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Archive for the ‘Eat My Words’ Category

Eat My Words – Yoann Chevet – Sinabro, London

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

Welcome back to Eat My Words it has been quite some time between meals and we are VERY hungry! This week we had a chat to a very talented chef, Yoann Chevet. Yoann is no stranger to fine dining or world class kitchens, having worked at some of the best Michelin starred restaurants in France and the UK.  We are now very lucky to have Yoann cooking his own food from his own kitchen, together with his wife Sujin he has opened  Sinabro in Battersea Rise. Sinabro, a word from Sujin’s native Korean means ‘to advance’ or ‘to progress’, step by step. Having waited four years for the perfect premises and having spent several decades between them acquiring the necessary skills, the couple decided the name describes their culinary journey perfectly.

Lets hear what Yoann had to say.

Which is the last restaurant you visited and what were your thoughts?

Arbutus: Good Value and amazing food. I would like to see more reasonably priced one Michelin star quality restaurants.

Which is your favourite London restaurant?

Barrafina, Terroir, Kauffmann’s. I can’t choose just one.

What is the most important attribute for a chef to have working in your kitchen?

Aside from creativity and skill, it is essential for a chef to be self-motivated and retain a positive attitude even in the most stressful situations.

If you had to give one piece of advice to an up and coming chef, what would it be?

Work with Passion and don’t count your working hours. Learn as much as you can from those around you. To have a successful career as a chef, you must fall in love with your work, choose work based on what you will learn not what you will earn.

What would you choose for your last meal?

Stuffed Tomato with Sausage and Rice from my mother or my wife, Sujin’s Grilled Pork.

Who would be your ideal dinner companion?

My wife, of course. (She will be reading this…)

Which Chef (Chef’s) do you most admire?

Mr. Georget. I worked with him for my first internship and I learned so much from him.

What is your signature dish of the moment?

Snails with Mushrooms, Parsley Puree and Garlic Foam.


Many thanks to Yoann for taking the time out from his busy kitchen to chat with us. You can find him at www.sinabro.co.uk, on facebook  and tweeting from @sinabrolondon


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Eat My Words – Chef Chris Cunningham

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

This week we talk with Chef Chris Cunningham who has been a Private Chef for most of his career, working for 4 wealthy families over the years and still works with one and has done so for the past 16 years. Chris is also writing a book about his Private Chef experiences and enjoys sharing the joy of his work with others in the industry. We ask Chris about his work and what it takes to be a happily employed Private Chef.

Chris your work experience and qualifications make you a sought after Private Chef world wide. Not only do you have a Grande Diplome De Cuisine Et De Patisserie but you hold a B.A. in legal studies from the University of Pittsburgh. What prompted the change from legal studies into being a Chef?

Actually, I have always been into cooking. I started baking cakes and selling them when I was twelve years old and even catered in college.  I was interested in law, but after a trip to Europe, specifically France, I fell in love with cooking all over again. I decided that if I was going to cook for a living, I was going to learn in France. 

You also mention that you not only worked for one Billionaire, but you actually have worked for four! Do you still continue to work for them in any capacity or others as a Private Chef?

Yes, I still work for the same family and have for 16 years. I began when their children were 3 an 4. I just sent the youngest off to college. Yes, they are still Billionaires, but don’t act like it. We are very close. I have worked for three other families, all of whom are so called  ”Billionaires”. I don’t think about that very much, I have a job to do and can’t get caught up in the hype.

What is the most amazing/interesting or just plain weird experience you have had with a client when cooking for them?

When I began in private service, I was the Chef for the President of American University in Washington D.C. During graduation, the daughter of King Hussein and Queen Noor of Jordon was graduating. The king was not supposed to attend, but decided to come at the last minute. I had prepared a private reception lunch for the royal family in the President’s office. The King decided to hunch down behind the door and jump out and surprise his daughter when she arrived. She was thrilled and tears flowed everywhere. 

What would be your most difficult part of the day when working for a wealthy family?

The constant interruptions make the day difficult. There are a lot of people, working and maintaining a 40,000 sq food home and property. My kitchen is located right in the middle of the main house. Workers, deliveries and other staff are always around. It just slows down my job, even though there is no way around it.

What is the most unusual dish you have had to prepare for a family you’ve worked for?

My boss is of Lebanese descent and her parents owned a number of restaurants while she was growing up. A dish of lentils and rice called Mujadara is one of the families favorite side dishes. The recipe consists of a small list of simple ingredients. Perfecting it the way they wanted took me almost a year. One of the most difficult tasks of being a private chef is making the families traditional foods taste like they are used to. 

Who in the industry is your favourite Chef?

Thomas Keller is my favorite chef in the industry. His meals are perfection and creative. His restaurants are amazing, especially his organization in the kitchen.

What’s one piece of advice you valued receiving in your career?

The owner of the yacht I spent five years working on was a very successful businessman. When he hired me, he didn’t offer me a starting salary. He asked me what I wanted to be paid. He explained that the hours are long, the job is demanding and he wanted to hire the best person. His advice is hire the best people and pay them what they think they deserve. Then he gave me more than I asked for anyway. He explained, people generally know what they are worth, but will often sell themselves short. It was a great lesson for me.

What tip/s would you give to those who are looking to be a Private or Personal Chef?

It’s personality, not necessarily the food. Succeeding in a private chef position is 90% personality and 10% skill. Don’t get me wrong, you have to be a good cook, but if you work everyday inside someone’s home, they had better like you, If you screw up a sauce, you can’t swear and throw the pot at the dishwasher, when your boss is twenty feet from you playing with her five year old.  Don’t miss out on a great career, just because you think you are not a good enough chef. Wealthy employers are looking for more.

Do you train or coach other up and coming chefs in the industry? If so what is the most valuable piece of advice would you give?

I do work with other chefs in the industry. Travel, travel, travel! As a chef, you will learn so much from other cultures and cuisines, but you must go there. Also, work in as many venues as you can. All chefs have something to teach you. Don’t discount the other cooks around you either, many have a wealth of experience but don’t necessarily want to deal with the management side of the industry.

What are 3 favourite places/dishes you love to prepare?

I wouldn’t say I have three favorite dishes to prepare, but I do love putting together speciality events. I then can research many different dishes to prepare. Everything from breaking the fast on Ramadan, to preparing a Passover Seder dinner, to having a memorial Japanese dinner for the Enola Gay exhibit at the Smithsonian. Ok, I love making beans and greens, cassoulet, and a really good homemade Reuben.

If you could prepare a full course menu for anyone in the world, who would it be?

I would like to prepare a full course meal for both sets of my grandparents. I didn’t know them very well and my paternal grandfather died before I was born.

You are currently writing a book about your experiences working as a Private Chef, when are you planning to publish it?

Writing the book has been an on going project for five years now. I have recently changed literary agents, but I hope the book will come out sometime late next year. 

Are there any projects that you are currently working on that you’d like to share with our audience?

The book and related articles are pretty much taking up most of my time. I have two more articles coming out in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, one on my days in Paris at Le Cordon Bleu and the other about working on a private island. 

Thank you Chris for sharing a great insight into your experiences as a Private Chef. Best wishes for your book and we look forward to reading it when it is published!


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Eat my Words – Sean Bone

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

This week we talk with Chef Sean Bone. Sean is a Private Chef in Vancouver, Canada and has worked on large Estates and Private Yachts for wealthy clients and also works as a ‘TV station Chef”.  He talks with us about his current work and what it takes to be a Private Chef.

Sean you are a Certified Private Chef working for a large family in Vancouver on their motor vessel. Is this a full time job for you or do you have other clients you attend to also? 

I am a Red Seal Certified Chef who has worked in the private industry since 2009.  I have worked both on an estate and on yachts.  I recently retired my position working for a large Canadian family and am now focusing my efforts on building my personal business – which exclusively aims to provide private chef services.   At present I have numerous clients and have recently been picked up by a local television station as “station chef”.

What is one thing that you need to be aware of or prepare for when working in a non-standard environment like a boat?

Excellent organization, time management and pre-planning are vital to your personal success.  It is also always important to expect the unexpected.  Last minute changes are commonplace in this industry.  

You started cooking from an early age with a heavy influence from your Mother and Grandmother both of Italian descent. What is one thing they taught you that you still do to this very day?  

I still use a number of skills that my mother and grandmother taught me.  One that I hold dear to my heart is incorporating courgette flowers into summer cuisine.

Who in the industry is your favourite Chef or is there anyone in the industry you would like to cook with? 

I have a number of Chefs that are my favourite, but if I had to choose one – I would have to choose David Everitt-Matthias.  He has had a humble, yet rewarding career.  He works with his wife and he is an advocate of foraging. 

What’s one piece of advice you valued receiving in your career from your mentors? 

The best piece of advice I ever received from one of my mentors (Chef Michel Jacob) was to always work as though you had a video camera on you.  This helped me to always be aware of my demeanor, cleanliness and overall organization.

What tip/s would you give to those who are looking to be a Private or Personal Chef? 

The list of advice that I would give is very large.  However, the top three tips would be: 1). You must love your food first before anyone else can love it, but you shouldn’t be arrogant about your food, you also should learn to accept that you cannot please everyone, 2). Your job is to please your client and guests first and foremost; therefore it is extremely important to create thoughtful and nutritious food, 3).  Always be organized by knowing your menus in advance.

What is the strangest request you’ve had from one of your Private clients?   

I suppose it’s not really THAT strange, but in my entire career as a Private Chef, the one thing that stands out is that I was asked to prepare potatoes as a side dish for every single dinner for 3 full years.  Let’s just say that I have a “large” repertoire of potato recipes under my belt.

What are 3 favourite places/dishes you love to prepare? 

I love to prepare braised meats (traditional and sous vide methods), stuffed pastas and breads made from natural starters.

If you could prepare a full course menu for anyone in the world, who would it be? 

I would love to prepare a full course meal for someone who is underprivileged.

Do you have a simple recipe that you would be happy to share with our readers? 

You can find a few of my simple (homestyle) recipes online at www.chefseanbone.com/blog

Anything else you’d like to say or share? 

Being a Private Chef seems glamorous but it is equally as challenging as being a restaurant chef.  Be prepared to be the first one awake and the last one to leave your post.  However, receiving compliments from your guests can make any long day worth every minute.  

Many thanks to Sean for taking time out of his very busy schedule to take part in our interview. Sean’s website can be found at www.chefseanbone.com and you can follow him on Twitter @ChefSeanBone as well as Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/SeanBonePrivateChefServices



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Eat My Words – Stacie Pierce

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Today we talk with Stace Pierce a Private Chef who serves the very wealthy in Manhattan and the Hamptons in New York, an exclusive holiday destination for the elite.

Stacie was in great demand when we spoke to her therefore due to time constraints,  she sent a short bio of her career so far, which will give you great insight and inspiration…

I knew I wanted to be a chef since I was 14 years old, I am now 46.

I worked in a French restaurant and pleaded to get a job at 15 years old.  They finally gave me a shot  as a dishwasher and I had to work for free for two months to show that I really wanted it.

After two months I was given a prep job… no more dishes for me!  I loved the feeling of family within the kitchen and it feels very much like a team of any type such as sports, acting etc… 

I began to change my classes around in High School  to allow me to get to the restaurant by 1:00.

 By 17, I was accepted into the prestigious Culinary school “The Culinary Institute of America“.  I was one of the youngest at the time to be accepted! 

After CIA I went straight to New York and pounded the pavement and showed up over and over to the restaurants I wanted to work in. My first was “The Four Seasons”.

From there I had a 15 yr career in New York City as a Pastry chef to Union Square Cafe , Monkey Bar, Gotham Bar and Grill, to name a few.

I’ve been in many magazines and on T.V.  I’ve been lucky to have been given many opportunities to cook for movies and photo shoots.

I ended up (unfortunately)  going through a divorce. My husband and I had a home in Park Slope, Brooklyn as well as Sag Harbor, New York. I stayed in Sag Harbor and literally fell into becoming a private chef.

I’ve been doing this for years now and work with clients who ask me to help them celebrate their most special moments.

When I cook I allow the food to be the focal point . I live in an area that is filled with farm stands and artisanal shops.

The clients I have eat at the Best Restaurants in the world. They own planes, trains and lots of automobiles, not to mention the Yachts!  They do nothing small and entertain big. They have butlers, chauffeurs and lots of “people” (which is also a big part of the job). 

A couple of years ago I bought a large catering company 185 employees. We did Big clam bakes on the beach , huge soirees, benefits etc.  Although it was fun, I missed the personal relationship between myself and the client. I sold the company to work on two other projects I am now pursuing presently.

Stacie’s projects are specifically working on a small restaurant where it will be more like a home environment it is very unique and she has wanted to cook in this type of setting forever. Stacie is also working with a woman who wants her to help roll out a dessert line,  mostly frozen cakes.

The above along with beginning to book up for the holiday season is a challenging yet exciting time for her now. For more info about Stacie visit her site: www.beautifulfoodbystacie.com

Thanks Stacie and all the best wishes for your business!


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Eat My Words – Ameerah Watson (Creole Peach)

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

This week we talk with Ameerah Watson, aka ‘Creole Peach’. Chef Ameerah was born in New Orleans where she received the foundation of her flavoring style. Later in life her mother, who was raised vegetarian, moved the family to Atlanta where Ameerah was primarily raised but still spent her summers in New Orleans. Each of these two southern cities are well known for their unique styles of cooking and flavours.

Paired with her Culinary Arts degree, she completed her Naturopathic Medicine certification in 2008 through the Phoenix Rising Institute to support her focus on the true root of food and what it can do for the human body. These two backgrounds, along with her upbringing, have resulted in Chef Ameerah being well versed in meeting every dietary need with flavour and colour.

We contacted Chef Ameerah during a very exciting time. She has been chosen as one of 9 Chefs to take part in a new TV reality competition show called “Restaurant Express” which aired in November.

Ameerah, you fell in love with cooking at an early age and eventually became a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, worked at amazing places such as The Marriott and Ritz Carlton and appearing very soon on The Food Network on TV. What is the main message that you want to give to others through the food that you prepare & make?

I would like people to respect food and love it for its qualities. Cook food in a way that praises its original flavor. Be simple yet creative. Most of all put your soul and heart in every dish.

What is the story around your nickname The Creole Peach?

I was born in New Orleans and the smell and taste of this unique place has always been in my veins. My upbringing has mostly been in Atlanta which is also a place that embodies Southern Hospitality. My flavor style matches this history. It was my sister who began calling me Creole Peach as one on my biggest fans of my food.

You specialise in vegetarian, vegan and raw foods, what was the main driver for you to focus in these particular areas and what is the most memorable comment from a client/customer who has eaten your food?

My mother’s side of the family has always been mostly vegetarian and my father’s side excellent farmers. All though I do cook for all diets, fresh food and health has always been my foundation. Food should feed your mind, body and soul.

Most of my clients are pleasantly surprised by fusion of seasonal ingredients. I pride myself on perfecting the basic and layering colorful jazz on top. The most memorable response from a client was a woman’s expression to me that she was in shock and amazement at my talent for cooking, and then she begged for a picture and my autograph.

You not only have your business as a Personal Chef but you are now commencing a new adventure by appearing on a Nationally televised show called ‘Restaurant Express’ where you and 8 others travel around the country cooking and competing on a large bus to win a chance to be Executive Chef at an exclusive resort. Congratulations on being part of this project! Do you have any game plan that you can share and what is something you’ve learnt so far on this project that is a good piece of advice to other Chefs? 

Always set a standard for each dish you create to be to best that someone has ever tasted. With this you will always be remembered. It was word of mouth that got me noticed and my passion that landed me there. I can’t go too far into the show except to say I am on it. I am also on season 2 of Cutthroat Kitchen.

Who in the industry is your favourite Chef or is there anyone in the industry you would like to cook with?

My favorite Chef is Todd Richardson. He is the chef that invested so much care in to me and still does. He is an excellent man with a lot of talent.

What’s one piece of advice you valued receiving in your career?

Always do your best even when you feel the job is too easy.

What tip/s would you give to those who are looking to be a Private or Personal Chef?

You have to always be looking for opportunities. Do not get caught in a box, listen for the needs and wants of people. The market is changing and you can make it a fun challenge or stressful failure.

What is the strangest request you’ve had from one of your Private clients?

In this field if there is no strange request then something is wrong. So there are too many to call one out.

What are 3 favorite places/dishes you love to prepare?

I love making simple biscuits it brings warm memories and comfort. My favorite place to visit is my grandmother’s farm in Louisiana. Soon as I get there I lose my shoes on purpose and cook up all of her fresh eggs.  The country girl in me gets fed.

If you could prepare a full course menu for anyone in the world, who would it be?

My  Mother, I find her to be the most amazing woman I know. I’m her biggest fan.

Do you have a simple recipe that you would be happy to share with our readers? 

Blackened Shrimp with avocado grapefruit salad and chili powered vinigarette


1/2 lb 16/20 shrimp, butterflied
2 tbs blacking seasoning
2 tbs olive oil

2 avocados large dice
1 grapefruit segmented
1 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half
Chilli Powder Dressing
2/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup cider vinegar
2 tbs chives
2 tbs honey
2 tbs chili powder
1 1/2 tsp mustard
salt and pepper to taste
Start by making the dressing. In a medium bowl place vinegar, chives, honey, chili powder, and mustard.
Whisk ingredients together then slowly add olive oil until fully incorporated. Salt and pepper to taste.
In another bowl gently mix together diced avocado, grapefruit segments and cut cherry tomatoes. Little by little and dressing and gently toss.
Place in refrigerator for holding.
Take shrimp and drizzle with olive oil and then dust with blackening seasoning. Sear in a skillet on medium high until cooking just right, blacken yet juicy!
Dish out chilled avocado grapefruit salad among 4 bowls and serve hot blackened shrimp on top. Let your guests enjoy this full flavoured unknowingly healthy dish.

Many thanks Ameerah, we wish you all the best with your TV projects and good luck! If you want to follow Ameerah’s progress, she is now on Facebook and Twitter @CreolePeachChef.


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Eat My Words – Terri Moser

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

If you think you could never do a career change, then you will enjoy our interview this week from Terri Moser, who runs her own In-Home Custom Catering service in Baltimore &  Harford areas in the state of Maryland the USA. Terri had a career of nearly 27 years in public health before retiring and starting Terri’s Table, a personal chef company.

1. What do you love in particular about being a Private/Personal Chef?

My favorite part of being a personal chef is the cooking! I love being able to provide healthy, home cooked meals for busy families. I grew up with that tradition in my parents’ family, and made sure that my kids grew up with home cooked meals. The slow food movement and the other efforts in this country to direct kids to healthy, whole foods rather than fast food is the way I grew up and the way I believe kids should eat.

2. Who in the industry is your favourite Chef or is there anyone in the industry you would like to cook with?

In terms of celebrity chefs, I use many of Giada DeLaurentis’s recipes in both my personal and professional meals. I love how she combines simple ingredients in healthy combinations, and I’m a big fan of the Mediterranean style of eating. I would love to cook with Ann Burrell because I love her attitude and passion. Alton Brown appeals to the scientist side of me. On the non-celebrity side, we have a wonderful local restaurant called Pairings in Bel Air, Maryland, and I would love to cook with their chefs and learn how they make their killer butternut squash soup! 

3. What’s one piece of advice you valued receiving in your career?

Another personal chef told me, after I confessed to feeling uncomfortable with “Chef” in my title (since I am not professionally trained), that the definition of a chef is someone who cooks professionally for other people. As I gained more experience and saw how my meals were valued by my clients, I realized that she was right. 

4. What tip/s would you give to those who are looking to be a Private or Personal Chef?

I would tell people to jump in and do it. I began by cooking for friends and neighbors for free – they paid me for groceries, but my labor was free. This allowed me to get my timing down (important when making 20 meals by yourself!), figure out the most efficient way to tackle recipes, get my “gear” pared down to the essentials, etc. It also allowed me to get those all-important references for future clients. 

5. You also say on your website that you look forward to continuing your education through culinary classes and experimenting with new flavours and dishes. How regularly would you do extra classes to skill up further on your craft?

Although I’ve not had the opportunity to take formal classes, I continue to experiment with new recipes and foods – pomegranate molasses is my current favorite new ingredient! I’ve also attended a great annual event in Baltimore for the past few years – “The Foodie Experience.” It’s a symposium/tasting event that involves many great local restaurants, and includes a keynote address by a celebrity chef. My favorite was Alton Brown. 

6. What is the strangest request you’ve had from one of your Private clients?

The strangest request was to provide all of my grocery receipts so that my client could verify that I was really purchasing organic ingredients! 

7. When preparing for a client’s menu, what would be something that you need to be aware of or prepare for that you would never need to consider in a typical restaurant setting as a Chef?

If you will be preparing more than, say 3 meals, you need to ensure that your recipes will retain quality after freezing. You always need to be mindful of how reheating will affect the food quality and cook the food accordingly.

8. What are 3 favourite places/dishes you love to prepare?

I love to do risotto in my pressure cooker – the other day, I did a chicken and asparagus risotto that was awesome. I love Vietnamese food, although I don’t commonly cook that for clients. I love a good grilled salmon – I lived for a time in the Pacific Northwest and wild salmon can’t be beat. 

9. If you could prepare a full course menu for anyone in the world, who would it be?

I would prepare salmon for my son, Casey. We lost him 6 months ago and it would be wonderful to prepare him a meal he loved. 

10. Do you have a simple recipe that you would be happy to share with our readers? 

Absolutely! Every summer, I plant several pots of basil. In addition to using it fresh, I make many batches of pesto for the freezer. There’s nothing better than that taste of summer on some pasta in the dead of winter!

1 large garlic clove, minced
1/3 C olive oil
1 C firmly packed basil leaves
1/2 C freshly grated parm
2 T pine nuts
1/2 t salt
1/8 t freshly ground pepper

Heat garlic gently in the oil for a few minutes – don’t brown.
Cool oil for a few minutes.
Combine remaining ingredients in a food processor with metal blade.
Pulse several times to chop, then process while slowly drizzling oil/garlic mixture into the processor.
Process to a paste like consistency.

Freeze in zip-top freezer bags.

Personal cheffing is a great career! I get to do what I love while making my own schedule. And I get to make people happy, which is always a good thing!

Many thanks Terri for your inspiring story and for your Pesto recipe! For more info about Terri and great tips, visit her website at www.chefterristable.com


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Eat my Words – Chef Ben Quinn

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Introducing Chef Ben Quinn, Dad, husband, surfer and private chef in Cornwall. Ben has a career that spans the UK and Australia as well as a coveted role as a Trainer at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen in 2009. He went out on his own offering Private Chef services in 2010 and provides them in a non-traditional setting which would be considered a ‘food experience’ rather than just a meal. Read more about Ben’s style and approach towards being a Private Chef.

Ben after many years cooking commercially and then as a trainer for Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, you then went out on your own to provide true food experiences for people as a Private Chef. What was your main motivation to take that direction?

My main motivation was to give a service that I felt was going to be true to what I love about cooking. Private chefing is for me that great balance of service, food and experience that I craved to get right in a restaurant setting.

Your services include ‘Catch & Cook’ where you take clients out to fish for their food, do you do other non water based food activities also?

I also offer a ‘cook together, eat together’ service. This is a crossover of teaching and eating. A typical day might involve buying fish at market, learning how to clean and prepare the fish, then cooking it to perfection and finishing it off with a meal for us all to enjoy.

What is the most amazing/interesting or just plain weird experience you have had with a client when cooking for them?

Offers of marriage!  For me, as a chef, it always amazes me how interesting guests find tasks we do every day in kitchens around the world! One particular client couldn’t get enough of rolling pasta! To this day I still receive updates as to how they are getting on with different filled pastas.

Who in the industry is your favourite Chef?

I look up to chefs like Yotam Ottolenghi. My aspiration for my food is to cook simply with confidence in my ability and produce.

What’s one piece of advice you valued receiving in your career?

Love what you do because if you are going to plough 60 hours a week plus into it otherwise it would be a waste of a life!

What tip/s would you give to those who are looking to be a Private or Personal Chef?

Be sure you can cook and enjoy serving your guests, lots of chefs are fantastic at the stove, but no good front of house!

Do you still train or coach other up and coming chefs in the industry? If so what is the most valuable piece of advice would you give?

I often help friends out in restaurants and love working with ‘green’ chefs. I love to ask them what they eat at home. Passing on the importance of being passionate about food is the best advice I can give them.

Where was the last place you dined out and what did you have?

Porthmeor Beach Café. Black Rice. Cameron Jennings the Head Chef is an amazing chef and it’s a great location.

What is your favourite Local Restaurant?

No.4 in St Agnes in Cornwall. Nola and Adam are running a fun restaurant based on their passion. You can eat well year round in Cornwall, which is brilliant.

What are 3 favourite places/dishes you love to prepare?

  1. Sunday breakfast with my wife Sammy and my daughter Evie.  We do it together and anything they make tastes brilliant
  2. Preparing food with a pint of cider at home, in Somerset, with my brothers
  3. Sunday roast.  We are about to start a Sunday roast club at my friend’s restaurant.  To start with we’ll be serving local smoked salmon, soda bread and salty butter – just perfect!

If you could prepare a full course menu for anyone in the world, who would it be?

All my friends. That’s what cooking is about for me now. Get a good group of mates together, feed them, water them and you’ll have a memory that’ll last a lifetime.

Do you have a simple recipe that you would be happy to share with our readers?

I was shown this salad at the beginning of the summer in Greece. A massive perk of the job is getting to cook in amazing locations with interesting people.
An old lady made this for me all in her hands with no chopping boards.  It was a refreshing salad with loads of depth. I can’t get enough of it!

Salted Cucumber and torn fish salad serves 2 well!

1 cucumber cut into chunks,
Good pinch of salt
100 g cooked white fish (such as bream or bass)

30 g feta
Mint. (1 handful ripped up)
Olive oil splash
1 lemon

Salt the cucumber and leave to stand for 5 minutes
Tear the fish into bite size chunks and mix with crumbled feta, mint and a dress with a splash of olive oil.   Divide the cucumber onto two plates, pile fish mix on top and serve with lemons to squeeze fresh.

Thanks for your time. I would be interested to see how many chefs out there would want to be a private chef they can always get in touch with me.

Thanks to Ben for sharing with our readers his experiences as a Private Chef and a delicious recipe! Ben can be contacted via Twitter @chefbenquinn or via his website: benedictquinn.co.uk

Photo courtesy of Fieldgrazer Productions


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Eat My Words – The Critical Couple

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

When it comes to critiquing a restaurant’s food with intimate detail and with mouth watering images of the food you’re about to devour,  you can’t go past The Critical Couple, written by Nicole and David Williams. Their blog of the same name at: The Critical Couple  ranked #5 by Urban Spoon, is definitely worth a visit if you need to gain a complete picture of your dining place of choice. Enjoy this interview where you’ll learn to appreciate Nicole and David’s perspective on being passionate foodies.

From reading your blog you review food & drink with equisite detail including the beautiful photos you take. Each foodie or critic has their own style and spin for the reviews they do. What is your focus and style?

Our style seeks to take us out of the equation as odd as that perhaps sounds. While clearly a restaurant write up is a personal experience, including how you feel about the service, nevertheless, we believe people want to read about the restaurant, not about how our day was going or which friends we were meeting for lunch that day. Accordingly, it is the restaurant’s story not our own that we try to tell. With the photos, we try our hardest to get over to the reader the best representation of how the dish was. We want readers to share the experience, not simply be wowed about how clever the words are.

As the ‘critical couple’ have you always reviewed food and drink? What lead you to do this?

The blog was born of our passion for going out, eating, drinking, going places and all things related to that. When we started the blog however, we did so almost as a diary, a friends and family thing and didn’t ever think about it becoming something. At the beginning then we were freeform, and that included even things like book reviews. The blog now has a form and an identity centred around restaurant reviews but we still like to throw in unconventional posts from time to time also reflecting the fact that this remains a personal endeavour.
How do you choose a restaurant to review?

Very simply, do we want to eat there? If we wake up one day and feel like eating Italian, or seafood or whatever, we’ll think about where we haven’t been but think that we might enjoy. We pay our own way and if we are going to spend our own money, we want to enjoy it. Even if a bad restaurant makes good copy, we don’t make money from the blog so it’s bad economics. 

Who is your current favourite chef?

Without doubt, Simon Rogan.

How has blogging in general changed your outlook on food/restaurants?

Even when we first started the blog, we would return time and again to our favourite restaurants. The success of the blog has driven us to keep visiting new places. In doing so we have discovered two things. First, just how much great food there is in the UK right now, and we would especially note, it’s not always in London. Second, it’s not just about food, it’s as much about people. The majority of chefs we have met are massively hard working, super talented and genuinely nice people. We’re proud that some of them have become our friends.

What are 3 favourite places/dishes you just need to go back to regularly? (We’re thinking one of those may be Casamia? ;-))

Can we have four? L’enclume in Cumbria is in our opinion the best restaurant in the UK currently and we try to get there as much as we can. Brett Graham’s The Ledbury is in our view the best restaurant in London. We do love Casamia in Bristol run by two super talented super humble brothers (Jonray and Peter Sanchez-Iglesias) and we have even before the blog started been returning to eat the food of Alyn Williams (now Alyn Williams at The Westbury) time and time again.

What’s the biggest mistake a restaurant can make in your opinion?

Neglecting the importance of the front of house.

What do you think the London food scene is missing?

As odd as this may sound, genuine innovation. There is without doubt great food in London but it lacks ground breaking food. Where’s London’s El Bulli or Can Roca? London only has two 3 star restaurants and both have classical French orientation. New openings last year focussed on burgers, brasseries and steak houses. Even Bray’s The Fat Duck now seems somewhat dated while ‘new Scandi’ is now old Scandi. Awaiting then the next big original London thing.

What is your favourite food event?

We’ll be cheeky here, we’re organising a charity food, cabaret and music event called EatPlayLove2013 in September of this year. We would have to say that’s it.

What has been your all-time favourite restaurant experience to date?

Another relatively easy and without doubt answer: 41 courses at El Bulli. It redefines the food experience.

What is one challenge you face when reviewing food and/or drink?

Getting the ‘ordinary’ experience. It’s a small industry in many respects and several times this year with new openings, we have been recognised by FOH who had looked after us at their previous employer. That in turn can lead to extras from the kitchen and more attentive service. We have a disclosure box on our blog to alert readers as to when that happens but our value to readers is greatest when we experience it like they experience it.

Thanks to Nicole and David for an insight into their foodie experiences and style. You can also follow their delectable insights and fundraising adventures 140 characters at a time via Twitter: @criticalcouple



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Eat My Words – Kelvin Woo

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

What do you do when you are an expatriate settling in London and you need to find out good places to eat, exciting places to visit and learn out everything in between re setting life up in the big city? We recommend you drop by Kelvin Woo’s blog www.singaporeaninlondon.com While this blog is primarily about advice such as regarding living costs and or visiting London and its sights, it soon expanded to a second blog called  www.londonchow.com This is because Kelvin and his wife were also particular about food and interested in checking out a lot of eating spots. Enjoy our interview with Kelvin below where you’ll learn about his foodie passion!

What were the key reasons you decided to review food/restaurants?

When we (Wife and I) first arrived in London, I thought that it was a good idea to document down our experiences on a blog. It didn’t take me long to come up with the title for SingaporeanInLondon.com. Being Singaporeans, we are rather particular about food and seek to check out the eating spots in the immediate vicinity. It wasn’t long before I did short write ups on those on the website. Since we have to eat, I might as well write about it, right?

After awhile, a reader commented that we actually eat out quite a bit so it occurred to me that I should really host the reviews on a seperate website and LondonChow.com was born.

How do you choose a restaurant to review?

In the initial years, it’s really about where we happen to be at mealtimes. The Wife began reading restaurant reviews on Times and that became our defacto guide on where to check out next. It still is.

Others are recommended by friends and acquaintances. Those are trickier; the person who recommends it would look forward to my post about it on LondonChow. It does get a tad awkward if it turns out not to be a good one.

Since 2010, I have received quite a number of invitations from PR firms engaged by restaurants. I go for those that sounds interesting and doesn’t just involve cocktails (I can’t really hold my liquor). To be honest, such meals aren’t the most comfortable. Some have staff hovering over us, explaining every single ingredient going into the dish. I tend to be more conscious about taking notes and photographing the dishes for meals that I have been invited to. It does take the joy out of eating.

Who is your current favourite chef?

No one comes to mind at the moment. I was quite taken with Rick Stein when he did his South Asian tour some time back. It did bring back some memories of the food back home but I was sorely disappointed when he decided to skip Singapore in that segment. Nigel Slator maybe. He’s not exactly a chef but We adore his series on BBC where he prepares simple meals using leftover ingredients. I heard that he writes beautifully as well though I have yet to purchase his receipe books. Heston Blumenthal comes a close second. His menu at Fat Duck is a treat and I’d recommend it without hesitation. It’s just one of those things that you have to try at least once.   

Most underrated Local Restaurant?

This is a tough one. The ones that I frequent have their fair share of regular customers. I used to go to an Italian delicatessen by the name of Saponara at Prebend Street in Islington. Brothers Marco and Vincenzo run the little setup and are always friendly when we drop by. While it is not a gourmet destination, it is an easy place to eat in. They have also introduced a pizza menu some time back and is proving to be rather popular. 

How has blogging in general changed your outlook on food/restaurants?

I have come to realise that the ingredients’ freshness is the key to any good dish. Also, the entire dining experience is much more than the food on the table. It’s really the people you dine with, the service and whether you got off the correct side of the bed that day. Oh, and your expectations as well.

What are 3 favourite places/dishes you just need to go back to regularly?

1. Corn fritters @ Salvation Jane

This brunch item is a crowdpleaser. With a bit of everything, it fills you up and actually is healthy. A welcomed change to the grease that comes with Sunday roasts.

2. Char kuay teow @ Sedap

Sedap manages to replicate the sought after ‘smokey’ taste in the stirfry flat noodles – one of my favourite childhood dishes. The portion has shrunken quite a bit over the years though.  

3. Meze @ Hazev’s cafe

While I like the set lunches at Canary Wharf’s Hazev, its adjoining cafe’s meze selection is the real deal. It offers a fair bit of variety and the place is quiet enough for a chat over lunch as well. 

What’s the biggest mistake a restaurant can make in your opinion?

Trying to do too many things at the same time. Just concentrate on a couple of dishes that the kitchen is good at and every single time I think of having those, the restaurant will come to mind. 

One more if I may would be thinking that location is secondary. Morgan M is a prime example. We checked out the Michelin starred resturant when it first opened at the north end of Liverpool Road near to Highbury & Islington station. While it wasn’t mind blowing, it was decent. If you are familiar with the area, you would be asking what a full service restaurant (Michelin starred or not) is doing there. It did survive for some time before relocating to the City though.   

What do you think the London food scene is missing?

I like to tell anyone who cares to listen that London has the best of everything in the culinary world. That is the chief benefit of being a melting cultural pot. Regardless of where you come from, the first thing you do is to seek out the food that you grow up eating. If you can’t find it, you would try to recreate it. That’s everyone’s basic instinct. As a result, London isn’t lacking when it comes to the variety of food. 

There are some things that you don’t realise until you have a kid. Getting a babysitter for a meal out can be rather prohibitive. If I have to pick, I would say that London can have more toddler friendly eating places. Having some highchairs stacked in a corner just doesn’t cut it these days. I am talking about decent food as well. We got rather bored with Giraffe after some time. Blue Legume comes close but if only there are more independent restaurants like that.  

Who’s your favourite food writer/critic?

Ironically, food critics (I’m talking about those who are actually paid to do that) and food bloggers don’t really see eye to eye most of the times.

But without a doubt, Giles Coren over at the Times stands at the top of my list. I cannot stand critics who goes on and on about the food. True, they should ultimately be writing about the food but you can only say so much about a slab of steak. Coren, on the other hand, writes about the most mandune stuff. Then right at the end of the piece, he sort of mention the food. The thing is, despite that, you do get a gist of how the restaurant is like, and which to avoid. I would recommend his How to Eat Out. I love the part that he wrote about his father’s penchant for Chinese dimsum. There is even a short piece of advice from Coren on where to bring a girl out on the first date. Very pragmatic. 

What has been your all-time favourite restaurant experience to date?

One of the best meals that I have is at Hawksmoor at Seven Dials. It was out first proper restaurant meal after we had the kid. The staff were marvellous when she threw a tantrum and we were able to have our burgers in peace. It helped that Hawksmoor’s burgers aren’t too bad either. Ditto for its triple cooked chips.

Thanks Kelvin some great recommendations and thoughts about eating and dining in London. If you enjoyed Kelvin’s interview you can also follow him via Twitter @london_chow or Facebook

Posted by Mise En Place Private Chef Recruitment


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Eat My Words – Luiz Hara

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

This week we interview Luiz Hara the blogger behind The London Foodie. Luiz was a former banker turned food writer and trained Cordon Bleu Chef! Read below about Luiz’s transition into the world of gastronomic delights! You can also follow Luiz on Twitter: @thelondonfoodie  Instagram: thelondonfoodie, Facebook: thelondonfoodie and Pinterest: thelondonfoodie

From reading your blog you moved from a corporate banking career to food. Can you explain to our readers what were the key reasons you decided to take a bold step and change careers completely?

I have always been interested in working the food industry, but I didn’t have the confidence in my early adult years to take that interest to a professional level.  After years in finance and investment banking, and facing a big birthday, I decided it was time to take the plunge and pursue this interest professionally.  I had been planning the move for around 5 years before leaving the City.  Given that work takes up over half anyone’s waking life, I decided it was time to devote myself to a career I felt passionate about. When the time came in 2011, it was difficult to leave the security of a stable job I had long trained for, with a good income, but I am now very glad to have made that decision. 

You have not only taken on the task of being a serious foodie and writing about it but you also trained to be a Cordon Bleu trained Chef! So if there was a title of you, combining the two into their own special ‘recipe’ what would the name be? Or what would be your most prominent title?

Writing as The London Foodie, I would say I am a food writer who can cook. One complements the other – as a trained chef, my understanding of food and cookery, and therefore my ability to write knowledgeably about food has improved.  Equally, as a writer, I get to visit restaurants all over London, which in turn has helped me to raise my game as a supperclub host and chef.   

How do you choose a restaurant to review?

I am not particularly interested in newly opened or expensive restaurants, but am equally happy reviewing a good Italian pizzeria, a dim sum venue or a Michelin-starred restaurant.  I want to find good examples of whatever restaurant style or cuisine I will be featuring, where the chef himself or herself actually cooks the food served rather than spends their time on TV shows.  

Who is your current favourite chef?

Nuno Mendes of Viajante.  I have known Nuno for years, since I first went to his Loft Project supperclub in Hackney.  I have been lucky enough to dine at Viajante on a number of occasions since then. I find his food innovative, creative and very sophisticated.

Most underrated Local Restaurant?

I love Saponara, a local Italian delicatessen and pizzeria in Prebend Street, Islington, serving up what I think is the best pizza in London, with a fine Italian wine selection. It has been serving its local clientèle for years, and I go there often.

How has blogging in general changed your outlook on food/restaurants?

Blogging has broadened my horizons considerably.  Whereas I used to have a few favourite food haunts I would visit regularly, now I need to visit a variety of venues. Blogging has also made me much more observant than I used to be of skills in restaurant design, cooking, value, atmosphere and front of house service.

What are 3 favourite places/dishes you love to prepare and or love at another restaurant?

Japanese and French cooking are close to my heart.  For my recent series of Japanese supperclubs, I created a summer dish of cold green tea noodles served in an ultra-chilled dashi broth topped with deep-fried aubergines and chillies. A perfect dish for a hot summer’s day.

I love unusual sushi combinations. My latest creation, Seabass Sushi Gangnam Style, combines sushi rice and seabass sashimi with elements of Korean cooking including white radish and carrot sweet pickles, wilted spinach in sesame oil, and a garlic and soy sauce jus.

Another favourite is a French classic I love to prepare whenever I can – Pomme Dauphine.  This is a mixture of mashed potatoes and choux pastry, eggs and butter. These are made into dumplings and deep-fried.  Like profiteroles, the dumplings puff up, with a crispy choux exterior, and a light, deliciously fluffy potato centre. They’re great to accompany a main dish with a rich creamy sauce, to soak up all the goodness!

What’s the biggest mistake a restaurant can make in your opinion?

Stop trying to improve.

What do you think the London food scene is missing?

A more continental approach to drinking or in other words partnering small affordable appetizers with drinks. Much as I love pork scratchings with my pint, I also love going to Spain, Portugal or Italy, where I will routinely be served a flavoursome local snack with a glass of wine or beer.

Who’s your favourite food writer/critic?

Jay Rayner.  He’s an entertaining writer, equally at home celebrating a hot chilli dish in a neighbourhood Asian restaurant as critiquing the most stellar chefs.

What has been your all-time favourite restaurant experience to date?

Three Michelin starred Martin Berasategui in San Sebastian, Spain. I was lucky enough to go there for lunch a couple of months ago, and have his tasting menu with accompanying Spanish wine flight.   This was an epic feast, with astonishing culinary skill and exquisite presentation.

Do you have a simple recipe that you would be happy to share with our readers?

I have just made some Avocado Ice Cream, it couldn’t be simpler to prepare. Add 340g avocado flesh, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 340ml whole milk, 120g sugar and 240ml double cream in a food prcessor and blend until smooth. Process the mixture in an ice cream maker for 45 mins. For a firmer texture, you can freeze it for a couple of hours before serving, and voila!

Thanks for the interview and receipe Luiz!

Posted By Mise En Place Hospitality Recruitment


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