Chef Chris Wheeler on his first ever cookbook
PUBLISHED: 15:39 10 September 2018 | UPDATED: 14:30 11 September 2018
Stoke Park’s chef has his first cookbook out, so you create culinary masterpieces at home to impress family and friends
Quirky and funny, when not in the kitchen creating his magic, chef Chris Wheeler can often be spotted swiftly striding the grounds of the luxury five star Stoke Park Country Club, Spa and Hotel, eager to get back to the epicentre of his culinary world.
He’s a busy, busy man and something of an enigma until you get to know him. Catch him one moment and Chris can seem as laidback as a ginger cat dozing in the sunshine, but an idea strikes and suddenly he’s a bundle of nervous energy, like a quivering brindle greyhound. There’s always something happening to spark this burst of activity, whether it’s creating dishes at Stoke Park or appearing on the likes of TV foodie shows Saturday Kitchen, Great British Menu and Sunday Brunch. It’s stood him in good stead in the build-up to the launch of his debut cookbook ‘The Ginger Chef Served Up’.
As Chris reveals: “The original plan was for the book to be published at Christmas and then somehow in the planning it became ‘Could you get your act together in time for Boodles in June?’ You say ‘Yes’… and then the work really starts, testing and refining them, sometimes still at it in the kitchen until 3am.”
Chris has had plenty of his recipes featured in other people’s cook books over the years, but he soon discovered that putting together your own collection was something else altogether. Beyond getting the ‘mix’ absolutely right, there was the task of translating from the industrial-cooking terminology Chris and other experts are used to within their world to a ‘language’ that can easily be followed in our home kitchens. It all had to be coped with alongside ‘the day job’ and family life, including his 10-year-old twin daughters, Vittoria and Vanessa, expecting daddy to come up with the likes of cup cakes for their school’s summer fayre. Well, who else would you ask?
Chris says: “We wanted recipes you can create at home but still had ‘the wow factor’. I was determined that for 99% the ingredients could be found in supermarkets. So a lot is about flavour, a twist to produce something special and presentation.”
The result is over 65 recipes chosen so that you can create at home dishes which guests at Stoke Park, and in particular the award-winning Humphry’s restaurant there, have been raving about for years. Sections cover starters, fish, mains, desserts and also include dishes created for vegetarians and vegans and gluten free options.
But Chris still wants to stretch us, so there’s a challenging fine dining option for each course.
Over the past 25 years, Chris Wheeler has been wowing guests with his innovative cuisine and incredible personality. From being the right hand man to Jean-Christophe Novelli, to heading up the kitchens at the multi award winning Stoke Park in Buckinghamshire, Chris’s ability to create exquisite, mouth-watering dishes has won much praise from both the international media and the many guests who have enjoyed his food over the years. In 2016 he was named the Hotel Chef of the Year (over 250 covers) at the prestigious Hotel Cateys. In 2017 he was appointed the UK Ambassador for the Quality Standard Mark Beef and Lamb Scheme and continues to raise a fortune for charitable causes.
• Eating out in Berkshire - Best restaurants - Whether you’re looking for fine dining, pub food, a romantic meal for 2 or a taste of something from further afield, eating out in Berkshire really has something for everyone. Here’s our guide to the best local restaurants and pubs