Id like to thank Gavin for taking part in the interview and wish him well working at Cafe North in Cardiff
When Did You First Have An Interest Cooking?
My Interest started when I was a young child around 4 years of age. Seeing my parents cook gave me a sense of wonder and fascination. Eating the foods they produced, the aromas, flavours, textures and just the pure form of cooking just hooked me! My parents came from a line of chefs so I guess that gave me the senses needed for being a chef.
How Long Have You Been Cooking Professionally?
I have been cooking professionally for more than 3 years now! Started in college at Cardiff learning ‘Professional Catering’ Level One and Two. Soon after I was working in a Gastro pub working alongside a Michelin star chef, taking in as much knowledge as possible in a short time. Then came 5* Hotel, Michelin rated restaurant, French patisserie specialist, Head Chef in café restaurant and soon Head Chef in another café restaurant.
Where Do You Get Your Inspiration From?
My inspiration came from my parents first and I am fortunate and proud to say that my parents are great chefs. My inspiration for professional catering then came from highly regarded chefs from television and books.
If You Was Not A Chef, What Would You Want To Do?
I love what I do which is Fine Patisserie but if I can follow another passion of mine it would be rock climbing. Rock climbing has always been my most favourite hobby apart from many others like archery, cycling and calligraphy. Rock climbing to me is a sense of freedom, one self to staying humble and passionate about Mother Nature.
Loving the outdoors and understanding Mother Nature always plays a role in being a chef, growing crops, herbs, farming etc… Is important and to me mandatory if you wish to become a great chef, everything we cook everything we taste comes from nature and to neglect this fact and knowledge is going to become a barrier in making you a better chef than you currently are.
How Would You Describe Your Cooking Style?
My cooking style is heavily influenced by French cuisines and Chinese cuisines. The French side is so beautiful in flavours and light, a good dish done with fresh ingredients is always the best, same goes with the Chinese dishes, yes it is rich and flavourful but it works because these chefs before us knew there ingredients, textures and combinations which a lot of chefs these days lack.
What Course Do You Prefer To Cook?
I love to make patisseries, not necessarily cooking but it is the course I love to do!
What Is Your Favourite Dish/Signature Dish to Make?
So far I don’t have a signature dish I love to make from the rest I have done, but what I did make that stood out to food bloggers, critics and customers is my version of a 7 layer Opera cake – coffee butter cream, choc ganache, chai syrup and pistachio-hazelnut Jaconde sponge.
What Ingredient Do You Love To Cook With The Most?
Has to be seafood like shellfish and fish. I haven’t cooked much myself but when I had the chance to, filleting, gutting and cooking them in different ways is just fantastic. The flavours of the sea the textures, aroma and ooooh the preparation it takes is just wonders!
What is Your Favourite Dish To Eat?
My favourite dish to eat is hard to choose because there is so many different genres, cuisines and flavours! If I had to choose one it will be roast pork with crackling, simple yet complex in textures and flavours all you want in a dish!
Which Other Chefs Inspire You?
Chef Michel Roux Senior – for his revolutionary patisseries’ (which was not heavily influenced in the UK until somewhat around 1980s)
Chef Raymond Blanc – for his enthusiastic can do attitude, character and personality. Also great in meats and poultry.
Chocolatier William Curly and Suzue Curley – the power couple of amazing chocolate work and incredible flavour combinations.
Chef Kevin Fairlie – My tutor and mentor from college, he played a huge role in what I do now in catering, he was the gentleman who encouraged, trusted and believed in me to become a ‘hopefully’ great patisserie chef and I plan to; to make him proud.
Any Advice You Would Give To People Wanting To Become A Chef?
Several advice I can give you:
• Have confidence in yourself and know where you can improve in areas.
• Don’t be hard headed and always take advice from others.
• Take in as much knowledge as possible that is ‘useful’ to you and throw out those which are ‘useless’.
• Learn to be a team player and be ready to help those who ask.
• And most important of all be respectful, honest and humble for these will make others respect ‘you’ and guide you to becoming a Chef and also as a person.
Any Thing You Would Like To Share, IE New Book? Development At Restaurant etc?
I am becoming an Head Chef at Café North in Cardiff which will have a menu which I came up with; with the boss and friends so come down whenever you are free to try some of our simple yet fresh dishes! You will find the place on google maps and social media i.e. Facebook.