Here’s cooking with... Jean Luc Desormiere from the Kings Oak Hotel in High Beach
PUBLISHED: 11:34 26 May 2015 | UPDATED: 11:34 26 May 2015
Jean Luc Desormiere, head chef at the Kings Oak Hotel in High Beach, talks of his whimsical route to the UK, cooking for the queen of pop and how the last place you’ll find him is in the kitchen at parties, well certainly if it’s at his home
Where do you work? I am the head chef at the Kings Oak Hotel at High Beach in Epping Forest.
What is your earliest food memory? The smell of freshly-cooked brioche, baked by my grandmother for breakfast.
What was your first ever job and where was it?
It was at the Brebant Hotel in Paris as commis chef and then chef de partie.
What was it about food which excited you enough to make a career out of it?
I think it was just simply the love of good food.
If you weren’t on the stoves, where would you be now?
Most probably still in France, teaching rugby!
Who would you love to cook for and why?
I enjoy cooking for anybody who enjoys the pleasure of good food.
How would your team describe you?
I hope they think of me as fair and good to work for.
Which is your favourite dish to prepare?
My favourite dish is a foie gras terrine with caramelised grapes and a sauterne jelly.
Who was your inspiration to take up cooking?
I was really influenced by my mum and my grandmother.
Which three ingredients are your favourite to work with?
I always enjoy using butter, olive oil and fresh herbs.
Are there any celebrity moments you can share with us?
There are a few. I have cooked for well-known names including Madonna and Duncan Smith MP, but at the end of the day, all customers are celebrities in my eyes.
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 Paris in France and I came to the UK to follow an English girlfriend who was blonde with a Mini Cooper.
At home — who lives there and who cooks most of the time?
I live with my wife, Fiona, and my Yorkshire terriers. My wife does all the cooking at home.
When I’m not in the kitchen I love nothing better than…
My greatest passion outside of the kitchen is rugby union.
Any kitchen disasters you can tell us about that you’d rather forget?
No, I would rather forget! But there was a time when the power went off during a busy Mother’s Day — not an experience I’d care to repeat!
If you could change one thing about you, what would it be?
I don’t think there is anything I would want to change too much. You are what you are, after all.
What is still on life’s list of things to do?
Life is always full of surprises, but one thing I would love to do is to visit Japan to experience Japanese cuisine and culture.
Can you give us three top tips for the kitchen?
Always respect your staff, be organised and teach your passion.