What are your earliest memories of being interested in food?
I always loved food but didn’t really have a keen interest in cooking until my teens. I had hurt myself playing rugby and was flicking through some cookbooks out of boredom one Sunday. I was struck with how gratifying it would be to create something from scratch that would make people happy, all in a matter of hours.
What would you say has inspired your cooking the most?
I think the seasons, and especially the change in seasons drives the way we cook at The Five Fields. The natural colours, aromas and textures alter our food greatly over the course of the year. With the restaurant being in Chelsea, we’re in quite leafy surroundings. It’s coming into Spring now and the change in people’s dispositions and behaviour reflects our cooking; the pace palpably quickens; ingredients come and go with more regularity; everything is somehow more ephemeral.
Describe how you see your own culinary style and how it has evolved over the years…
Figuratively speaking, we’ve barely left port, so I think it’s a bit early to talk about any evolution in the culinary style at The Five Fields. For the moment we are just concentrating on improving the food we cook and the experience for our guests. I think that we are beginning to develop a recognisable style, but it’s an ongoing process.
What are your most indispensable ingredients?
Salt, water, butter, and olive oil. It’s a fairly prosaic list, but in its own way, each of these ingredients is indispensable. Citrus is also an important element in our cooking.
What kind of experience do you aim to give guests at the restaurant?
We never wrote down a mission statement outlining what we aimed to do at the restaurant, but I think it has always been implicit that we want to make people happy. People have lots of reasons for going out to dinner, whereas our motives are very straight forward. We want to cook delicious food, serve it in a discreet and friendly dining room, and make people feel very special regardless of why they have come to eat at The Five Fields.
What would you say has been the most memorable moment in your culinary career so far?
Opening The Five Fields.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self, starting out a career in the world of food?
Rightly or wrongly, I followed my own advice, and I still adhere to it. Keep an open mind and get a broad exposure to lots of different styles of food- working with, or eating- and then figure out which path to take. The hospitality industry is so incredibly vast, and there are so many options available that there is no longer a conventional route to follow.
What’s next for you?
I’m concentrating solely on The Five Fields for the foreseeable future.
What’s been your most embarrassing kitchen moment?
There have been lots. Best just to have humility in what you do, accept that everyone makes mistakes, and don’t take yourself too seriously.
What restaurant is currently at the top of your list to dine at?
Azurmendi by . It’s unlikely I’ll get to eat there any time soon!
8-9 Blacklands Terrace
London SW3 2SP