Featured in issue 44 – March 2020
Who are you and where do you work?
My name is Jordan Bayes, I’m 24, and I am the head chef at The Chequers Inn in Thornham in North Norfolk. I started at the end of last year.
Where did you train?
I grew up in Northamptonshire and studied at Northampton College. I worked in Oundle and then went to Tuddenham Mill, near Newmarket, to work for our chef patron Lee Bye.
Who is your favourite chef?
My favourite chef is Raymond Blanc as I love classic French cooking, and he has a massive kitchen garden. I read his autobiography when I was about 12 or 13 and he really inspired me. I have met him once, and he is a very lovely man and so passionate about what he does.
What three ingredients are always in your cupboard?
I always have fresh, local eggs, Maldon sea salt, and red wine. Eggs are so versatile – vital in baking, for sauces and as a good way of enriching dishes, like say a Carbonara. I prefer sea salt to table salt and red wine gives a kick to stews -I have ‘borrowed’ my mum’s Le Creuset casserole pot and use it a lot at home!
What’s your foodie guilty pleasure?
As a quick, easy supper at home after work it has to be baked Camembert, focaccia, and apple chutney. It is easy to make, even when you’re tired, and really delicious.
What’s your favourite tipple?
Again, after work, I enjoy a pint of East Coast IPA but I also like a G&T now and again – and I sometimes have an Aperol Spritz, too.
Tell us a little bit about your secret weapon – your Josper
My Josper grill, from Spain, is my right hand man and allows me to cook directly over charcoal and oak. Holkham venison is a real favourite here in the restaurant and it tastes amazing when cooked on the Josper.
Describe a perfect meal
I love Norfolk lobsters, cooked on the Josper with garlic butter, enjoyed with my mates and family.
Where do you like to eat out in Norfolk and beyond?
I enjoy the White Horse in Brancaster Staithe for local mussels, and Pea Porridge in Bury St Edmunds, for its quality cooking and service. It is so consistent every time you visit.
Tell us something we don’t know about yourself
I’m a twin – I am 15 minutes older than my brother Ross. When we were younger, you couldn’t tell us apart. And I also enjoy clay pigeon shooting; it is something I have always done with my grandfather as we’re really close. It’s just great to get out in the fresh air.
What’s your foodie prediction for the coming few months?
The season will soon start to turn and we’ll see a complete change in produce – I look forward to stripping the food back and serving local asparagus with wild garlic, Norfolk Peer potatoes and coastal herbs.