Chef Name: David Vidal
Title: Senior Sous Chef
How old were you when you started cooking professionally?
I was 17 years old when I started to cook professionally. I was attending the Institute of Tourism Studies in Malta and got a job as a cook in a seaside restaurant.
What’s your earliest and fondest first memory of food?
One of my earliest and fondest memories of food was when my grandpa used to come and visit us in Canada. He used to be a baker in Malta. So every morning when we woke up he would be baking bread in our kitchen for the whole family.
Which chefs inspire you most and why?
There are so many, but two who come to mind are Fredrik Borgskog and Antonio Bachour. Two people who are humble and easy to talk to, use really good flavours and have great finishing.
What are your two favourite cookbooks and why?
I have quite a lot of books so it’s hard to choose just two.
One recent book I like is The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller. I love the look of the food, and the stories. I also like Mexico from the Inside Out by Enrique Olvera – I really like Mexican food and it’s a book that gives me lots of inspiration.
Which two ingredients could you not live without?
Chocolate is an easy choice. I love anything with chocolate and also love creating things with it. Basil would be the other, it’s something I really enjoy using in both sweet and savoury dishes.
What is your favourite comfort food to cook at home?
My favourite comfort food to cook is lasagne.
If you could eat at any Michelin star restaurant in the world today, where would it be and why?
Pujol. The food looks amazing and super clean dishes, also because I love Mexican food.
And who would you take as your guest?
My wife Johanna and kids Leo and Ella.
What do you look for in a good chef?
The thing I look for most is a willingness to learn, but also that they are consistent and open minded.
What advice would you give to chefs starting their career paths now?
Always work somewhere where there are people who inspire you.
How has the pandemic affected your restaurant? And how did you adapt and evolve throughout?
The pandemic has really hit or restaurant hard over the past year or so, just like all other restaurants. We’ve had to adapt in everything we do at the restaurant, from procedures to the type of dishes we cook, so that the dishes are more adaptable to take-away or at-home dining.
Can you share any wisdom from the experience so far with others? Have you changed? Has your cooking changed?
It’s been really hard to keep both the staff and myself motivated at times during the past year, but you can’t give up and need to just pull through, as I’m sure there is a light at the end of the tunnel. So you just need to be patient. I don’t really think I’ve changed as a person so much, and not so sure my cooking has either, as I try to always change and find new things.
Chef David Vidal is a Senior Sous Chef at Restaurant Laholmen
Address: Scandic Laholmen ,Laholmen 1, Strömstad, Sweden
Telephone: +46 (0) 526 197 00