To new readers of my blog, hi! Thank you for stopping by, it’s lovely to e-meet you! My name is Ria and I’m a self-confessed foodie. And I love getting to know more about fellow foodies’ which is why I’ve been chatting to cool bods in the restaurant trade to bring a new series of Q&As with people behind the scenes. This time, I was privileged to speak with Chef Chris Parry, who’s currently Head Chef in Residence at The Blacksmith’s Loft (see my original review here). Here’s what Chris had to say when I caught up with him last month (yes it’s been that long, I’ve been dying to publish it)! So, pour a nice hot coffee, pull up a chair and enjoy the read!

Hey Chris! Lovely to meet you, thank you for your time. Have you always been passionate about food? 

Great to meet you too! And, no, I’ve not always been passionate about food. But I have always enjoyed food and learned a lot about food from travelling all over the world in my early 20s. It wasn’t until around five years ago that I really discovered my passion and obsession for food.

What inspires you in the kitchen and how long does it take to create a three course menu (starter, main dessert)? 

I take a lot of inspiration from chefs on social media, most of which I am in regular contact with and try to bounce ideas off them. With menu writing it all depends. Sometimes it takes weeks and I suffer from ‘writer’s block’ and other times I can write an entire menu in minutes. I suppose it all depends on how creative I am feeling at the time!

I know what you mean about writer’s block, it sucks! OK,  so what is your favourite ingredient that you absolutely cannot do without? 

It has to be butter! I think most chefs would say the same! For that perfect steak, fillet of turbot, cake or vegetable then butter is paramount! Eggs come a close second though.

I’ve noticed that too, butter seems to be the ingredient of choice in the cheffing kingdom (James Martin is just one name that springs to mind). OK, so what cooking trends have you encountered this year? Any new ingredients you can tell us about? 

This is a tough one, I don’t think it’s anything new but I’m quite into burning food for flavour at the moment, whether it be a burnt hay and leek ash that we use as a seasoning for a BBQ pork dish, or burning oranges for a beautiful burnt orange sorbet that we use at the restaurant which has a great bittersweet flavour to it. It’s hard to explain if you haven’t tried it but it’s amazing, honest!

It’s mad you mention that, because on MasterChef last year, one of the contestants had burnt cabbage, and John went crazy for it. OK, so what would be your last supper?

Spaghetti bolognese, I make a batch every single week and can’t get enough! My kids love it!

Head Chef Chris Parry
Head Chef Chris Parry

Are there any chefs that inspire you, or whom you admire? 

Yeah, loads!! I take a lot of inspiration from top chefs such as Sat Bains, Rene Redzepi and Simon Rogan but take equally as much inspiration from friends of mine such as Jason Howard, Michael Langdon and Ben Churchill to name a few. There really are dozens I could name, I just don’t have the space here for them all!

Do you have any cookery books?

I must own at least 100! I always go back to the same books for ideas though, them being Sat Bains, both ‘The Square’ cookbooks and the British Larder cookbook.

Thank you Chris for your time, I know you’re busy so it’s really appreciated!

To fellow foodies, if you enjoyed this (why wouldn’t you? Chris is a dream!) then stay tuned for more Q&As with cool bods in the restaurant arena.