Chef Name: Phil Clark
Awards: Good Food Awards – Metro Best New Restaurant Winner 2016.
How old were you when you started cooking professionally?
15 years old.
What’s your earliest and fondest first memory of food?
Probably when I was around four years old at my uncle’s beach house, where we would eat fresh paddle crab.
Which chefs inspire you most and why?
Tom Aikens – he’s such an incredible chef. The things he creates are amazing, he’s consistently thinking of new ideas. He has so much energy, travelling to all of his restaurants and still holding events and incorporating a good family life – I don’t know how he does it! The energy and drive he has is incredible.
What are your two favourite cookbooks and why?
Bistronomy – it’s a collaboration of Michelin chefs from all around the world and they teach bistro-type food using Michelin techniques. It’s great to see the influence and style behind each chef. I also really like The Fat Duck Cookbook by Heston Blumenthal. His food just blows my mind, the stuff he does is amazing.
Which two ingredients could you not live without?
Merlot Vinegar and Butter.
What is your favourite comfort food to cook at home?
Pasta and cheese. My whole family can go a whole week eating this. Simple and easy.
If you could eat at any Michelin star restaurant in the world today, where would it be and why?
That’s a really difficult question, there are so many restaurants worldwide to choose from. I would like to try Marcus Wareing’s restaurant, as I’m a big fan of his.
And who would you take as your guest?
What do you look for in a good chef?
Personality. I need to know if I can work with them. Our characters need to marry in order for us to work together in a small kitchen, which is what we have at Phil’s Kitchen. Organisation is also very important.
What advice would you give to chefs starting their career paths now?
Work hard and keep your head down. Be willing to learn from the greatest chefs down to the kitchen porters – everyone has something to offer. Also, move around every couple of years and don’t race to be a head chef – you learn more as a chef de partie or a sous chef then you do as a head chef. Learn your section and work hard.
Phil Clark is Owner/Chef of Phil’s Kitchen.
Telephone: +64 9 849 7741
Address: 479, New North Road, Kingsland, Auckland, New Zealand.