Inspired by a childhood spent surrounded by food in his parents’ restaurant, Ed always knew he wanted to be a chef. Here, he shares a little more about what he loves most about The Wolseley, his favourite dishes on the menu, and offers some advice for budding chefs…
Tell us a little about yourself – did you always know you wanted to be a chef?
I’ve always been keen on being a chef – despite my parents best efforts to put me off! They owned a restaurant where I grew up, serving seasonal British food; and our house was filled with cookbooks from the likes of Escoffier. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else!
Talk us through your approach to menu design – what do you think makes for a good menu?
There’s a few key elements, but I always think about dishes I’d actually like to eat myself. And specifically for The Wolseley, I also consider what options might be needed for a group of friends or family dining together.
Menu development is definitely my favourite bit of the job. It’s also a great way to develop and train younger chefs; it’s very rewarding to see those you’ve mentored moving up and creating their own dishes!
Asides from our main menus, we also offer weekly specials… tell us a little more about what inspires you to create these dishes and the processes behind them.
Seasonality is the guiding principle for our specials. We’re very lucky to work with some of the best suppliers at The Wolseley. When you’re working with good produce it’s much easier to develop new ideas – this could be desserts using new season fruits, mains with seasonal game or seafood and also things like English asparagus, wild mushrooms etc.
As for the creative process, I often ask my chefs if they have any ideas or combinations they think might work, and we work together to develop and refine. It’s a good way to learn and develop different skills beyond what’s on the usual menus.
If you had to pick just one dish from The Wolseley menu, what would it be and why?
For eating, I’d have to say the Haggis with Duck Eggs from the breakfast menu. It’s unique, no one else does it.
What I love about the menu is that we do refined comfort food really well. I would also recommend trying the Half Roast Chicken d’Anjou, served with a bacon and sage rösti, and a morel sauce for lunch or dinner – it’s a very tasty dish.
What’s been your career highlight(s) so far?
Taking the Head Chef position here!
You’ve been here for around seven years now – what’s your favourite thing about working at The Wolseley?
The fact that I’ve been here for so long and every day is different. I first joined The Wolseley back in 2014, then had a brief spell away before returning in 2018 as Sous Chef, and now as Head Chef I’m still being challenged every day, and finding new opportunities to grow in myself. I’m also surrounded by a great team, including my Sous Chef Sam and our Executive Chef, David Stevens who has been an incredible mentor to me.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to work in the kitchen?
You get out of it what you put in – it really is as simple as that. It can be tough, but you really have to drive your own progression and feel confident to do so. That’s where a good mentor can make all the difference too! Also, from a personal perspective I approach each day with a clean slate, so even if I’ve done something a thousand times before I still try and do it better, cleaner, faster.
And finally, when you’re not at The Wolseley where can we find you?
Unsurprisingly I’m obsessed with restaurants, and I also really enjoy wine (both to drink and learning about it!)… On my days off I like to go to places like Noble Rot, Bocco di Lupo and Duck Soup. An honourable mention must also go to Gordon’s Wine Bar, which is a really excellent spot to enjoy port, sherry and cheese!
To find out more about current career opportunities at The Wolseley and across the rest of The Wolseley Hospitality Group, visit: https://thewolseleyhospitalitygroup.com/recruitment