Richard Allen, Michelin-starred executive head chef at the Grand Jersey hotel, speaks to Janie Manzoori-Stamford about the honour of winning industry awards
What does it mean to win the Craft Guild Chef of the Year award?
It is fantastic to be recognised for the hard work that has been put in over the years - it means so much to me that industry professionals have chosen me for the Craft Guild Chef of the Year award. It has opened a lot of doors and I am meeting some great industry specialists on the way.
You were awarded 3 AA Rosettes at Tassili, Grand Jersey after just six months and last year a Michelin star. How important is this recognition?
Gaining a Michelin star for Tassili has really cemented the restaurant's place as a food destination in Great Britain and not just within the Channel Islands. It has assisted us in attracting an audience from much further afield.
Tassili has seen a dramatic increase in footfall since we won the Michelin star last October, which in turn raises the public's awareness to the dining experience.
Did your baker father encourage you into a career in the kitchen?
Funnily enough it was my mother that pushed me towards the industry, as I was firmly on a path to wanting to be a Royal Marine. When I was unable to join I found myself at a bit of a loose end and was encouraged to attend a catering open day and have never looked back since.
How do you describe your food ethos?
I like to think that we can source the best quality ingredients and present it to the diner in a way that they can appreciate, although they may not be able to recreate the dishes exactly. To me it is important that our customers feel comfortable and are able to familiarise themselves with the food. Ultimately I love creating food that is part of a journey which has a story behind it.
Who has had the biggest influences on your cooking style?
I have been influenced by a wide variety of things, from walking the beaches to my mother, who is a fantastic hedgerow cook , and all the way to greats like Michael Wignall of the Latymer at Pennyhill Park , who I believe is cooking the best food in the UK today.
By Janie Manzoori-Stamford
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