UK BBQ Mag Summer 2016 - Page 40

Take sous vide, for example. We may use that to infuse, but we would never use it cook meat. I want my team to know how to cook instinctually, especially when it comes to smoking. Trust me, I’ve had my fair share of arguments on this one.

This strikes me as a particularly interesting approach, combining and encouraging innovative,

imaginative experimentation within a fairly strict approach to the actual meat cooking, over wood. I can really relate to this personally in my own food approach. Do you think important skills are perhaps at risk of being lost in kitchen with an over reliance on the push button gizmos so much a part of the modern(ist) approach?

In cooking, the foundation is always crumbling, as (both good and bad) trends emerge. But let’s not forget this can be a positive thing as it pushes the creative edge further out.

Modernisation of equipment is a good thing, for instance, when it comes to hot holding.

The departure for me is where you begin to pull the wool over your customers eyes. That’s simply dishonest, and you can taste the difference.

On the weekend of my visit to Shotgun, I happened to read an AA Gill piece about the need for Chefs to be taking a step back, in favour of a sense of the whole place, staff and atmosphere getting

it’s fair crack of the whip in the dining out experience. I remarked to my companion when we came to Kingly Street, how this appeared to be exactly what was going on at Shotgun; nothing too

Cheffy and a really good balance well executed dishes with the overall feel of the place, the drinks, the team and the décor. Is this something you’re keen to push?

The bottom line is, some chefs should be taking liberties and some shouldn’t with their cooking. And I guess Mr. Gill is the self appointed appraiser of who shouldn’t. God help us all!

Ha! and do you think the public will generally vote with their feet as a more democratic way of culling off those who probably shouldn’t? presumably there will be chefs who get the hint and those that refuse to!

There’s no hint, the message comes loud and clear when the house is empty. Look, chefs have been shut behind closed kitchen doors their entire lives. I don’t blame some of them for wanting to step out into the dining room a little more often. But that doesn’t come from an egotists position on the chef’s behalf.

The dining room is where the action is, and it’s where they can see how well they’re doing, enjoy their guests experience more first hand, and even chat with them.

More and more chefs have become owners of their restaurants lately, and at much younger ages.

It’s natural they’re going to trickle into other areas of operation.

Having worn the hat of chef and also now chef/proprietor are you enjoying being across all aspects?

It’s certainly not for the faint of heart!

Your menu clearly shows a love of all things pig, which I can relate to! but clearly you also care about how things are cooked and the art and craft of real BBQ. I know you have a trailer offset, and saw the custom smoker in the kitchens at Shotgun and I also noticed that the Southern Pride was a proper log fueled model. How important to you is it to keep that relationship between meat, smoke and fire at its purest, in order to turn out the best food?

It’s absolutely everything. Whole log cooking is the only way to do it right. We are in love with the craft of bbq. That’s the reason my guys show up to work everyday.

For a team of 8-10 chefs, at least half of them rotate around the pit. They are craftsmen, and they want to pursue their craft in the purest possible forms. For bbq, that means you’re cooking with a

live fire.

You get an Amen! from me on that.

I see comments a lot in on line debates in defence of gasBBQ about how people prefer well cooked food from a Gas cooker than badly cooked food from wood/charcoal. Would you say, even for the home BBQ enthusiast, that learning the skills of real fire control are fundamental