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Chris Cleghorn

Chris has worked with Heston, Michael Caines and Adam Simmonds. He told us about inspiration and why he wishes he'd concentrated more in maths
Chris Cleghorn, head chef of The Olive Tree restaurant in Bath
Chris Cleghorn, head chef of The Olive Tree restaurant in Bath

The Olive Tree restaurant’s head chef Chris Cleghorn has worked with Heston Blumenthal, Michael Caines and Adam Simmonds. He talked to food about inspiration – and why he wishes he’d concentrated more in maths class

Salty or sweet?

I have a terrible sweet tooth – desserts have always been my favourite.

Early food memory

My nan’s cooking when I was young. She’d cook homemade roast beef and cakes, which were excellent.

Like to eat out?

It depends on my mood but I like fine dining restaurants as a way to learn and find inspiration – it opens your mind to other ideas. I ate at Whatley Manor recently and it was exceptional.

Feeling inspired by?

I love asparagus at the moment. We chargrill it for an earthy flavour and it keeps that lovely bittersweet taste. Wild garlic is another favourite – it’s great chargrilled too as it intensifies the flavour.

Wish you’d known ten years ago?

I wish I’d known how important maths skills are! Working out costings is a big part of your job as head chef.

Fave pub?

The Red Lion in East Chisenbury, which has a Michelin star but which is very unpretentious. The food is clean and crisp, and of a really high standard.

Favourite way to cook?

The classical way – roasted in a pan in the oven – that’s how you get the most flavour out of everything.

Like to have supper with?

Gordon Ramsay – he’s a chef I admire. It’d be interesting to hear his stories. Thomas Keller [of The French Laundry in California] would be good too, I’ve always found his food very interesting and he’s a great chef.

Favourite weekend breakfast?

French toast with smoked bacon and maple syrup.

On the up?

Barbecuing and chargrilling is becoming more popular, as are foraged ingredients. I also think fine dining restaurants are making a comeback, with top quality, locally sourced food, knowledgeable staff and everything else that you’d want – but served in a more relaxed atmosphere. Value for money is important: our tasting menu is £65 and we don’t use cheap cuts, because it’s all about creating an experience.

Supported by
Churchill Recreate
Indy Cafe Cookbook Volume 2
South West 660
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