Find Julian on Twitter @julschef1 or email email@example.com
Where did you train?
I trained at the Savoy Hotel after moving to London from Brighton. I then moved to Raymond Blanc’s restaurant, the Queen’s Head in Weybridge, Surrey. As we have a young family – Ruben, aged three, and Rocco, aged two – my wife, Alexia, and I decided to move out of London to Norfolk where my wife’s parents live. And we have never looked back! As a family we love the county and, as a chef, I have built a really strong relationship with local growers and suppliers.
Who is your favourite chef?
My favourite chef is Alex Atala who owns DOM in Brazil. His food completely blows my mind as it is so innovative and visually stunning. I have to say he is definitely a massive inspiration to me. Single handedly, he changed Brazilian cuisine, bringing it right out of the Dark Ages.
What three ingredients are always in your cupboard?
The three ingredients I always have are:
Agar agar – a vegan gelatine. I love making gels and even sauces with it as it is such a fine powder that it never goes grainy.
Smoked paprika. I use it on everything from scrambled eggs to stews and marinades as it adds such a smoky depth of flavour.
Good quality extra virgin olive oil. I prefer mine from Sardinia. We go as a family every summer to visit relatives and I always bring a lot back. It is expensive but a hundred per cent worth it! It goes well with any salad, tomatoes and burrata with basil.
What’s your foodie guilty pleasure?
I love pie and mash but it has to be from the East End, served with liquor (a parsley sauce) and definitely not gravy, plus some jellied eels! I have such fond memories of going to watch West Ham play football on a Saturday, and before the match going into a pie and mash shop with my grandad and brother and having it.
What’s your favourite tipple?
Any craft Pale Ale or IPA – I really like what Wolf Brewery produces here in Norfolk. I also enjoy Guinness, and wine-wise, I really love one called Kung Fu Girl; it’s a fantastic Riesling, or else a chilled Picpoul de Pinet.
Describe your perfect meal
I love food markets. Pop in Brixton is amazing. There are about 30 to 40 shipping containers and each one has a different little pop up restaurant with incredibly creative chefs doing their thing. I walk around with my family, listening to live music and tasting all the different foods and drinks on offer! There’s no better way to spend a day.
Where do you like to eat out in Norfolk and beyond?
I really enjoy Farmyard in Norwich, plus the city’s market – there is some really tasty food on offer there. In Brixton, I enjoy The Shrub and Shutter and the Naughty Piglets, but Barcelona and San Sebastian in Spain are my favourite foodie destinations. I went to Arzak in San Sebastian for my birthday which has three Michelin stars, and it was mind blowing!
Tell us something we don’t know about yourself
I grew up near Brighton and actually played pro football for them until I got injured and had to retire. So I moved to London and fell into cooking – fortunately, it was love at first sight. I love everything about being a chef but, at 18, I would never have pictured myself in this profession.
What’s your foodie prediction for the coming few months?
I love pickling and fermenting, especially fruits and root vegetables, so it would be great to see more pickled and fermented produce on plates as
they really elevate certain dishes.