13th September 2011

Interview with Paul Foster

Tuddenham MillWe chat to Paul Foster of Tuddenham Mill in Suffolk. An Editors' Award winner, Paul is The Good Food Guide's Up-and-Coming Chef 2012.

What does winning The Good Food Guide's Up-and-Coming Chef of the Year Award mean to you?
It is amazing, great to be recognised in such a popular and respected guide so early as a head chef.

What advice would you give to someone starting out as a chef?
Learn the basics, master your craft. Don't worry about culinary toys. Learn fish prep, butchery and how to cook vegetables, etc. Your style will evolve from that.

Paul Foster

Which chefs do you admire?
Sat Bains for how he motivates people, and for his palate. Thomas Keller for his food philosophies. Marco Pierre White for his passion, technical ability and drive. René Redzepi for his ingredient-led style.

Do you have a favourite local recipe or ingredient?
Pork is one of my favourite meats to work with, and Suffolk is pig county. It can be humble or gastronomic, it is so versatile. It has a lot of secrets but with time and respect you can find them.

Who would you invite to a dinner party for six people?
My fiancée, Chuck Liddell, Heston Blumenthal, Elvis and Ferran Adrià.

What's been the worst culinary trend of recent years?
I think the scientific approach should have been left to the boys who do it well (Heston or Ferran). There was, and still are, people serving poor quality spherification, jellies and foams.

...And the best? 
René Redzepi's ingredient-led style has made people think about the provenance of food, and challenged chefs to work within boundaries. It has been great for the industry.

What's your favourite job in the kichen?
Making bread is the most therapeutic job in the kitchen. I never get bored of the taste of fresh bread.

What kitchen gadget could you not live without?
The Vita Prep: I couldn't live without it. The best blender in the world.

What is your top culinary tip?
Never over-manipulate food. Concentrate on the flavours and never complicate a dish with too many flavours.

What most excites you about the restaurant industry today?
The diversity of cuisine amongst the top restaurants in the UK is very exciting. Also it is fantastic to see how much knowledge chefs are prepared to share with their peers.