Here’s cooking with Luke Boswell
PUBLISHED: 14:03 12 January 2015 | UPDATED: 14:03 12 January 2015
At 19, Luke Boswell has just returned from a six-month work experience ‘break’ in Cyprus. His proudest dish to date is liver and bacon for his Gran and when he has a day off he loves nothing better than getting away from it all… and cooking!
Where do you work?
I am a sous chef at The Duke’s Head in Hatfield Broad Oak.
When you’re not cooking ingredients, have you ever felt tempted to grow your own?
Yes, I have always had a window box or bed with a variety of herbs to use at any opportunity. When I was younger I grew potatoes and tomatoes with my dad in his garden.
What would you like to grow for your dishes if you could?
This time of year it would have to be root vegetables, potatoes, leeks, turnips and other seasonal things.
Have you always been a chef? If not, what did you do in the past?
I started working as a labourer, gardener or handy man, anything for money really. Then I started at Harlow College as a chef and I’ve done that ever since, although I am still very young!
Which chefs do you feel are leading the culinary charge currently?
I’d say Heston Blumenthal, as I am really interested in culinary science. I would love to go to Australia and work with the likes of Shannon Bennett too.
Do you have a favourite restaurant you like to visit?
I have too many eclectic tastes, so picking out one is impossible. However, good food and value for money is key for me.
British cuisine often gets a battering — how does that make you feel?
I think we will always have this label. However, I’m proud of the fact British chefs produce good, decent grub, which is not too arty. There’s nothing wrong with that.
What’s the most memorable dish you’ve ever served and to whom?
It’s my own take on the traditional liver and bacon which I cooked and served to my 100-year-old great grandmother. It was memorable because she would always serve it to me when I was younger.
Tell me about a herb or spice you can’t get enough of…
It would be oregano. Having just returned from working in Cyprus for six months, this herb is used in almost every dish and thankfully it grows wild everywhere, so it’s readily available.
When you plan a new menu, how do you start the process and decide which dishes will make the final draft?
I take into account the seasonality and what is tried and tested on our specials board.
If you could only live in one country and use only their produce for the rest of your career, where would it be?
It would be New Zealand. They have amazing meat and it’s a fabulous location with neighbouring countries.
Describe a perfect day off for you…
It would be a BBQ in the middle of nowhere with beautifully fresh, local food to cook.
What is your kitchen must-have gadget?
A Sous Vide machine. It cooks food sealed in airtight plastic bags in a water bath or in a temperature-controlled steam environment. It’s an excellent KP (kitchen porter).
What’s the funniest feedback you’ve received about your food or restaurant?
Someone once asked if the chef was available to marry, please? We’ve also had — this soup is too hot!
As a trainee chef, were there any toe-curling moments?
Yes, in my first busy service at The Dukes I remember thinking, what have I signed up for? However, I was assured we would get through it and, of course, with expert management we sailed through it.
Is there likely to be a cook book in your name?
Well I hope Justin Flodman (boss and owner at The Dukes) will feature me in his new venture as I would love to feature Japanese fusion. Watch this space!