Executive Head Chef
Tell us your background as a chef
I started cooking pretty much when I could walk! After getting a degree in culinary arts, I went to Saint-Tropez, working as a private chef for a family. I came back home and got a job at Swinton Park in North Yorkshire, where I met Rosemary, before joining her in Tunbridge Wells.
Any favourite courses?
I love doing the fish and game courses. When I was at Swinton Park, I spent a lot of time on the sauce section, preparing meats and making stocks, which I absolutely love. I also enjoy the Indian course and Thai cooking, because it’s something a bit different.
How do you find teaching the classes?
It took a few years to get used to, because as a chef, you’re usually behind the scenes and don’t have any kind of customer interaction whatsoever. But now that I’m doing it, I wouldn’t do anything else and absolutely love it.
What’s the team dynamic like at the school?
Rosemary, Lee and I have a close friendship and good working relationship. Rosemary’s brilliant and we love her to pieces, and would go to the ends of the Earth for her. She’s the same for us – if we need anything, she’ll be here at the drop of a hat and make sure it happens. We’re a small team and everybody works for each other.
Talk us through your background
I’m from a little island on the west coast of Scotland, so grew up surrounded by fresh produce. I started working in a butcher shop at 14, then went to catering college, before working in fine-dining restaurants in Kent and East Sussex. I got a job with Rosemary, but left to get out of the kitchen, however she soon asked me back, and you can’t say no to Rosemary!
How do you find teaching?
Teaching is about home cooking, and I love seeing a customer’s progress and confidence build throughout the day. By the time they leave, they’re so excited and can’t wait to get home to start cooking. It’s those little things that get you as a teacher.
Do you have any top courses?
I love the breadmaking masterclass and Middle Eastern course, as we work with unusual ingredients and flavours that we wouldn’t normally use. I enjoy the macaron course too; I didn’t know how to make one when I started here, but taught myself and now do a masterclass!
What does the average class entail?
It has to be spot-on, so we do a lot of research before we teach. We practise the dishes as well, making sure we’ve got it perfect beforehand. It’s great fun to write the courses and recipes, and we still get to do the fine-dining restaurant part on the Chef’s Table, so it’s the best of both worlds.