Lucknam Park‘s Michelin starred exec chef fesses up to strawberry snacking; a penchant for Super Noodles with egg and brown sauce; and a late night KitKat habit
Which foods take you back to childhood?
Fresh peas stolen from my dad’s allotment back home in Newport. I would go and help him out every Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon but when he was at work I’d sneak over, steal strawberries and peas, then eat them in the park.
What does home taste like?
I spend my life cooking fancy dishes so when I get home I keep it simple. My eldest son has just started catering college so it’s great to cook together. At this time of year we’ll usually make something traditional like Welsh cawl using scrag end cuts of lamb’s neck and whatever vegetables we’ve got. I still use my mum’s recipe which was passed down to her from my grandmother.
What was the last thing you ate?
Honestly? A coronation chicken wrap – we’ve just finished prepping coronation chicken sandwiches for afternoon tea. Chefs spend their days cooking for other people but mostly end up snacking their way through service, although I make sure that both kitchen teams at Lucknam Park (Restaurant Hywel Jones and The Brasserie) sit down together for a proper meal at 3pm. Today it’s roasted fish with creamed potatoes and peas.
What would you never eat again?
I wasn’t a fan of sea urchin when I tried it – not so much the taste but the cold and creamy texture combined with the flavour of seaweed. I worked at the two Michelin star Restaurant Michel Rostang in Paris for a month where I was asked to prep them; the other chefs insisted I tried one when they found out I hadn’t.
What’s your bad day comfort food fix?
Fortunately my wife cooks most nights, so there’s nearly always something waiting for me after a long day. If not, it would probably be a couple of packs of curried Super Noodles with a fried egg and brown sauce – bad but tasty.
What’s in your fridge?
There’s always fresh fish and lots of veg, but don’t get me wrong, I’m not some sort of health freak. There’s usually also a good stock of KitKats on the top shelf to tide me over until I go to bed.
Which restaurants make you happy?
I quite often take the guys from the kitchen to The Pig near Bath – the food is top-notch and they’ve nailed the atmosphere. Back home in Wales it’s the Harbourmaster at Aberaeron. My parents took me there when I was a child and now I take my family for the local lobster and mackerel. I’ll always order some of the cockle popcorn with sweet chilli vinegar.
Is there a dish you’d rather forget?
There’s probably been a few – sometimes you have an idea in your head which seems great, but in reality just doesn’t work. As long as it never gets as far as the guests, no harm done.