Chef Name: Steve Groves
Title: Head Chef.
Three AA Rosettes.
Winner of Masterchef Professionals, 2009.
Winner of Chef of the Year, Foodservice Catey, 2017.
How old were you when you started cooking professionally?
16 years old.
What’s your earliest and fondest first memory of food?
Being on the Essex coast, memories of the beach, prawns and cockles and being in that environment with the sea air and the flavours that it conjures.
Which chefs inspire you most and why?
The Roux family have played a big part, as has Thomas Keller, Sat Bains and Brett Graham.
What are your two favourite cookbooks and why?
The French Laundry by Thomas Keller and Practical Cookery, because it lays the classic foundations of cooking.
Which two ingredients could you not live without?
Onions and pork, because both are very versatile with lots of flavour profiles.
What is your favourite comfort food to cook at home?
Cottage pie, stew and dumplings, beans on toast, fish pie and Sunday roast.
If you could eat at any Michelin star restaurant in the world of your choosing today, where would it be and why?
The French Laundry.
And who would you take as your guest?
What do you look for in a good chef?
Someone with the right attitude to work within the team, with a strong desire to really learn. It’s not always the most skilled chef, it’s the one that really wants it, and wants to improve on their knowledge and technique.
What advice would you give to chefs starting their career paths now?
Learn with the right mentor – someone who will help to train and teach you. Spend the time really learning the trade and skill set to be able to take you forward. Make sure you spend a good amount of time in the kitchen, because your intuition is invaluable. Get good classical training and foundation skills under your belt, because these will serve you best.
Steve Groves is Head Chef at Roux at Parliament Square.