Hello, What's This "About" Blog?

No - this isn't really a stand-alone blog about me. It's an appendix of my food blog: Aidan Brooks: Trainee Chef containing various pages that are about my upbringing, education and training as a chef. These are in a separate file because they have a different format from the main section.

That's why this looks odd - it's not meant to be read chronologically but as a series of hyperlinked articles. It would be best to check out my food blog, but you are very welcome to browse here if you want.

Contact Me

Much as I'd like to be able to publish my address and phone number for the benefit of genuine people who would like to get in touch, I'm afraid that the world's population of fraudsters, spammers, burglars and inebriates make that impossible.

But do get in contact with me via email by clicking on the graphic top right. I also have a presence on Facebook which is restricted to established friends. Look me up as Aidan 'Trig' Brooks.

Please be patient as my working hours mean I can't always respond to emails immediately, especially at the busiest times of the week, namely Friday and Saturday.

As well as visiting my blog, why not also pay a visit to my Flickr site, where you can find all the photo sets used on the blog and a few more besides.

Unfortunately my YouTube account was suspended some time ago as I wasn't always fully compliant with copyright regulations when trying to promote and support other peoples' work, so you can no longer contact me there.

All in all there are plenty of ways to get in touch with Aidan Brooks: Trainee Chef.


Navigating Around My Blog

Hello and welcome to my food blog. I'm Aidan Brooks, a 22-year-old chef from the East End of London. I graduated from Westminster Kingsway College in summer 2007 with a Professional Chef Diploma and emigrated to Barcelona, where I trained at two of the city's best Michelin-starred restaurants. In 2009 I moved to the Community of València to join the team of Paco Morales, Spain's "Chef of the Year 2009" at Juan Carlos Ferrero's Hotel Ferrero, where I was appointed Pastry Chef. This year I returned to the place of my birth to be part of the exciting project to start up a fine dining restaurant in the East End. I'm now taking a break for a while, before my next adventures in cooking.

(or "home" on my navigation bar above) to go straight to my latest posts. Otherwise, follow the individual links below (or the links in my navbar and sidebar) to specific parts of my blog.
Me, photographed in 2007This year I returned to my roots in the East End of London where I'm running a kitchen section for Nuno Mendes at his exciting new venture, Viajante, at the hotel which was formerly Bethnal Green Town Hall. I started blogging in August 2006, before starting my final year at college. My blog traces my progression from amateur home cook to the professional fine dining chef that I am today. It's brought me into contact with many wonderful people - home cooks, foodies and gastronomes, food writers and fellow professional chefs. And some people who have fundamentally altered the course of my development. I try to repay some of the support I've received by helping others - especially young people from non-privileged backgrounds - to appreciate food and to develop careers in this amazing business.

A Bit About Me And My Training To Become A Chef

(or "about me" on my navbar) to visit the part of my blog where I talk about my background in Hackney, how I studied at Junior Chefs' Academy at Waltham Forest College as a 15-year-old and how I prepared for life as a student chef. In this part of my blog (or "where i'm at" on my navbar) I talk about my formative years, describe what life was like at Westminster Kingsway College studying for a Professional Chef Diploma, why I migrated to Barcelona to train at Carles Abellan's Comerç 24 where I first became a chef de partie, to Martín Berasategui's Lasarte and Francisco Morales' Restaurante Ferrero.
Hotel Ferrero

The Landmark Hotel (or "work experience" on my navbar) for information about the restaurants where I learned to cook, starting with Restaurante Lanútus in Laúndos, near Póvoa de Varzim in Portugal and Joy Authentic Indian Cuisine in Hackney - and progressing to The Landmark Hotel and The Providores & Tapa Room in Marylebone and to Zuma and Boxwood Café in Knightsbridge. There are also links to the restaurants at which I've worked in Catalunya, where I trained at La Gigantea at the Hotel Mas Passamaner in Reus and at Comerç 24 and Lasarte at the Hotel Condes, both in Barcelona, before moving to Bocairent in Valencia to work with Paco Morales at Restaurante Ferrero and eventually returning to London to become part of the startup team at Viajante.

for my People And Places section, where I talk about the people who have influenced me as a young trainee chef, including Jafoor "Ali" Ahmed of Joy in Hackney, Professor Cyrus Todiwala MBE, restaurateur at the incredible Café Spice Namasté in Aldgate and Peter Gordon of The Providores & Tapa Room in Marylebone - the man whose cooking changed my view of food completely and irreversibly. Not forgetting the brilliant chef Nuno Mendes of Bacchus in Hoxton, within walking distance of the house where I lived all my childhood. More recently, Albert Adrià of Inopia and lately of El Bulli and Paco Torreblanca of the Torreblanca pastry empire, both of whom I had the honour to cook for recently. I'm also pictured at the celebration party when we won our Michelin star at Comerç 24 and outside every gastronome's Mecca - the Adrià family's unique, amazing El Bulli.Albert Adrià

Post topics

As well as being able to read my latest blog posts on my home page, you can navigate back to earlier posts by clicking on "Older Post" at the foot of the main home page section and forward again by clicking on "Newer Post". But because there are over 300 posts on my blog, I've created archives that allow you to find what I've posted by topic. These clickable links are in my sidebar to the right.
Cooking in the kitchens at Comerç 24
Professional work
Plating up in the kitchens at Westminster Kingsway
My former college
Experimenting at home - soft saffron gel with purée and air of beetroot
Experimental cooking
Classical Spanish cooking - butifarra y berberechos con patatas bravas
Classical home cooking
Eating doubles - Trinidad's great street food
Food items and snacks
Anandita Tamuly from Assam eats 60 ghost chillies in 60 seconds
Food news & reviews
Dining out on modern tapas with friends and family
Restaurant reviews
Sex and food reach perfect climax in Tampopo
Food movies and books
London's wonderful Borough market
Food markets & shops
Me with Kiera Knightly (celebrity fantasy)
Celeb chefs & TV
Taking a break on the Costa Brava with friends
Friends & family
My idea of populist nonsense - "Britney Spears Cooked My Hamster"
Food blogging & writing

Video clips

Professor Paulina Mata demonstrating (or "videos" on my navbar) for an index to posts that are based around or include video clips that I've either made myself or borrowed from elsewhere. There's a wide variety of clips including ones of me with foodie friends, videos made in college, edited clips from TV cookery programmes, foodie film clips and a host of others. I host most of my video clips on YouTube, where one of them has received almost a million hits. It's the wonderful Richard Dimbleby with his 1957 April Fools' Day spoof "The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest". This and many other video clips were selected for their humour.


(or "restaurants" on my navbar) for the restaurants section of my blog, where I talk about the great places in which it's been my privilege to dine. Eating is a tremendously important part of learning to cook - it sharpens the palate, inspires creativity, establishes a framework within which to judge your own cooking and sets goals for your future achievement. In this section of my blog you will find my review of dining out in Barcelona and links to my posts about the great restaurants I've experienced, including El Celler De Can Roca in Girona, Cinc Sentits in Barcelona, Mugaritz in San Sebastián and Quique Dacosta in Dénia.
The Guggenheim, Bilbao


Thai White Asparagus Soup, Lobster & Curry Salt (or "recipes" on my navbar) for my recipes section. I'm not really into recipes and if that's what you are looking for there are far better blogs than mine, such as Elise Bauer's Simply Recipes. In the pro kitchen, new dishes are documented as dish specs, but this is more for costing purposes. We have to learn every detail of each dish - there isn't time to refer to recipes during prep, let alone during service. When cooking at home, I use my knowledge of produce, my kitchen techniques and my palate to produce dishes. If I use a recipe, it is only as a guide - with the exception of baking, where ratios are all-important. I've documented some of the dishes that I prepared at home, mostly while still living in London, and I've produced photo recipes showing how you can make these meals yourself.

Herbs and spices

(or "spices" on my navbar) for my spices section. I had to suspend work on this not long after I started due to pressure of exams, but I've been gradually getting it up to date during the past couple of years and the first phase is now complete. Here you will be able to find information on many different spices, with a spice index, a spice overview table that lists each one and provides a summary of characteristics and main uses and tables sorting spices by family group and by dominant flavour.

The spices that I've written up are:
Herbs and spices
Ajwain, Allspice, Almond, Angelica, Anise, Annatto, Asafoetida, Barberry, Basil, Bay leaf, Bay leaf, Indian, Bay leaf, Indonesian, Bergamot, Boldo leaf, Borage, Bush tomato, Camomile, Capers, Caraway, Cardamom, black, Cardamom, green, Celery, Chameleon plant, Chaste tree, Chervil, Chicory, Chilli, Chives, Cicely, Cinnamon, Chinese, Cinnamon, Indonesian, Cinnamon, Sri Lankan, Cloves, Coconut, Coriander, Bolivian, Coriander, common, Coriander, long, Coriander, Vietnamese, Costmary, Cress, garden, Cress, water, Cumin, Cumin, black, Curry leaf, Damask rose, Dill, Epazote, Fennel, Fenugreek, Fenugreek, blue, Fingerroot, Galangale, greater, Galangale, lesser, Gale, Garlic, Garlic, bear's, Ginger, Grains of paradise, Horseradish, Hyssop, Juniper, Kaffir lime, Kewra, Kokum, Lavender, Lemon, Lemon balm, Lemon grass, Lemon myrtle, Lemon verbena, Lime, Liquorice, Lovage, Lovage, black, Mace, Mahaleb cherry, Mango, Marjoram, Mastic, Mexican pepperleaf, Mugwort, Mustard, black, Mustard, white, Myrtle, Nasturtium, Nigella, Nutmeg, Olive, Onion and shallot, Orange, Oregano, Oregano, Mexican, Pandanus leaf, Paprika, Paracress, Parsley, Pepper, black, white, green, red, Pepper, cubeb, Pepper, long, Pepper, negro, Pepper, pink, Pepper, Sichuan, Pepper, Tasmanian, Pepper, water, Perilla, Pomegranate, Poppy seed, Pumpkin oilseed, Purslane, Rice paddy herb, Rocket, Rosemary, Rue, Safflower, Saffron, Sage, Salad burnet, Sassafras, Savory, Sesame, Southernwood, Spearmint, Star anise, Sumac, Sweet clover, Tamarind, Tansy, Tarragon, French/Russian, Tarragon, Mexican, Thyme, Tonka bean, Turmeric, Vanilla, Wasabi, Wattleseed and Zedoary.

My Australian Gastronomy Project

A key part of my Professional Chef Diploma involved a study of the gastronomy of an allocated country and the formulation of a three-course gastronomic menu suitable for a top restaurant. The second stage was to research the national cuisine and its historical development and to justify the menu recommendations, leading to a detailed report, a presentation and a practical. I was allocated Australia and I learnt a huge amount about Australian history, culture and gastronomy.

My Australian gastronomy report (or the link in the "topics" section of my side bar) for my report on the developing cuisine of Australia. My thesis was a controversial one - that two centuries and more of racial division in Australia was the principal factor retarding the development of the national food culture. But it's not all bad news, because I discovered the amazing world of New Australian cuisine, drawing on the best of techniques and products from the settler and indigenous communities as well as from the outside world.

In this section of my blog I publish my college report in four sections, including my Australian Gastronomy Menu, along with links to other posts I've published about Australian food.

Other bits of my blog

I've covered almost all of my blog in this brief tour, but there are a few other bits floating around which you might like to visit. If you can read Portuguese, click here to read about my Portuguese "extended family". My CV can be found here, along with information about my school results, my qualifications, my references and the countries I've visited.

Food events in the UK for May 2010

At the foot of my home page is the UK Food Bloggers' Association Calendar, with links to some the key food events in the UK during May:

Alde Valley Spring Festival across the Alde Valley, East Suffolk
3 Harbours Seafood Festival at The Greenbelt, Prestonpans, Scotland
Baishakhi Mela in Weavers Field, London
Bath Coffee Festival in the city centre, Bath, Somerset
Big Apple Blossomtime in Much Marcle, Herefordshire
Bristol Eco Veggie Fayre at The Ampitheatre, Bristol, Somerset
British Asparagus Festival in and around the Vale of Evesham, Worcestershire
British Sandwich Week across the UK
British Tomato Week across the UK
Catering & Hospitality Forum at Whittlebury Hall, Towcester, Northants
Christchurch Food And Wine Festival various venues around Christchurch, Dorset
Coeliac UK Free For Tea? across the UK
Cooper's Hill Cheese Rolling at Cooper's Hill, nr. Brockworth, Gloucs
Cranbrook Flour Show at Union Mill, The Hill, Cranbrook, Kent
Dales Festival Of Food And Drink in Leyburn, Wensleydale, N. Yorkshire
Derbyshire Food & Drink Fair at Kedleston Hall, Kedleston, Derbyshire
Derbyshire Food Festival at venues across Derbyshire
English Wine Week across England
Evening Of Kentish Food at Amos Hall, The Market, Ashford, Kent
Fal Fish Festival at Discovery Quay, Falmouth, Cornwall
Festival Of Food - Tickle The Taste Buds in Stokeinteignhead, Newton Abbot, Devon
Flavours of the West at Milsom Place, Bath, Somerset
Foodies Festival on Hove Lawns, Hove, East Sussex
Foodies Festival at Hampton Court Palace, Surrey
Free Range Pig In A Day at The Anchor, Walberswick, Suffolk
Fruity Friday across the UK
Get Into Artisan Baking at The School of Artisan Food, Welbeck, Notts
Get Into French Baking at the School of Artisan Food, Welbeck, Notts
Gourmet Wild Food Weekend at the Fat Hen, St Buryan, Truro, Cornwall
Henley Food Festival in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire
Introduction to Beekeeping at St Paul’s Church, Clapham, London
Leek Fine Food Spring Fest at The Market, Leek, Staffordshire
Letchworth Food Festival in Letchworth, Hertfordshire
Loch Fyne Food Fair in Clachan, Cairndow, Argyll, Scotland
London Food Link Spring Network Do at Lumen Cafe, Tavistock Place, London
Ludlow Spring Food Festival at Ludlow Castle, Shropshire, W. Midlands
Making Local Food Work for People and Planet at Friends Meeting House, Manchester
Manchester Food and Drink Summit at the Ramada Hotel, Piccadilly, Manchester
National Bread Week across the UK
National Escargot Day various locations across the UK
National Honey Week across the UK
National Real Bread Maker Week across the UK
National Vegetarian Week across the UK
National Watercress Week across the UK
Normanby Hall Food Festival at Normanby Hall, Scunthorpe, S. Humberside
Parkland Alfresco Food Festival in Swinton Park, Masham, N. Yorkshire
Power to the Farm at Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester, Gloucs
Randwick Cheese Rolling in Randwick, Gloucestershire
Real Food Festival at Earls Court 1, S. Kensington, London
Royal Windsor Food and Drink Festival in Home Park, Windsor Castle, Berkshire
Slow Food Cornwall Bread Day in Ladock, Cornwall
Southport Food and Drink Festival in the town centre, Southport, Cheshire
Spirit of Summer Fair in Olympia Grand Hall, S. Kensington, London
Streatham Food Festival various locations in Streatham, London
Taste Of Edinburgh at Inverleith Park, Edinburgh, Scotland
Tewkesbury Food & Drink Festival on Vineyards Playing Fields, Tewkesbury, Gloucs
Torquay Food And Arts Festival in Market St., Torquay, Devon
Watercress Festival in Alresford, Hampshire
West Wales Food Festival in the National Botanic Gardens, Carmarthen, Wales
Wild Food Taster Day at the Fat Hen, St Buryan, Truro, Cornwall
Wrexham Food Festival behind the Library, Wrexham, Clwyd, Wales
Yorkshire Game Fair at Harewood House, Leeds, W. Yorkshire

to learn more about these calendar events.

About Me

Me, photographed in August 2007Hi. I'm Aidan Brooks, aka. "Trig", a 22-year-old professional chef from Hackney in the East End of London, England. I spent the past two and a half years in Spain, training with some of the country's top chefs. In 2007-8 I was a chef de partie in Carles Abellan's Michelin-starred Barcelona restaurant Comerç 24. In Spring 2009 I took a two-month stage at Martín Berasategui's now 2* Lasarte and then joined the kitchen team of Paco Morales - Spain's Chef of the Year - at Hotel Ferrero in València, where I was appointed Pastry Chef. This Spring I've returned to the East End to run a kitchen section for Nuno Mendes at his exciting new venture, Viajante.

I've had a love of food and been cooking and enjoying eating it for as long as I can remember, but when I was about eight years old I first got it into my head that I'd like to cook for a living. In 2003, aged 15, I registered at Waltham Forest College to take part in their Junior Chefs' Academy. Every Saturday morning I got up early and made the bus journey across East London to attend the college. By the time I graduated in Spring 2004 I knew that there was only one future for me - becoming a professional chef.

My parents were not exactly enthused at first. Both my mum and dad are university graduates and my older brother Joel was at uni studying for his B.Sc. in Business Economics when I announced my intentions. So it wasn't easy for mum and dad, but they told me that if I was going to pursue a career as a chef there would be two conditions. The first condition my parents set was that I should obtain GCSE results good enough for 'A' levels and university admission later if I dropped out. I knew this would never happen, but I worked hard at school and exceeded the 5 Grade A-C results that were needed, passing all 9 of my exam subjects at these higher level grades.

The second condition was that if I was going to become a chef I should aim for the top. "Don't you dare end up working at... [well-known fast-food restaurant]"..., my dad said. He explained to me that the reason why kids brought up in Hackney were often less successful than those elsewhere was not because they lacked ability, but because nobody set high expectations for them, so they ended up setting low expectations for themselves.

I never forgot this lesson. You can't guarantee you'll get to the top, but you sure as hell can give it your best shot. And that's what I've done ever since.

If you want to find out more about me, you can find all sorts of stuff about what I'm currently doing and how I got there, some famous alumni of my catering college, places where I have gained work experience, my Portuguese "extended family" and some places I've been and people I've met during my life as a trainee chef. I've also provided other personal information including my CV and references, the countries I have visited, the restaurants I've eaten in and my favourite kitchen utensils.

If you click here, you'll reach a page that will tell you more about how to navigate around my blog.

Where I'm At

The Vincent Rooms Brasserie at Westminster Kingsway CollegeIn July 2007, I graduated from Westminster Kingsway College after completing the final year of a three-year NVQ course and being awarded a Professional Chef Diploma with Merit. I chose WestKing because of its reputation as the best catering college in Britain and I was not disappointed, although it was a very demanding course. After graduation I spent the summer deciding where to start my professional career.

Comerç 24 in BarcelonaMany of my fellow students elected to follow a traditional path and select a Michelin-starred restaurant, cooking Modern European cuisine. But I'd always been more interested in more innovative fusion cooking, drawing on processes and ingredients from across the globe to create a style of food that transcends regional cuisine.

It seemed to me that the most adventurous and exciting food of my generation was - unlike the food of the previous generation - to be found not in France but in Spain. Leading that revolution were the Nuevos Cocineros de Barcelona - a group of creative chefs most of whom learnt their trade with Ferran Adrià at the world's #1 rated restaurant, El Bulli. And of all those chefs, the one whose menu impressed me most was Carles Abellan of Comerç 24. When offered a 3-month training stage, I had no hesitation in accepting. From October 2007 to November 2008 I was in a small, open kitchen as a small part of the amazing team at one of Europe's most adventurous restaurants. The irony was that, just seven weeks after I started at C24, it was awarded its first Michelin star!

At the end of my three-month stage, I was fortunate enough to be offered a one-year contract to remain at Comerç 24 and I accepted without hesitation. I could probably have earnt more working at Dunkin' Donuts, but that was hardly the point. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have been given the opportunity to learn in this environment, amongst great chefs and serious foodies, working at the edge of creativity with modern food. How many people can honestly say that they are doing exactly what they've always wanted to do... and getting paid for it? Then in late May, after five months on professional contract, I was promoted to chef de partie - responsible for running the cuarto frio (cold larder) section of the restaurant. It was an honour completely beyond any expectations I had when I set out on my Catalan adventure just eight months earlier and one I have worked hard at to justify the decision to trust me with such a level of responsibility.

Hotel Ferrero in Bocairent, ValènciaI completed my contract at Comerç 24 before Christmas and took a well-deserved rest break during which I sampled several restaurants as a customer - including the wonderful El Celler de Can Roca. In January 2009 I started the next leg of my journey, taking on a paid stage at the Michelin-starred Lasarte in the Hotel Condes de Barcelona. That stage was extended for a second month and I was told that were it not for the current financial situation I would have been retained on contract (later in the year I was thrilled to hear that Antonio Sáez and the team had won their second Michelin star). I was also delighted to be offered a new contract at Comerç 24. But I needed to develop my career in new directions and in April 2009 I successfully trialled for a three-month stage with Spain's most exciting young restaurant team - Paco Morales and Rut Cotroneo at Hotel Ferrero in the mountains of València. Ten weeks later I was offered a contract as Pastry Chef, which in a Spanish kitchen means chef de partie of the postres (desserts) section. From May to late November I enjoyed working hard as part of a great kitchen team, before deciding it was time to move on and widen my experience elsewhere.

With the recession hitting the Spanish hospitality industry particularly hard, it wasn't easy to find a suitable opening, although eventually I was invited to trial at an exciting new restaurant in one of the most glamorous locations in Barcelona. But by then I'd already made a commitment to return to London and surprise my friends and family by taking up a job in the East End, where I was born. Portuguese chef Nuno Mendes had been making a reputation for himself in the East End for years, first with his "fine dining in trainers" restaurant Bacchus in Hoxton and more recently with his private dining club, The Loft, in Hackney. I'd known for some time that he was planning a new restaurant in Bethnal Green, but when I saw for myself what was about to be launched, tested the dishes and met the kitchen team, I knew this was where I wanted to be. So I became part of the startup team at Viajante in Bethnal Green as the chef de partie for the cold section, helping to get the place up and running and to take it through soft openings. It was a thrill to cook for some of Britain's top chefs while I was there, most recently Claude Bosi of Hibiscus.

Ironically, although I originally moved to Barcelona in order to develop my passion for fusion cuisine, while I was there I actually developed in the opposite direction. As former seafarers and conquerors of much of the Mediterranean, Catalans are not afraid of new ingredients and techniques and their cuisine is certainly open and eclectic. But Catalan gastronomy - even the most innovative and radical - is firmly rooted in local culture and tradition. Working with Catalans and Valèncians has taught me the importance of drawing on the local culinary culture and sourcing the very best seasonal produce as locally as possible - while maintaining a global perspective and not becoming an obsessive locavore. And, as I've eaten in more and more Michelin-starred restaurants, I've come to realise that they are not all boring and conventional establishments. The best of the places I've eaten - El Celler de Can Roca, Lasarte, Cinc Sentits, Quique Dacosta... are all Michelin-starred.

Right now I've decided to take a short break from fine dining and from blogging. But I'll be back!

Coach Carl Dixon and our winning team Apex Arvensdale FCClick here to see my photo diary of one day in my life as a third-year student at Westminster Kingsway. It will give you an idea of just how long my working day was and all of the activities that I packed into that long day. Hospitality is a tough career choice - my current job involves two shifts (with a siesta in-between) totalling over ten hours of work per day.

I was lucky to experience quite a lot in the formative years of my life, because my parents worked hard to give my brother and myself plenty of opportunities to try things out. We both did a lot of sport when we were young and that taught me the importance of always turning up on time and trying hard even when things aren't going well. I never quite reached the football standard of brother Joel, who trialled at Under-16 for England, but I was goalkeeper for one of the most successful ever teams in the Waltham Forest league in East London. Click for information about my youth football team Apex Arvendale FC.

Me and my family at Midsummer House, CambridgeBoth mum and dad were brought up in relatively poor families and missed out on many things that they were later able to give their own children. But they always understood the difference between the price of things and the value of things, so they never held back when it came to making sure we had valuable experiences. Now they are more comfortable financially, I don't feel guilty suggesting visits to top restaurants as presents and we've enjoyed a few such family outings, including to Midsummer House (right). They promised me a table at El Bulli to celebrate graduation, but for one reason or another it didn't happen. Now that I've worked for Ferran Adrià's former sous chef and made quite a few contacts in Catalan fine dining, it's more likely that I'll be taking them to El Bulli.

It's a small planetMy early travels around the world taught me that the planet is a very small place where we don't all have to be the same, but if we don't all get on with eachother we all sink together. I want to reflect this in my cooking.

I have enormous respect for national and regional cuisines and for classical cooking that has proved itself over the years. Food is an integral part of national and regional cultures and should be protected and developed in the same way that art, music and language should be. But as planet Earth becomes smaller and more closely integrated by the day, I want to help everyone to experience the very best of the planet's culinary offerings. In that sense, global cooking continues to turn me on. Kiwi chef Peter Gordon summed it up when he wrote in A World In My Kitchen: "There are many chefs cooking beautiful, authentic regional food... I love to eat it but I don't want to cook it... The world as a whole excites me more than a region defined by political boundaries."

Here is my CV as a .pdf file and you can look up my references for any further enquiries. Trig.

My Love Of Food

I have a love of food and cooking that grows stronger with each passing day. It began way back when I was just five or six years old and helped mum to bake fruit tarts. By the time I was eight years old I knew I wanted to cook professionally. Home cooking, plus my experience at Junior Chefs' Academy taught me to cook traditional fare competently and helped to develop my palate. Travelling around Europe expanded my understanding of flavours and textures, so by the time I went to college full-time in Autumn 2004 I had a good basis from which to develop.

At college, I learnt the basic techniques of my trade, following the classical French gastronomic school. But I also met chefs from very different culinary backgrounds and my vision of food was greatly expanded. Working alongside Daniel Crow, Antony Worrall Thompson, Raymond Blanc, Gary Klaner and Stuart Gillies taught me a huge amount - but working with Cyrus Todiwala and Peter Gordon really opened my eyes to the wonderful and diverse global village of food.
My roast guineafowl supreme on egg noodles

My soft saffron gel with purée and air of beetrootAfter college I moved to Barcelona, to work with chefs who had developed their own skills in the kitchens of Ferran Adrià. I learnt some of the skills of molecular gastronomy and how they could be employed to make simple dishes into exciting adventures. At the same time, I learnt about the importance of reflecting one's cultural heritage in what one cooks, as well as the absolute importance of locally-sourced top-quality ingredients and perfection in execution.

At the same time that I'm learning to be a chef, I'm also studying the very different job of becoming a successful restaurateur. I don't want to be like a footballer whose career ends and who then suddenly decides to become a manager. I want that transition to be carefully planned and as smooth as possible. One day when I'm ready, I will open a restaurant and make my own modest contribution to the progress of world gastronomy. I've already had an introduction to professional writing with some pieces for The Guardian and I'm sure I shall be writing and broadcasting on culinary matters one day.
Later on, when I've developed my own career, I want to do everything possible to help young chefs make careers in the industry just as I did. I owe a great deal to many fantastic people who have helped me and I look forward to passing that help on to the next generation. All they will need is a genuine love of food. It was all I brought to the table when I started out in this truly extraordinary business - and it was all that was needed.

Places Where I Have Trained And Worked

For my detailed CV, click here.

Restaurante Ferrero by Francisco Morales and Rut Cotroneo, Hotel Ferrero, Bocairent, València, Executive Chef Paco Morales
Viajante, Bethnal Green, London, Executive Chef Nuno Mendes

La Gigantea, Hotel Mas Passamaner, Tarragona, Catalunya, Chef/Patron Joachim Koerper
Comerç 24, Barcelona, Catalunya, Chef/Patron Carles Abellan
Lasarte, Barcelona, Catalunya, Head Chef Antonio Saez

The Providores And Tapa Room, Marylebone Village, Chef/Patron Peter Gordon
Zuma Japanese restaurant, Knightsbridge, Executive Chef/Patron Rainer Becker
Boxwood Café, Knightsbridge, Executive Chef Stuart Gillies

Gabrielle's Brasserie & Bar, Westminster, Executive Head Chef Daniel Crow
The Vincent Rooms, comprising The Brasserie and Escoffier Room, Westminster Kingsway College's professional restaurant facilities
The London Landmark, Marylebone, Executive Chef Gary Klaner

Restaurante Lanútus, Laúndos, Póvoa de Varzim, Chef/Patron Elena da Silva RamiresJoy Authentic Indian Cuisine, Broadway Market, Hackney, Chef/Patron Jafoor AhmedCafé Spice Namasté, Aldgate, Executive Chef/Proprietor Cyrus Todiwala