15th January 2020

5 minutes with Chefs, Joe & John

Back from the finals of the South West Chef of the Year we thought we would sit down for a quick chat with chefs John and Joe to find out how it went and a little more about what makes them tick.

Best meal you’ve eaten?
- John: has to be the meal at Lympstone Manor with fellow chefs after qualifying for the South West Chef finals.
- Joe: the Hand and Flowers, ambience, company and food all made for the perfect meal.

Who would be at your perfect dinner party?
- John: James Acaster (would be jokes), Dad (once he’s had a drink he’s hilarious), Greg Davies (again would be funny) and finally Oliver Tree (singer).
- Joe: Definitely would be my Mum, my Dad, my wife and my son. There’s no one I’d rather spend my time with.

What’s your favourite food to cook?
- John: Anything with pasta, it’s so versatile and a lot of fun to cook at home with my girlfriend Emily.
- Joe: Would have to be roasting a crowned pigeon, I love attending at the stove giving it my maximum attention and giving it a nice golden colour, cooking pigeon shows a real skill.

Go to sandwich?
- John: Croque monsieur, no beating it.
- Joe: Smoked cheddar and ham toastie on brown bread.

Favourite ingredient to use?
- John: Would have to be vanilla, I love the taste of vanilla, it’s very versatile and can be used in sweet and savoury dishes.
- Joe: Black muscat grapes, their intensity makes them a special treat and are quite universal.

Favourite dish at Boringdon?
John: The classic crab dish, absolute staple dish, tastes fantastic and I love the presentation.
- Joe: Turbot here in the restaurant, it’s clean, fresh and the produce is stunning all the time. It oozes Scott’s philosophy to me.

Any guilty pleasures?
- John: Don’t think I do anything where I think “ooo cheeky”.
-Joe: I love a bowl of Krave cereal with ice cold milk!

Sweet or salty?
- John: Has to be sweet, love a dessert, always save room!
- Joe: I’m not much of a sweet person so I’d say salty.

You’ve both competed in the South West Chef of the Year and got to the finals. Where did you get your inspiration for your dishes in the competition?
- John: Inspired by past experiences; whether it was elements I have made at work before or eaten in other restaurants or even seen online/social media. I put little pieces together that I thought would work.
- Joe: I used inspiration from the food at Boringdon with Scott’s guidance to develop my own style.

Scariest part of the competition?
- John: Was definitely be all the waiting, the long drive up and then the wait in the restaurant while everyone’s waiting to go in, the nerves just kept building up and you can’t do anything about it but sit there.
- Joe: The scariest part of the competition was getting through to the finals and then the not knowing made it scary and difficult for me.

Favourite part of the competition?
- John: Meeting all the new people/award winning chefs, it’s a lot of fun to show your skills and give other competitors a run for their money.
- Joe: Seeing my name amongst the finalists knowing I’d be up against some of the best young chefs out there and knowing the prestige of previous winners and finalists.

Top tip?
- John: Try and stay cool headed, under all that pressure/ nerves it’s very easy to panic/get flustered (I should know) and that’s where all the mistakes are made.
- Joe: If I could tell my future self a tip it would be to breathe, focus and if something goes wrong to fix it quickly the time fly's past so quick you wouldn’t believe.

How did you find the mystery box?
- John: The mystery box was a lot of fun, I wish I had planned/looked a lot more into what I may or may not have received. Once the ingredients were revealed I got a little flustered but it was a different and fun experience.
- Joe: I found the mystery box difficult, the pressure of the day and the box of limited produce made it very hard for us on the day and my thoughts became confused once my plan had come off track.

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