Q: Can you share your culinary background and the journey that led you to becoming head chef of The Greyhound Restaurant?
A: I studied catering at college and immediately fell in love with the whole idea of working in the kitchen. The creation of food and the way the team work together is something that took my attention straight away. I always wanted to get as many different experiences as possible and learn from as many of the greats that I could and that is what I set myself out to do. My first job straight after college was at Langan’s Coq d’Or in London’s Earl’s Court at the age of 17 where I started as a Commis Chef. I then worked in a few different kitchens across London to gain more experience and learn my trade. From The Royal Oversees Private Members Club, The Hillgate Gastropub, Paradise, Jason Atherton’s Pollen Street Social and Skylon I was lucky to spend some time with some fantastic chefs and mentors. After London, I moved to Manchester to see what the food scene was doing and worked at Mr Coopers, Midland Hotel. After this I went across to work for Aiden Byrne at 20 Stories as Sous Chef. I then heard about The Greyhound and what it is Daniel and Margriet are doing so contacted them to see if there was a position available. I started at The Greyhound as Sous Chef which I worked as for 1 year and a half before being promoted to Head Chef and taking over the kitchen and the brigade.
Q: What inspires your cooking style, and do you have any culinary role models or influences?
A: I like to let the ingredient speak for itself and really enjoy following the seasons. Frederick Forster. He was the first black head chef I met that was cooking at the level that I aspired to and he drove me to be better.
Q: Could you describe your signature dish or favourite dish on the current menu, and what makes it special or unique?
A: I don’t think I have one, firstly because we work with the seasons and dishes are ever-changing and evolving, and secondly, I have only been head chef for a few months. I am sure by this time next year I will have one! My favourite dish on the menu at the moment however, is Buckinghamshire Pork Loin with Malted Onion and Rainbow Chard.
Q: How do you stay up-to-date with food trends and techniques in the culinary world?
A: We are so lucky to have so many avenues to keep ourselves up to date these days. From the team going out to different places and bringing in what they have seen, to Instagram, regular conversations with our suppliers and food magazines I feel that we are constantly surrounded by up-to-date food trends and techniques.
Q: What are your favourite ingredients to work with, and why? Have these changed in the past two years?
A: My favourite ingredients are always whatever is the best quality produce in the season. For example, last spring the baby vegetables that we were growing here were out of this world and every time we used them it put a smile on my face.
Q: Tell us about your restaurant (The Greyhound). What sets it apart from others in the area?
A: The team. Every single member of The Greyhound family understand what the vision is and go above and beyond to make every guest experience the best they can. From the food, the service and the beautiful old building, there are so many small details which all add up to our guest comfort. The owners really are the most passionate individuals I have ever met and this shines down through the whole team here.
Q: How do you approach menu planning and creating new dishes?
A: Starting with a base ingredient which is usually a protein that is in season. Then look at the seasonal calendar and speak with our suppliers. We then look at flavours that work well together and I sit down with my sous chefs and start the development process.
Q: What’s the most important lesson or skill you’ve learned in your culinary career?
A: Patience. Lead from the front, you can not expect someone in the team to do something you are not prepared to do yourself!
Q: looking at the Restaurant trade in 2023, what advice do you have for aspiring chefs looking to pursue a career in the culinary industry?
A: Find a restaurant that excites you. Listen to your senior chefs, they have lots of knowledge and in most cases want the best for you. Be a sponge, observe, and soak up as much information as you can from those around you. Not every day will be a breeze but nothing worth having comes for free!
Q: Can you share any predictions you have for the hospitality industry for the next 5 years?
A: I think the next 5 years for obvious reasons will be challenging however do believe that as long as you and your team are giving 100% every day and are genuine, guests will return and continue to support you, despite all the challenges we are all facing. I think restaurants are going to have to adapt more with how they look after their teams in order to keep a consistent strong team both front and back of house.
Q: If you could be invite for one night to cook alongside any Chef, past or present, who would that be and why?
A: Pierre Koffmann. So many of our great chefs in Britain have come from working with Pierre Koffmann.
Q: What would be on your “celebration banquet ” menu if you could create a meal and have any ingredients or style of cooking from around the world?
A: Caribbean style menu which would definitely include Jerk Chicken, rice, peas and fruit punch!
Q: What is your favourite dish eaten in any restaurant other than your own and why?
A: I went out for dinner with my Mrs in Vegas. We stumbled across this small family-run restaurant and enjoyed this filet of beef with bone marrow and fresh asparagus. The beef was cooked unbelievably well, and I can still taste the sauce now if I think about it.
…..And now your two (or more) Favourite Tables, a restaurant that you dine at perhaps with family or friends. Places you have visited a couple of times.
Restaurant One: Trinity in London
Restaurant Two: Bob Bob Ricard