Quick Bite with Cieran Parker, Head Chef at The Copper Clam, Brighton

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 Chef Cieran Parker, from Brighton-based restaurant The Copper Clam spoke to us about teamwork, sustainability and experimenting with ingredients.

What would you say is the most defining moment of your career to date?

It has to be working with junior chefs to train them up with everything you know, and then seeing them succeed with what you have taught them. I would say that’s a major part of any chef’s career.

What inspired you to become a chef?

This would have to be my Dad, as he was a chef in the army. Whilst growing up I would always be having amazing home cooked food. When dining out at lunches or dinners, I was always intrigued by what everyone else had ordered and would have to try it, sometimes to my dismay! But that never stopped me, I would still be willing to try again after getting over the horror.

What piece of golden advice would you give to anyone in the industry if they want to be successful?

This trade is not an easy one, if you want to succeed you will have to push yourself mentally and physically. You will be working more than anyone else, you will miss out on events and not always get the time off that you want, but set yourself a goal to where you want to be in 6 months, a year, 2 years… This can be applied to all jobs, and just keep yourself set on achieving that goal one step at a time.

Also, it’s important to remember that you will be spending more time with your team at work than with your partners, and that you have to find a good level of firm but fair with your team because without them you wouldn’t be where you are.

What ingredients / trends will be big in the next year?

For me, working with shellfish means I can be very experimental with dishes. Using an oyster and putting different components to it without losing the delicate oyster taste, such as beef jelly and caviar, or champagne granita oysters, is probably my favourite thing right now.

As for trends, I would love to see more businesses and people reducing their plastic usage. As a seafood restaurant in the heart of Brighton beach we continuing to find ways to cut down on plastics. If everyone gets even a little bit more behind the cause, we could make a major dent in the issue.

Another trend emerging is people sourcing out more local suppliers and not using big wholesaled goods anymore. The quality is by far greater and you’re helping small independent businesses.