FOURty Seconds with Steve Smith

25 Nov 2016
3 min read
Awarded his first Michelin star at 24, Steve Smith of Bohemia in Jersey talks to FOUR about what he’s been up to recently…

What are your earliest memories of being interested in food?

My earliest food memories start with Sunday Roasts with the family. I also remember when I was around five years old and I was picking and eating strawberries. This would have been with my family at a nearby farm. It left a mark as it would have been the first time eating something made me smile! I’ve always liked to eat! The whole concept around cooking, eating and enjoyment struck a chord with me.It was the satisfaction of eating food as a kid then as I grew older I enjoyed learning to cook.

What, or who, would you say has inspired your cooking the most?

I’ve always liked to eat! I can’t pinpoint it to one thing but I just know it started from enjoying family meals. It could have been a nice salad at my Gran’s.

Nowadays seasonal quality ingredients inspire my cooking the most. In Jersey we have access to fantastic ingredients and produce. We have wonderful seafood on our doorstep and thanks to the ideal location we are spoilt for choice between local, French and British produce.

Describe your culinary style…

My culinary style is Modern English.

What would you say is the main focus/concept for your menu at…?

The main concept on our menu at Bohemiaisjust simply great tasting food using seasonal quality ingredients. We change our menu regularly to keep up with the seasons and depending on the produce that is currently available.

Did you dosomething similar for the Eat Jersey festival?

Yes we did indeed!

Can you tell us any menu highlights from the festival?

We serveda foie gras cream with local seabuck thorn and orange.

What do you think makes a restaurant or menu sosuccessful?

We make theguests feel welcomeand give them great food.Also, I constantly question what we do and why we do it.The team and I always put everything into our work.We put so much hard work in to what we do that it’s fantastic to see it pay off.

What are your most indispensable ingredients?

There is no shadow of doubt that salt is the most vital ingredient. It can be added to every recipe and it can turn a good dish into a fantastic dish. A bit of salt and a few drops of lemon can be vital.

What changes have you witnessed in the fine dining scene in recent years?

In recent years I’ve seen fine dining take on a less formal style of service.

What would you say has been the most memorable moment in your culinary career so far?

My most memorable moment was gaining my first Michelin star in 1997; and also gaininga Michelin star in 2013 for Bohemia in my first 8 months of operation, which was fantastic.Any year you win a star is always incredible! But the first time that it happens is always the most important and the most memorable. It’s also important to look tothefuture, and that means trying to improve everything we do.

Bohemia has also featured in The Sunday Times Top 100 Food List in 2014 and 2015 and was ranked in OpenTable’s Top 100 Best Restaurants. We have had a lot of memorable moments at Bohemia!

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self, starting out a career in the world of food?

Above everything, work hard. Try and buy the best ingredients you can afford. So buy a better quality chicken or piece of fish if you can, because the keyisthe ingredients. If you buy substandard ones that’ll be reflected on your customer’s plate. Eat your own dishes and be self critical. If you aren’t sure, then change it. You can improve a dish by eating it yourself twice.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Salted caramel ice cream!

What restaurant is currently at the top of your list to dine at?

My favourite restaurant is Celler de can Roca in Girona, Spain.Amazing foodandfantastic service.

Find out more about the culinary career of Steve Smith