When Did You First Have An Interest Cooking? I grew up with farming, animals, growing…
Oliver Introna – Chef Interviews
When Did You First Have An Interest Cooking?
My first real memory of food way before I even contemplated taking up cooking as a profession was when I was really young and on a regular basis my Italian grandfather would invite my family around for dinner and all I can remember is as soon as you stepped through the door you would be overwhelmed with just the most amazing smells and I would just watch as he prepared the food which to me was mesmerising.
On occasion we’d pop down to the bottom of the garden to the greenhouse to check on the Tomatoes, Basil, Garlic, Courgettes, you name it he was growing it! So I guess you can say that those experiences definitely planted a seed which would shape my decision to take up cooking later down the line.
How Long Have You Been Cooking Professionally?
Like most chefs I began as a pot washer for a local restaurant where I was lucky enough to start an apprenticeship and that was near on 4 years ago. So not long really.
Where Do You Get Your Inspiration From?
Pretty boring answer but Everywhere. I couldn’t really put a finger on the specifics but from either things I see on Television or from the people I have worked with or books I read. I try to keep my eyes and ears open when it comes to cooking because you never really know when you might stumble across something that will open your eyes to new possibilities.
If You Was Not A Chef, What Would You Want To Do?
I’ve always been interested in Graphic Design so probably something like that.
How Would You Describe Your Cooking Style?
Simple with a touch of finesse.
What Course Do You Prefer To Cook?
Main course. Like I said before, Simple dishes presented well.
What Is Your Favourite Dish/Signature Dish to Make?
In terms of my favourite dish I love Venison Carpaccio so simple yet so tasty. I’ve been asked a few times by friends and family what my ‘Signature Dish’ is but yet I don’t really have an answer to it. All I can say is you’ll find my certain stamp in all the cooking I do, therefore I can’t really say I have that ‘One’ dish that totally represents me.
What Ingredient Do You Love To Cook With The Most?
It would definitely have to be Venison. But I also love working with fresh basil, the taste, the aroma it just brings back fond memories.
What is Your Favourite Dish To Eat?
Lasagne. Next question?
Which Other Chefs Inspire You?
In terms of Chefs that have inspired me I can honestly say that every person I have ever had the pleasure of working with has left a mark.
There is one however in particular who was my first ever Head Chef who gave me the opportunity to move away from washing dishes, took me under his wing and taught me pretty much everything I know today and I will always be forever grateful and have the utmost respect for him and I’m pleased to say we are now once again working together
Any Advice You Would Give To People Wanting To Become A Chef?
DON’T! Haha. No in all seriousness it is a hard working profession but the rewards for all that hard work are fantastic. I’ve had the privilege of being able to work in a place where we would win awards and I can honestly say it is a great feeling.
All I would say is surround yourself with people who care and strive to be the best and please please please avoid chain pubs at all cost! This country lacks real talented young chefs and as a young chef myself with steakhouses and cheap ‘2for10’ eateries popping up all over the shop I don’t want to see real restaurants offering homemade fresh honest cooking fall by the wayside.
Any Thing You Would Like To Share, IE New Book? Development At Restaurant etc?
Check out some of the amazing dishes by Oliver!