Head Chef, Paul Evans, Mallory Court

How long have you been in this role?

I have been in this role at Mallory for 18 months.

What does your job entail?

To lead the kitchen team at Mallory to be better than the day before.

How did you get into cooking?

I chose it as a subject at school as I enjoyed cooking at home and always wanted to learn more and improve.

Do you think there was enough advice available when you were starting out?

I got great advice from my college, and it really prepared me for the industry.

How long did it take you to get to the level you’re at now?

It has taken me 14 years to get to the positionI am at now.

Do you think enough people are encouraged to teach at schools or go into catering, and do you think there’s too much emphasis to go into a restaurant?

Not enough is done by schools to help encourage a profession in the catering industry as a whole.

What do you like most about your job?

I love the freedom I get to create new dishes, and using the garden produce.

What would your advice be for someone looking to follow in your footsteps?Do you have any top tips?

Go to a catering college and spend a year learning the basic skills needed to work in a professional kitchen. After that go to the best restaurant or kitchen in your area and get your head down and learn as much as you can from the chef there.

What are you looking out for on a CV or in an interview if someone was applying to work with you?

Attitude is everything, stability on a CV and not jumping fromjob to job, but as long as they have the want/will to learn, everything can be taught on the job!

If you could go back and do anything differently would you?

I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reasonand I wouldn’t change anything about my career as it’smade me the person I am today and given me the best job here at Mallory.

Describe your cooking/ethos in 4 words.

Modern, British, garden, local.

What is your favourite dish to cook at home?

I love cooking pizza at home with my wife.

What dish would you cook to impress?

I love making a beef Wellington at work and at home on special occasions.

Favourite ingredient to work with?

Salt and lemon juice! I would be lost without both of them!

Favourite local ingredient?

Fosse Way honey is the best honey I have ever worked with.

Top 5 tips/words of wisdom for someone cookingat home.

  • Salt is your friend! Don’t be scared to use salt!
  • Read the recipe twice so you understand it.
  • Plan ahead, preparation is everything!
  • Buy the best ingredients you can, all great food startswith great ingredients!
  • Keep to the seasons and your food will taste better. If it’s notin season it won’t taste the best it can. Download a season chart from the internet and put it on your kitchen wall.You will know when ingredients are at their best.

Mallory Court

Leamington Spa, Warwickshire