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.