CHEFS LIFE: HEFIN ROBERTS

January 16, 2017

In the second in our #ChefsLife series we spoke to top development chef Hefin Roberts who hails from Anglesey in Wales. Hefin currently works at CH Foods and has worked at the Michelin Stared / 4 rosette Ynyshir Hall near Snowdonia and The Bull in Beaumaris, where he was awarded 3 AA Rosettes and took the restaurant up to 39th in the UK.

 

HOW AND WHEN DID YOU START IN THE INDUSTRY?

I took the usual route into the industry after starting out washing pots at my weekend job. Seeing the chefs working under pressure, the banter and the organisation of the kitchen was fascinating at the age of 14. How was this a career for these people, I thought! I loved it, even back then. Everything was done at a such a fast pace and I learned lots. I was hooked.

 

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE OF COOKING AND WHO OR WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCE?

The style of my cooking is not ground breaking and there’s no fancy word that would best describe it. Basically, its honest ingredients, modern cooking approaches with tidy stylish plating.

A lot of my knowledge about plating has come from being on the Welsh culinary team, seeing different styles from over the world in the competitions we go to. The cooking influence comes from everywhere, it’s pretty hard not to be influenced these days. Food trends are everywhere, it’s all about what works for you and your interpretation.

Cured pork belly, pickled watermelon, Boksburg blue & iberico ham.

FAVOURITE THING TO COOK?

This question comes up all the time, and it’s easy to answer. FOOD. I don’t dislike cooking anything, everything has its own little way of being cooked and that’s what makes it fun.

 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE FOOD TO HAVE COOKED FOR YOU?

As a chef, to be cooked for is a huge treat. There are a few favourite meals I have but just for someone to spend their time, knowledge and skills to create a meal for you is great. Even if it’s as simple as a roast chicken dinner, it just tastes and feels different and you appreciate it more.

 

Caramelised onion tart, spiced aubergine relish, roasted parmesan and teriyaki glaze.

WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON MISTAKES THAT PEOPLE MAKE WHEN COOKING ASIAN FOOD?

Common mistakes in cooking Asian food to me would be using inferior products as some are very difficult to source. Also, over using some sauces. Some Asian foods are extremely delicate and need to be treated with huge care.

WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST TRENDS YOU HAVE SEEN DURING YOUR TIME IN THE FOOD INDUSTRY?


The biggest trends I’ve seen during my time cooking that have stayed with us are probably the cooking methods and processes. For example, sous vide is now a stable requirement in kitchens and the use of indoor BBQ’s or liquid nitrogen to molecular gastronomy; these are the trends I like to see as they help the finished plate and encourage chefs to keep pushing.

White Chocolate & Lime Delicé with Pistachio Anglaise

WHAT ARE YOUR TOP FIVE INGREDIENTS WHEN COOKING ASIAN FOOD?

  1. Yuzu, it’s so versatile and such a better flavour than lemon juice.
  2. Wasabi, it has that unique heat flavour that has a long-lasting taste.
  3. Kombu. Asia would be a different place if there was no seaweed in the food!
  4. Kimchee; this opened our eyes to pickles and ferments, such an amazing flavour.
  5. Rice vinegar, it’s much more delicate than other vinegars. 

IF YOU COULD COOK FOR ANYONE IN THE WORLD, ALIVE OR DEAD, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHAT WOULD YOU MAKE THEM?

This question always pops up as well. Ok, either Rhianna, Cheryl Cole or Ariana Grande. And I’d serve up a classic roast dinner. 

400 Desserts

WHAT’S THE ONE KITCHEN GADGET YOU COULDN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

My Kenwood mixer, it’s so versatile for such a small machine.

 

WHICH RESTAURANT DO YOU MOST ENJOY EATING AT ON YOUR NIGHT OFF?

End of the working week it’s just nice to relax and head out to the curry house.

 

IN YOUR VIEW, WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST TRENDS COMING UP IN 2017?

Biggest trends for 2017? Well, Asian food will for sure be played around with, the flavours that come from the east are popping up on a lot of menus. Also, I think we will see a lot of small restaurants opening up from cultures across the board with the small plate/big plate style of food.

Sea trout, pineapple, pure quinine & lime






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