Meet the chef: Adam Smith

Adam Smith, the newly crowned Hotel Chef of the Year is turning heads at Coworth Park with his exceptional modern British food. His mantra is always ‘taste is king’

You have just won Hotel Chef of the Year, that must make you very proud?
I am very proud to have won Hotel Chef of the year at the Hotel Cateys; it is testament to the continued hard work and dedication of our team at Coworth Park.

Michel Roux described you as ‘one to watch’, we guess he was right! Was winning the Roux Scholarship another great career moment?
Winning the Roux Scholarship was one of the standout moments in my career and life! Unlike any other competition the Roux Scholarship is a family and once you have won you become part of this very special group who are always there for support and advice.

What inspired you to first become a chef?
I took a part-time job as a kitchen porter when I was 13 years old and very quickly fell in love with the kitchen atmosphere and the creativity of cooking.

A Michelin star before you are 30 is quite an accolade. Where do you go next?
I want to continue to learn and improve not only myself but my team as well.

How would you describe your food?
My food as British, seasonal and flavoursome. My mantra is always ‘taste is King’ – food trends come and go, but ultimately my goal is always to make food that simply tastes great.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
“Cook what you believe in and be yourself.”

Which chefs do you most admire?
There are many chefs I admire. I would say John Williams, Michel Roux Snr., Sat Bains and Simon Rogan have very different styles but are all leaders in our industry.

Favourite restaurants when you’re ‘off duty’?
Anywhere that has a good atmosphere, with great food and service, we are so lucky in the UK that we have so many great restaurants, with many different styles; it’s hard to pick just one!

Your signature dish?
My signature dish is the caviar tart with Cornish crab, yuzu and sour cream; a dish that epitomises my cooking style using quality ingredients cooked in a manner that allows them to shine.

Current favourite ingredient?
At this time of year quince is one of my favourites. It is so versatile and can be used in both savoury and sweet dishes.

Favourite piece of kitchen equipment?
Just a good set of sharp knives.

Kitchen soundtrack?
I’m a little old school and don’t have the radio on in the kitchen, just the sound of happy cooks rattling pans.

What would you have been if not a chef?
I would have loved to have gone into the law profession and become a barrister.

Adam Smith, Executive Chef, Coworth Park

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