The Woods Foodservice Quick Bite series is a 10-second download from a top UK chef sharing what’s on their plate.
This week Head and Senior Development Chef Craig Purkiss, and Director of Food Austin Latimer, from London based bar and restaurant operator Barworks spoke to us about the high points in their careers, their inspirations and predictions for the next top food trends.
What inspired you to become a chef?
Craig: My biggest inspiration was my grandmother. The smell of her ginger bread and cake was incredible, I still remember that smell to this day.
Austin: I started in 1983 in a small local restaurant with a brigade of misfits and I fell in love with the whole concept: first bus in, last bus home, the long hours, the immense amount of organisation involved pre-service, the mania when service started, the amazing personalities you got to work with (some good, some bad and some totally disgraceful). I also love the creativity and instant gratification you feel every time a perfect dish goes out and the feedback from the customers is positive. Then there is the after service, the (anti)social aspect; late nights, stories, waitresses, a side order of carnage, mayhem! Read Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain and you’ll get the gist…. Work hard, go nuts, work again!
What would you say is the most defining moment in your career?
Craig: Definitely holding a Michelin star in 2010. It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears, there were many ups and downs. It changed the way I looked at my life, future and family.
Austin: Financially, running 6 venues at the London 2012 Olympics. Spiritually, working with highly creative, inspirational and hysterically funny hard-working people from all over the world.
What do you think the next top trends are in food?
Craig: This is really easy because we’re seeing a dramatic change at the moment, I would call it “the 14 allergen food takeover” meaning all food will be driven by dietary requirements.
Austin: Cooking with fire and wood, and veganism – especially concepts like the vegan bleeding burger.
What piece of golden advice would you give to anyone in the industry if they want to be successful?
Craig: Find a chef you like, persist and read the books. Try and eat at their restaurant, eat out and I mean eat out a lot, you will need to understand other food sectors.
Austin: Punctuality. Work harder than anyone else, be consistent, and don’t turn up for big shifts hungover. Be creative, have fun, otherwise what’s the point!