Here’s cooking with... Justin Flodman

PUBLISHED: 15:39 15 April 2014

Justin Floodman from the Dukes Head, Bishops Stortford Photo by: Dave Hughes/Pinnacle -

Justin Floodman from the Dukes Head, Bishops Stortford Photo by: Dave Hughes/Pinnacle -


Justin Flodman from The Duke’s Head at Hatfield Broad Oak talks about cooking for a winner, his unique brand of ceiling decoration and how he wishes he could keep is cool when things turn white hot

Where do you work?

I am the executive chef and owner of The Duke’s Head in Hatfield Broad Oak.

What is your earliest food memory?

It would be enjoying family roast dinners at my great-grandmothers’ home in Lincolnshire.

What was your first ever job and where was it?

I began washing up at Don Luigi’s Pizzeria in Formby, Lancashire. Then I worked my way up.

What was it about food which excited you enough to make a career out of it?

I don’t like being hungry and I realised I was good at cooking.

If you weren’t on the stoves where would you be now?

I’m not sure about that one. All I know is that I wouldn’t be at a desk in a suit and tie.

Who would you love to cook for and why?

I would love to cook for my great grandmother, Rose. She was a head cook in a stately home and my daughter is named after her.

How would your team describe you?

Probably passionate and grumpy.

Which is your favourite dish to prepare?

It would be seared sea scallops on a plum tomato tart tatin.

Who was your inspiration to take up cooking and how do they affect what you do now?

Marco Pierre White. I now use the same methods I was taught while working for him at Mirabelle.

Can you tell us your three favourite ingredients to work with?

I think I would have to pick pork belly, scallops and smoked paprika.

Any celebrity moments you can share with us?

I remember cooking for Michael Winner while I was working at the Belvedere. It was always a pleasure. He would be in his home at Holland Park. 1pm sharp!

Tell us a bit about you at home

where do you originally come from and how did you end up here?

I grew up in Formby, then moved to The Lakes and then onto London. Once I had a family I decided to settle in the countryside.

At home — who lives there and who cooks most of the time?

I live with my wife and our two children. We live above the shop (pub) so on our nights off we like to eat out. We both share the cooking otherwise.

When I’m not in the kitchen I love nothing better than…

Sleeping and sampling the beer offered by my wife’s brilliant front of house team.

When I was little I wanted to be a…

Policeman. I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps.

Do you have any kitchen disasters you can tell us about that you’d rather forget?

I was once making basil puree in a thermo mix. I managed to decorate the kitchen ceiling with that one!

If you could change one thing about you, what would it be?

I’d like to cool down my temper, I think.

What is still on life’s to do list?

I would love to run a Marathon.

Can you give us three top tips for the kitchen?

Work clean, keep calm and always cook with love as the food is guaranteed to taste better.

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