Dominic Stroud reports on the chefs to watch this year…
Being a chef is hard work; there’s no doubt about that. Creating delectable dishes, every day is a job that demands constant personal development, unsociable hours and a palate as complex as the Large Hadron Collider. While we mere mortals beam with pleasure over a home-cooked lasagne that didn’t destroy the kitchen, these chefs are driven masters of culinary excellence.
We have some of the finest chefs gracing the dining scene here in the UK; and a bumper crop of fresh-faced cordon bleus are blooming into view this year. You know what they say: “the early bird catches the worm” or in this case the next Michelin star. If you want to be ahead of the game and spot the next big thing, we suggest you keep an eye on these budding chefs in 2015…
Tom Barnes was the proud winner of one of the cooking world’s top awards in 2014: the Roux Scholarship. Already a skilled sous chef at Simon Rogan’s two-Michelin-starred restaurant L’Enclume when he won this prestigious place, Barnes went on to be promoted to head chef before jetting off to work at Peter Goossens’ three-Michelin-starred establishment Hof Van Cleve in Belgium.
Despite Goossens’ comments that he started off as, “a little bit timid,” Barnes took to all sections of a kitchen like a duck to water; a clear sign of someone at the top of their game. Very few chefs in the world can now match Barnes’ CV, meaning that he will almost certainly be making his mark among the greatest.
Ping Coombes and Jamie Scott
As the respective MasterChef and MasterChef: The Professionals champions, Coombes and Scott are in for a top year. Now that the majority of their media appearances are done, the two can really start to concentrate on what won them their title in the first place: their amazing food.
Coombes has already become an ambassador for Malaysia Kitchen, an initiative that aims to bring more of her home country’s cooking and culture into the UK, and has been invited on multiple occasions to work with Chris Staines at Allium Brasserie in her current home city of Bath. In fact, she’s very recently finished another of her popular Malaysian Street Food evenings at Allium, and it would be crazy to think that there wouldn’t be more, similar events in Coombes’ future.
Meanwhile, Scottish chef Jamie Scott is continuing to do great work at Rocca St Andrews. In an interview with The Independent, Scott said that his hopes for the future include continuing to cook on TV, publishing a book, and opening his own restaurant that would serve dishes that were “modern British with personal references”.
Gavin Kellett is on the road to becoming a seriously accomplished chef, especially when catering for hungry vegetarians. Having already won The Vegetarian Society’s Cordon Vert Cookery School Chef of the Future in 2014 – a competition that tasked entrants with creating an entirely vegetarian three-course meal – Kellett has now set his sights on the San Pellegrino Young Chef of the Year award. The outlook is good, as Kellett is one of the select few who have been shortlisted from over 3,000 applications. May his veggie-friendly signature dish of nettles with asparagus and garlic continue to bring this remarkable cook continued recognition. Until then, you can explore his food at The Manor House in Surrey.
The winning contender at the Young British Foodies Chef of the Year competition in 2014, Tomos Parry is a chef with more than enough potential to go out and open his own restaurant. So he went and opened his own restaurant.
In conjunction with Chris Leach, Parry is now heading up Kitty Fisher’s, a wood-grill restaurant in Mayfair. The critics are already raving, with The Times’ Giles Coren commenting, “the steak was so good, it made me laugh. It was a steak the way I always wanted steak to be”. Awards for this sizzling restaurant are almost guaranteed to follow, and booking a spot before the waiting list develops into an unholy length is highly recommended. Whatever dishes Parry and Leach cook up, plenty of people will be watching, and waiting to devouring them.
After facing off stiff competition at The Craft Guild of Chef’s 2014 awards, Bateman was awarded with the top prize of National Chef of the Year. Now, he hopes to mentor others to achieve similar success in cheffing competitions, as well as continuing to push the high standards at his three-AA-rosette-awarded restaurant. Bateman possesses a remarkable talent, both in terms of professional advice to his colleagues and his clever, considered food dishes. Keep an eye out for more displays of Bateman’s talent at Colette’s at The Grove in Hertfordshire.