Fabulous, flip-flop friendly
PUBLISHED: 06:30 01 September 2014
Archant © 2014
Why did you choose to become a chef? I was inspired by the chefs I worked with as a kitchen porter.
I was inspired by the chefs I worked with as a kitchen porter at weekends and in school holidays. They always looked like they were having a lot of fun.
What is your earliest food-related memory?
Stealing strawberries from my neighbours’ garden. I only ever got caught once!
What is the strangest thing you have eaten?
A raw lamb’s kidney. It was for a bet and not recommended.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Cooking in the paddock at Silverstone for the then Lotus team, with the Flying Kiwi crew. It was the night before an F1 Grand Prix, so the buzz was amazing.
What do you enjoy most about working at Creake Abbey Cafe?
The surroundings and beautiful views. You can’t beat looking out across the water meadows from the café and spotting a barn owl, or walking over to the ruins of Creake Abbey, imagining the hustle and bustle of abbey life and the kitchens there.
What would you say is special about your menu?
I’m inspired by local produce and hedgerow foraging. Our rhubarb and elderflower cordial was inspired by looking in the hedgerows when I was walking the dog. Also customers can buy or create what is on the menu from produce available in our food hall.
What is your favourite Norfolk ingredient?
It varies from season to season and includes Holkham venison and Norfolk mussels. Strawberries are always a favourite (not from my neighbours’ garden!)
Are there any foods you can’t stand?
I’ll try anything once but don’t like it when everything on the menu contains chilli.
Have you had any cooking disasters?
I once served mussels in a white wine sauce, which turned out to be crème anglaise and not double cream. The customer loved them and said they were the best mussels they’d ever had!
What would your last supper consist of?
Thirty-five-day aged, belted Galloway fillet steak from our butchery, dauphinoise potatoes, wilted spinach and a red wine and port jus.
Do you cook for friends and family too?
It’s my favourite thing to do when I’m not at work. I love having friends over and trying new dishes out on them and cooking with my children. Both of them really enjoy cooking.
Creake Abbey Café and Food Hall, Creake Abbey, North Creake, NR21 9LF; 01328 730399;
Creake Abbey Café and Food Hall is open seven days a week, serving breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea, plus evening dining on Friday and Saturday and informal family-friendly dining throughout August. The Food Hall includes a butchery, cheese counter, charcuterie, home-made meals to take-away, fresh produce and wine.
Café opening hours are from 8.30am to 5pm, Sunday to Wednesday, until 8pm for late night shopping and aperitifs on Thursday and until later on Friday and Saturday.
The site lies alongside the ruins of an abbey founded in 1206.