Simply, slowly, superbly - Chequers Inn Brasserie chef Luis Blake
PUBLISHED: 12:26 20 August 2010 | UPDATED: 14:54 20 February 2013
Keeping Cookham Dean diners enthused is what makes it all worthwhile for Chequers Inn Brasserie chef Luis Blake...
How would you describe your menu?
Eclectic, Anglo-French cuisine, with a scattering of traditional dishes
Which chef do you most admire?
I admire all hard working, unsung heroes. To be a great chef you have to work extremely hard for many years, putting in unsocial hours in hot kitchens.
How would you describe your approach to food?
Keep the food relatively simple and use exciting flavours - but not too many of them. Cook it perfectly and present it superbly. Don't be overly fussy.
What are your predictions for the next food trend?
I think the 'slow food' philosophy is going to start to filter out to more and more diners. This organisation was set up to restore food traditions and increase people's interest in local produce, and to counteract fast and junk food.
What's been your best culinary idea? Seared king scallops with a lemon garlic and hazelnut butter. Marco Pierre White tasted my dish once when I worked in a restaurant in Windsor, and said he couldn't fault it.
How often do you change the menu?
I change the menu every two to three weeks. The approach is to keep our customers interested and enthused.
What is your earliest memory of a taste or a meal?
My earliest memory as a child was a huge bowl of moules on a family trip to France. Even at a very young age I had adventurous taste buds.
What is your favourite kitchen utensil?
There's only one answer - a decent set of knives, without which my job would be twice as hard.
Describe your signature dish?
The Chequers signature is again seared scallops, this time with a crayfish tail risotto and an orange, cardamom syrup. It's a huge hit with the customers.
If you hadn't been a chef, what would you have done?
I would given Valentino Rossi a run for his money in the Moto GP!
What do you like most about your restaurant?
I like the friendliness of the regulars and the interaction.We have an open kitchen, and it's always a pleasure to receive thanks and good comments.
What advice would you give to anyone interested in a career in cooking?
It's a long and hard road, but if you're determined, stick with it and be prepared to put in the hours, but most of all listen.