29 March 2018

Q & A with Thomas Leatherbarrow

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

I started ‘cooking’ from an early age learning how to bake and cook in my grandfather’s restaurant with my mother. I decided to be a chef because I have such a massive love and passion for food and produce. The creative aspects especially how they allow you to be forever learning and improving, trying new things and pairing up new ingredients. Being a chef is my life, having travelled around the world more than once I have picked up and developed so many skills and techniques on top of the opportunity to study and master specialist crafts and arts.


Can you talk us through your style of cooking?

My style of cooking has taken a few different forms through my career so far, from high end fine dining to small plated and more bistro brasserie. My biggest influence in my food comes from Asia, south pacific, and Europe. I love blending and expressing multiple aspects of cuisines and style to create the best possible result and delivery of food.


Which chef has influenced you most during your career?

I have taken inspiration and influence from many talented chefs so far through my career. Eric Fréchon, Jason Atherton and Micheal Roux Jr. I would say have been the biggest and best mentors I have had so far in my career and to name a few.


What are your favourite garnishes to use when plating up?

My favourite garnishes all depend on the needs of the dish to balance the flavour and textures. All key garnishes all depend on what and how the dish can be improved further to bring the plate to a new standard. Edible flowers and micro cress I feel can have be simple additions that can make a huge impact on the final balance of the dish. There are such a vast range that is available to use with the tonnes of flavour they bring to a plate of food, and in some cases, can set then above the rest.


What is your favourite product to work with?

Very tough question; I would normally say chocolate or sugar but I also enjoy working with all produce including fruits, vegetables and meats. The list is endless, I am a big lover of food!


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

The future for me as a chef is something yet to be decided, after running a successful patisserie and bakery production company and having my consultancy firm still running now better than it ever has, I guess I’ll be on the lookout for a new challenge where or even with who that maybe, only time will tell. My ambitions though will be to carry on learning, increasing my knowledge and skill set, further develop what I already know and to maybe have a restaurant open in a few years.