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Chefs Get Personal

17 Aug 2021

an interview with Steven Edwards

Chef Name: Steven Edwards

Age: 34

Title: Chef and Owner of Etch Restaurant

Awards:

MasterChef: The Professionals, Winner, 2013

Sussex Young Chef of the Year, 2010

Michelin Plate, 2017–2019

3AA Rosettes, 2019

Hardens Food Guide UK Top 100 Restaurants, Number 16, 2019.

MasterChef: The Professionals, Winner, 2013

Sussex Young Chef of the Year, 2010

Michelin Plate, 2017–2019

3AA Rosettes, 2019

Hardens Food Guide UK Top 100 Restaurants, Number 16, 2019.

How old were you when you started cooking professionally? 

15, I did work experience for Compass and loved it! 

What’s your earliest and fondest first memory of food? 

I’ve always enjoyed eating but will always remember my mum’s homemade puddings. Lemon meringue pie was my favourite.

Which chefs inspire you most and why? 

Raymond Blanc, as it was a meal at Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons in Oxfordshire that made me want to aspire to that level of creativity. Peter Sanchez-Iglesias, after he did a guest chef appearance at the restaurant I was working in. He was truly inspirational; he looked at everything in a different way and I love the food he creates. Massimo Bottura – even though I only spent two days in his kitchen, he had a massive impact on me regarding how to create your own style and philosophy. Finally, Matt Gillan, as he was my mentor and taught me the skills I use today.

What are your two favourite cookbooks and why? 

Essence by David Everitt-Matthias – it’s a book I will always remember reading and learning from as he used a lot of foraged ingredients and was a pioneer in changing from traditional classic French cooking.

The Square Cookbook by Phil Howard. Phil Howard is a chef who really knows how to create flavoursome dishes. His recipes are indulgent and rich, but ultimately taste live heaven on earth.

Which two ingredients could you not live without?

Butter and Salt.

What is your favourite comfort food to cook at home?

I love pizza, and the more cheese the better.

If you could eat at any Michelin star restaurant in the world today, where would it be and why? 

Geranium, in Denmark. I really love Nordic food and would love the opportunity to go and experience Rasmus Kofoed’s food.

And who would you take as your guest?

Gordon Ramsay as I have never met him and think he could share some interesting stories.

What do you look for in a good chef?

The ability to want to learn, develop and progress.

What advice would you give to chefs starting their career paths now? 

Write everything down that you learn and taste everything that you cook.

How has the pandemic affected your restaurant? And how did you adapt and evolve throughout?

The pandemic has been disastrous for my restaurant, likewise for others. However, when we were allowed to open the support from our guests was bigger than ever. Even with social distancing we were breaking our own monthly records on covers, the demand was so high. We have used the downtime to look at the overall direction of the business. We decided against finishing-at-home boxes that have been popular, to instead focus on investment and expansion into the group. We have used this time to make many positive changes that will be revealed as we begin to reopen.  

Can you share any wisdom from the experience so far with others? Have you changed? Has your cooking changed?

This experience has been one that I hope I never have to experience again from a restaurant point of view. I have learnt a lot over the last year though, especially the importance of family which is often secondary when working long hours in our industry. I have really enjoyed the time spent with them and I am sure I will look back at the pandemic as a time that brought us closer together. 

Chef Steven Edwards is Chef/Owner of Restaurant Etch and Steven Edwards Riverhouse.

Website: www.steven-edwards.co.uk

Address: 216 Church Rd, Brighton, Hove

Telephone: +44 1273 227485

Instagram: @stevenxedwards & @etchfood

Twitter: @EtchFood

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