What are your earliest memories of being interested in food?
This goes back to being about 5 or 6 years old. We grew corn, tomatoes, pumpkins, passion fruit, figs at home, amongst other things. We kept chickens and ducks and my mum always cooked using the eggs. I remember being shown how to light a fire to get the BBQ going. I guess it all goes back to that time.
What kind of experience do you aim to give the guests dining at your restaurant?
I want to offer an all round jolly drunken experience with great food and genuinely fun servers. Less fine dining restaurant more ‘get over yourself and just have some fun’.
What chef would you say has inspired your cooking the most?
It has to be Nobu. His Americanised take on Japanese cuisine was extremely exciting for me.
Describe how you see your own culinary style and how it has evolved over the years…
Somebody once suggested that it might be best described as post-Japanese, it’s probably the most accurate way. Over the years is say I’ve leaned away from being very cheffy, you know, foams, fruity caviars and small droplets of pointlessness on pretty plates to a combination of being more commercially minded and serving food that is far more down to earth.
What would you say has been the most memorable moment in your culinary career so far?
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self, starting out a career in the world of food?
Learn a decent cross-section of techniques and cuisine types. Be humble and work hard.
Have you ever had an embarrassing kitchen moment?
I was once marched out of my kitchen in Dubai by the local police right before our launch party kicked off. The chefs all stood there with wide eyes and dropped jaws, shocked! Earlier in the day I’d had an argument with a security officer nearby the restaurant and hurt his feelings. The police take crime quite seriously out there. I was eventually released and made it back for the service. Imagine what we would have had to tell the media when the chef doesn’t show up to his own launch.
What restaurant is currently on the top of your list to dine at?
FERA at Claridges.