two younger brothers, Nathaniel and Theo are stars in my eyes. They both worked with me at HIDE as sous chefs and now they’re in the kitchen with me again at my current residency at Mortimer House. They’re both brilliant. I’m so lucky to be able to work with my family – I love it.

This Q&A was first featured in the CODE Careers Bulletin. To subscribe please click here

Weekly bulletin. Eyes and ear of the industry