PUBLISHED: 06:30 30 June 2014
Why did you choose to become a chef?
With chefs in the family, I was always helping out with small events in our village. I remember at primary school, my classroom was right next to the cooking area. I loved making cakes and taking them home for my family to taste. At secondary school I was one of only two boys in the whole cookery class, so from the off I had something to prove.
What is your earliest food-related memory?
Making jam tarts at primary school. I thought they were amazing, but by the time I got them home, they were all smashed up and stuck together!
What do you enjoy most about working at the Theatre Royal?
Working with the brigade of talented chefs – we get on great, have good banter and most of us have similar interests. We all love cooking and creating new dishes, with the odd competition between us now and then. It is also fantastic to have the opportunity to prepare food for a wide variety of customers. As well as our patrons, it is great to cook for some big names in the entertainment world. I’ve made meals for everyone from Sir Ian McKellen to soap star Dean Gaffney.
What would you say is special about your menu?
Our menu is so varied, not the same for months. We change it with the show, meaning we get the most out of the season’s best produce and we can aim the menu to the audience coming to the show, which I think is something we are very good at.
What is your favourite local ingredient?
This is hard to answer as I have so many. I really like asparagus and the many great local cheeses. If I had to pick one recipe, it would be local skate wing with sundried tomato butter and fresh basil leaves
Are there any foods you can’t stand?
Cod milt. A friend of mine once tried to get me to eat some. It looked disgusting and did not smell good. He loved it though, dipped in flour and pan-fried.
What would your last supper consist of?
I would start with some Brancaster mussels, followed by Blythburgh free range pork belly, savoy cabbage, duck fat roast potatoes, apple sauce and maybe a nice Yorkshire pudding. To finish, it would be apple bavarois with jaconde sponge and raspberry sorbet
Do you cook for friends and family too?
I do a lot of cooking in and out of work. My wife Hayley and son Adam both have various allergies, so cooking for them is a challenge in itself. The problem is when I am at work I have all the latest equipment and utensils and finest quality ingredients but when I am at home I can never find what I need and often struggle to get some ingredients from the supermarkets. Hayley often moans at me for being messy as well, although I’m clean and well-organised at work!
Kemp’s Restaurant at the Theatre Royal is open Monday to Saturday for lunch from 12-4pm, and for dinner from 5pm, before a show. Tables booked for pre-performance evening meals are reserved throughout the evening so that you can return at the interval for dessert, drinks or coffee.
Norwich Theatre Royal, Theatre, Street, Norwich, NR2 1RL; 01603 598577; www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk