Here’s cooking with you… Marc Humm head chef at the Swan Inn, Monks Eleigh
PUBLISHED: 12:19 05 August 2014 | UPDATED: 10:59 06 August 2014
Marc Humm is the newly-appointed head chef at the Swan Inn. Here he shares his aspirations to cook for the world’s top chefs and the moment sweet treats slipped from the menu
Where do you work?
I am the new head chef at The Swan Inn at Monks Eleigh.
What is your earliest food memory? Making fairy cakes with my mum as a child, although my parents weren’t really into cooking. Then, when I was 11 or 12, Jamie Oliver came onto our screens and so I started to cook his recipes along with my twin brother, Simon.
Where did you train and what was your first role in catering? Simon and I both went to Colchester Institute. He’s also now a head chef so it can be confusing for people, especially when we’ve worked in the same kitchen.
What was it about food which excited you enough to make a career out of it?
I like pleasing people by cooking for them and seeing the smiles on their faces when they enjoy it.
If you weren’t on the stoves, where would you be now? I wanted to be a vet or a gamekeeper, but unfortunately my qualifications were way off what I needed to be a vet and the hunting ban was also introduced, so there was a lot of uncertainty around game keeping.
Who would you love to cook for and why?
It would be the top chefs in the world including Marcus Wareing, Adrià Ferran from El Bulli, The Roca Brothers and Heston Blumenthal. I’d be cooking for my idols.
How would your team describe you?
They think I’m a breath of fresh air. I seem to inspire them and they tell me I’m the most laid back chef they’ve ever worked with. I don’t believe in screaming and shouting to get things done.
At home — who lives there and who cooks most of the time?
I’m waiting for a house to be finished in November, so I live with my sister-in-law and cook for her and her family at the moment. She moans that I’m not home enough.
Which are your three favourite ingredients to work with?
Fish in season, pasta and micro herbs. Which is your favourite dish to prepare?
Asian salad with a soft shell crab. It’s particularly popular at the moment and it’s served with edible sand.
Tell us a bit about you at home — where do you originally come from and how did you end up here?
I’m born and bred in Colchester and now I live in Frinton on Sea.
When I’m not in the kitchen I love nothing better than…
Watching and playing rugby and reading chef’s biographies and their cook books. I also research recipes and eat at other restaurants for ideas and inspiration.
When I was little I wanted to be…
Any kitchen disasters you can tell us about that you’d rather forget?
I tried to cook a white sauce and I burnt it three times on the trot. I also managed to drop 30 panna cottas just before the beginning of service, so I ruined them for the whole of that day.
If you could change one thing about you, what would it be?
I’d like to have even more knowledge when it comes to recipes and cooking techniques. I’m always reading and researching to increase my skills.
What’s still on life’s list of things to do?
I’d love to climb a mountain.
Can you give us three top tips for the kitchen?
Don’t expect to have a life. If you don’t understand, ask, and ask again if necessary. Work cleanly and safely, as that’s the best way to be organised.