Q&A with Jamie Brown, executive chef at FORK restaurant

PUBLISHED: 12:34 15 August 2014 | UPDATED: 12:34 15 August 2014

Jamie puts the finishing touches to a dish

Jamie puts the finishing touches to a dish

Copyright Exclusive Hotels and Venues

Jamie Brown, executive chef at the stylish FORK restaurant in Sunninghill’s Royal Berkshire Hotel, shares some secrets

I grew up on the beautiful island of Sark in the Channel Islands, where if food can’t be fished or farmed we have to import it. This gave me a very high level of respect for food and its origins from an early age.

At 15 I went to work in the kitchen of pub in Weymouth, then at 19 attended Bournemouth Catering College and soon after graduation began work at the only local 5 star hotel. I joined Exclusive Hotels in 2002, working initially at Pennyhill Park under talented chefs including 2 Michelin starred Michael Wignall. A career highlight was working with the RFU and touring with the England rugby side for the Six Nations tournament, preparing and cooking the team’s meals.

My first Head Chef position at Exclusive was Head Banqueting Chef at Pennyhill Park. I moved then to Fanhams Hall as Executive Chef and from there to Royal Berkshire in 2012. My style of food is modern British, with an emphasis on local produce where possible. I keep my dishes simple and clean to enhance the important flavours.

I met my wife Kim at Pennyhill Park 10 years ago and have two children, Joshua, five and Jessica, 19 months. I spend a lot of time with the team and focus very much on the development of inexperienced chefs. Loyalty and honesty with a good work ethic are the most important attributes in up and coming talent. Having recently launched the restaurant concept ‘FORK’ I’m planning to continue to grow its popularity over the coming months.

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How would you describe your style of cooking? - An emphasis on great ingredients prepared simply to maximise their impact.

Who and what influenced you in your career? - Karl Edmunds, Andrew Turner, Michael Wignall, Steve Hubbert. The biggest revelation was learning to simplify to achieve great results.

If you hadn’t become a chef, what might you have ended up doing instead? - No idea, there was no plan B. Possibly the military.

Choose five (safe!) words you hope your staff might use to describe you. - Fair, honest, hard working, confident, passionate. (That’s six, but never mind!)

Are you a good dinner guest for those of us who are not professionals? - I am the easiest house guest in the world, a jacket potato will impress me. If I am out paying it’s a slightly different story!

Is there a tip you’d be happy to share with our readers? - Be brave, try your ideas. You will be surprised how many are great. Look for the positives if it goes wrong, then try it again. Leave pepper out of your cooking for a week and see the difference.

Do you have a signature dish? - Crispy Duck croquettes. It was not planned and they are almost too popular.

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To book: Call 01344 623322 or online at www.ehvenues.com/royalberkshire/food/fork-restaurant

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