I first developed a passion for food at the tender age of ten during a trip away with my mother and our immediate family. I remember the one night we went to a fine restaurant in London for a meal. My mother’s only concern was whether or not I would be on my best behaviour, yet when we arrived all I can remember was how great it felt to be treated like a ‘little prince’. Astounded by the level of service (and attention) that I, as a bright eyed and curious ten year old received, I quickly got stuck into my food.
At this moment I said something to my mother that is still with me to this very day and indeed remains the butt of jokes at many a family reunion.
I turned to my mother and asked,
“Mum, why can’t we eat food like this everyday instead of just chicken nuggets?”
My mother smiled and promptly replied,
“Well Olly, if you want to eat like a king everyday, then I’m afraid you will have to work out how to do it for yourself!”
And so, I did just that…
At the age of thirteen I began work as a kitchen assistant at Les Bouviers - a well respected, 2AA rosette restaurant in my home county of Dorset. Here, during many an evening of ‘after school training’ I picked up the elementary skills for creating fine food. Yes, even as a teenager I was a complete “food geek!”
Under the guidance of executive chef and proprietor James Coward, I moved into the business full time at the age of sixteen. I remained at Les Bouviers for a further 3 years, whilst undertaking a modern apprenticeship in Catering and Hospitality which ran in parallel with my work there. I became involved in all aspects needed to run a successful restaurant (including front of house and accounts) but primarily my ‘home away from home’, the kitchen. On completion of my qualifications and a final year at Les Bouviers as Chef de Partie, I moved to London, to work for Gordon Ramsay.
Gordon Ramsay’s Petrus Restaurant – London – 1 Michelin Star (at present time, awarded 2 Michelin stars 2007) – 5AA Rosettes
Here, from spring of 2002 to autumn of 2003, under the stewardship of head chef Marcus Wareing, I headed-up the pastry, vegetable, hot starter and garde manger sections. My work took on a wide variety of disciplines across a brigade of 19 cooks, catering for 70 covers. It was here I began to develop my own personal style of cooking and this enabled me to branch out and tackle many freelance opportunities, including but not limited to, assisting in the planning and opening of the new restaurants, Fleur and the Savoy Grill. Towards the end of 2003 I was given the opportunity to work under John Campbell and Peter Eaton at the Vineyard at Stockcross, where I would stay for almost five years.
As a renowned 5 star hotel, The Vineyard at Stockcross is the only hotel in its category to boast a 2 Michelin Star restaurant. I have cooked and prepared the finest food at this level for over 6 years and this is the level of quality you can expect from my personal chef service.
I worked here as a Sous Chef answering only to the critically acclaimed executive chefs, John Campbell and Peter Eaton. Work at the Vineyard encompasses a wide variety of cooking styles, one I was happy to augment, develop and then teach to my immediate staff of 21 chefs and a wider staff of 56.
I managed, reorganised and trained all kitchen sections including a comprehensive re-working of my favourite pastimes and specialties; pastry and chocolate. I ensured the same standard of food across the board from the 100 cover fine dining restaurant, the 100 cover private dining room, spa, terrace, lounge, conservatory and the 49 bedroom, 24 hour room service, something which is generally unheard of.
It was here I learned the role of a 2 Michelin Star chef, often heading up the restaurant and kitchens in John’s absence. A core role for me was maintaining the 2 Michelin Star award through the continuous development of new menus, dishes and cooking techniques, introducing sous vide technology and pioneering modern scientific practices and principles of cooking.
In 2006 I became an integral part of the Chef’s Table. My work led me to develop the ‘Practical Cookery Books’ and DVD series alongside John Campbell. My endeavours involved much external and freelance work as far a field as the Californian Wine Institute, the Sunseeker Charters, parliamentary and diplomatic dinner parties and the Dom Perignon New Vintage product launches.
In addition to my work at the Vineyard I learnt to master the scientific art of Molecular Gastronomy, a technique used for the finest cooking, known only by a select few but revered across the globe.
As a chef with over 12 years experience in some of the UK’s finest restaurants, my promise to you is to provide a dinner party of the upmost quality. From the sourcing of the finest ingredients, passionate preparation and first class delivery to the complete, unique, bespoke, one of a kind culinary experience for you and your guests.