17 May 2018

Q & A with Gary Heffer

How long have you been cooking and what made you decide to be a chef?

I have been cooking since the age of 15, 20 years ago!! My mum is an amazing home cook and she learnt her talents from her mum (my nan), she was a phenomenal cook, always cooking and baking. One of my uncles was also a chef in the forces and later owned a restaurant. The combination of these 3 rubbed off on me!


Can you talk us through your style of cooking?

I was classically trained at Norwich City college in the late 1990’s but I am constantly learning new cooking techniques with new ingredients and equipment. More recently I have also used the Internet and social media as it’s a great platform for sharing and learning new techniques.


Which chef has influenced you most during your career?

At the start of my career, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall was a chef that I admired the most, but since the start of the TV show Great British Menu, chefs such as Tom Kerridge, Richard Corrigan, Aiden Byrne, Marcus Wareing, Daniel Cliffordetc. have really inspired me. More recently people such as Russell Norman, Richard H Turner and Christian Stevenson have added another interest


What are your favourite garnishes to use when plating up?

I love the freshness of a tendril pea shoot, vibrancy of red amaranth and the taste and look of a micro red vein sorrel. I love to mix these three for a garnish


What is your favourite product to work with?

My favourite product to work with is fish. There is obviously so many different species of fish and different cuts to use that you can keep it as simple as you want or be as daring as you want to make a dish


What does the future hold for you as a chef, what is your ambition?

My lifetime ambition was always to own my own place. Last year I was lucky enough to become a father to beautiful twins so my dream got moved to the back burner. I’ve worked for the Colchester Inns for 19 years and love what I do so much, so on that note I will continue to work my hardest for them.