For the first time ever at Chester Zoo, we’re hosting a unique three day course to educate our junior members on the importance of sustainable cooking through practical workshops, led by industry experts. What we eat and how we cook affects our health and the health of our planet. Issues such as food sourcing, waste reduction and food preparation are areas all linked to food security and the impact on our environment.
Working with experienced head chefs, you’ll create a dish each day, culminating in a MasterChef style competition with an opportunity to impress our head chefs and special guests Adam Reid, head chef of ‘The French’ in Manchester, Brian Mellor, owner of Harthill Cookery School & Simon Radley head chef at The Grosvenor, Chester.
We sat down with Adam Reid to find out more about the importance of sustainable cooking, what inspired him to become a chef, and his advice for budding young chefs looking to pursue a career in the restaurant business…
What inspired you to become a chef?
“Basically, my mum’s home cooking and an unhealthy obsession with Ready Steady Cook the first time round!”
How old were you when you first started cooking?
“I did a bit at high school and messed about at home when my mum was around, but mainly when I got a job 2 weeks after finishing high school”
At ‘The French’, what is your stance on sustainability in cooking?
“We think it’s incredibly important, our focus is to create the highest quality food we can and that means sourcing the best ingredients. Invariably, sustainability is a major factor in that. We use suppliers and producers we can trust and if they have a focus on sustainability it’s a clear sign the product will be good.”
Do you take precautions at ‘The French’ to ensure you are minimising your impact on the environment?
“We make every effort we can to help reduce our footprint on the environment, we only use electric as we took the step to change to induction cooking units. Wherever possible we use local or British ingredients to avoid airfreight and avoid packaged or processed ingredients. For a number of years, we had a garden on the roof of the hotel consisting of 21 raised beds in which we grew our own herbs/flowers and small vegetables”
What is your favourite dish that you have created?
“It would have to be my Tater’ash. It’s a super simple presentation which appears very humble, but it uses the best Cumbrian shorthorn beef aged for 7 weeks, and just chopped as a tartar with root veg and potatoes cooked in dripping.”
What cuisines have influenced your cooking?
“I’ve had a lot of experience with traditional and modern French along with a new Nordic style which, along with other styles I’ve encountered, help to form my own cooking style. But above all, my love is for British food, it’s what I was brought up on, so it’s what I like to cook now.”
What are the first steps you recommend a young ‘wannabe’ chef to take?
“Take your time, learn to cook and do the hard yards…everyone’s in a rush nowadays but it should be about loving what you do and enjoying doing it.”
What was it like winning a course on the ‘Great British Menu’ (again) and getting to cook at the famous Abbey Road Studios?
“It was an amazing experience and I was honoured to have been able to be part of it, but the best thing about winning this time was that I went cooking my own food in my own style without compromising for the competition.”
This is a three day course taking place at The Oakfield 6 – 8 April 10 – 4.30 each day
Find out more about our WONDERFUL zoo and all of the incredible animals, plants and FUN things to do here. Or you can download our map to plan you day and find your way around when you get here.