Under Adam Potten’s watchful eye, 1907 Restaurant, Bar & Grill at Brooklands Hotel has retained its two AA rosette status for three years in a row. Indeed, every restaurant at which Adam has been head chef has been awarded rosettes under his tutelage.
We recently caught up with Adam to discuss his impressive track record, and discover what drew him to the kitchen in the first place.
What or who inspired you to become a chef?
It was mainly down to my mum, as she was a chef. When I was growing up, she was always cooking at home which got me interested in food. My aunt was always making cakes for celebrations – and still does – so that sparked my interest in baking.
Other than your mother, which chefs have most inspired you, in terms of both your career and cooking style?
Marco Pierre-White ha always been an inspiration, not for his Michelin stars, (which are a massive achievement for anyone) but because he was never afraid of pushing boundaries to become a leader in the industry.
What was your first job in the industry?
My first job was in a local restaurant. I still remember my first day and being told to chiffonade three boxes of iceberg lettuce and then turn 6kg of button mushrooms for a soup. It was a real eye opener and I loved being part of a team. I knew this is what I wanted to be doing with my life – I was hooked from the beginning!
In terms of produce, what do you like most about the local area?
There are some amazing cheese producers in Surrey, and I love good cheese. Also the livestock that is produced in Surrey is some of the best in the UK. I’m proud to call Surrey my adopted home.
From this great choice of produce, how do you go about choosing suppliers?
I am an avid fan of British produce and food heritage. I love to use products that have a story behind them. I like to buy products that are different from the norm and have great flavours and history.
Which of these products would you say is your favourite ingredient?
Fresh berries. They’re such versatile little fruits that can add sweetness to anything. The moment you put a fresh, beautiful, sweet British strawberry to your lips it can take you anywhere! Whether its adding blueberries to a bread and butter pudding or using raspberries in the smoothest white chocolate cheesecake, using British berries gets me excited! I like to use them where the flavour is going to be used to its full potential and add a great balance to a dish.
Which section of the kitchen do you most like working on and why?
My first love of the kitchen will always be pastry; I spent an extra year at college studying patisserie under John Barge, and I would recommend to any aspiring chef to do the same. It opens so many more doors for you and teaches you things that you cannot learn on a day-to-day basis from the hot side of a kitchen.
There is something about baking that I just love. There is no other feeling that comes close to seeing someone’s face light up because they have just tried one of your creations. No matter how much of a bad day I’m having, when I’m “getting my bake on” nothing else matters.
And finally, do you have any cooking tips for readers?
Organise yourself before starting to prepare a meal. Write a list and break that list down into what may seem like ridiculously small jobs. For example, seal the meat before cooking and get butter to room temperature. You will find that a good meal will actually have 50 steps. 10 of those steps may need 10 minutes each and another 10 of those steps may only take 5 minutes or 30 seconds. You’ll then see that the special meal you are about to prepare is going to take you 2 hours not the 30 minutes you first thought. Write down the steps and then cross them off. Who doesn’t like crossing of a list? Its all about the prep!
For more, why not read our review of 1907 Restaurant, Bar & Grill?