“10 questions with… Ronnie, group executive head chef”

1.     What’s your role here at C&H and what does it really entail?

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 I have no idea… Ask me again in six months.

The biggest thing for me when I joined was that we were inheriting an awful lot of talent from our previous caterers, which, just through circumstance really, was underused. Now we’ve given them back their empowerment and let them run their own kitchens at each one of our sites across London.

 

2.     What’s the best thing about working for C&H?

Variety. I do so many crazy and different things. There’s the restaurant side and then events and there’s so many different types of events that we cater for. I mean, no client is the same, so no brief is the same. It’s all very free and personal - food is very important to people, so it’s amazing when you can get that right. Especially with weddings, that’s just so special to be a part of.  Our aim is to get as close to restaurant standard for every single event we host as we possibly can. And so far, we’re achieving that. Which helps me sleep at night.

 

3.     Give us some Ronnie wisdom…

Well, if I was chatting to staff, I’d just say follow your heart and do what you want to do and what makes you truly happy.

 

4.     What luxury item would you take on a desert island

Chocolate. Willie’s Cacao chocolate.

 

5.     What book could you not be without?

My new vegan cookbook that I bought in Waterstones. It’s so important to look after everyone with the food you have on offer and diets vary so much. I always try and give my veggie and vegan dishes the same feel as my other dishes, so they look similar and I was worried a little while back that I hadn’t got there yet with the vegan offering. I have now!

 

6.     Chef inspiration?

Tim Hughes, chef director at Caprice Holdings.

 

7.     Worst job?

This is a bit harsh… Hmmm. When I was travelling in Australia, I had a job unloading shipping containers from Italy. It was just tins of olives, olive oil and tomatoes. I found it depressing so went to the pub for lunch and never went back.

 

8.     Favourite ingredient to cook with?

Wild garlic. You can overdo it though. The sad thing is, as soon as something is discovered or rediscovered it often gets done to death until the cycle starts again.

 

9.     Best meal you’ve ever had?

There’s two. I was fortunate enough to go to the opening of The Fat Duck in Melbourne. Don’t ask the story, but it was great. I just had all the memorabilia from that day framed for my wife for Christmas. It was a tasting menu so lots of classics. The whole experience of it was amazing.

The second was when I was travelling with my mate about 18 years ago. Went to Himalayas and trekked Kala Patthar. When we got back to Katmandu, we ate steak and chips. It was yak steak, but it was such an incredible meal.

 

10.   Favourite cocktail?

Negroni. It makes me a bit wonky though. Pat’s Saint Clements is amazing too.

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