Here’s cooking with you

PUBLISHED: 12:27 16 September 2014 | UPDATED: 12:27 16 September 2014




Ed Campbell has recently joined The Anchor Inn at Nayland as head chef. Here he talks about returning to his former workplace, creating a mash-up for a musical god and the kitchen moment when it all went black

Where do you work?

I am head chef at The Anchor Inn at Nayland.

What is your earliest food memory?

Cooking shepherd’s pie with my nan.

What was your first ever job and where was it?

It was here at The Anchor Inn. I started working here as a commis chef and worked myself up to senior chef while I was studying at the Colchester Institute.

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

It’s the only thing I’m really good at.

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

Probably working in IT somewhere.

Who would you love to cook for and why?

Firstly my parents. Then Carl Shillingford, the former head chef here and the guy who has taught me everything I know, and Thomas Kerridge, I’m big a fan of his. Finally, if it were possible, Nelson Mandella, just because he was so awesome.

How would your team describe you?

I hope they’d describe me as lenient, but not necessarily as easy-going. However, I don’t believe in shouting at people to get them to work hard for you.

Which is your favourite dish to prepare?

Sushi — I’m a big fan.

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

That would be my dad cooking the Sunday roast initially and then it would definitely be Carl Shillingford. I have also been influenced by Marco Pierre White and also Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall. 
I really love what he’s about and I’ve eaten at River Cottage too.

Which are your three favourite ingredients to work with?

Samphire, greengages and lamb.

Any celebrity moments you can share with us?

I’ve met Raymond Blanc and 
I also met Tom Jones and shook his hand. I cooked mashed potato (or pomme puree) for him.

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

I live with my fiancé, Anett Antal, and she does most of the cooking. She also works in the industry, but has better hours than I do.

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

Foraging and I like to swim too. I’ve even swum here in the river which runs past The Anchor Inn. Mind you, it wasn’t out of choice. The staff threw me in to show their affection for me.

When I was little I wanted to be a…


Kitchen disasters? Can you tell us about one you’d rather forget?

I was at the end of a 10-day straight shift and I dropped my knife on the kitchen floor. I bent down to pick it up and unfortunately head-butted the table and knocked myself out!

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

My height. I’m unnecessarily tall at 6ft 5ins, so I’m constantly hitting my head on shelves in the kitchen.

What is still on life’s list of things to do?

I’m getting married next year, hopefully in May, and I’d love to travel to South Africa.

Can you give us three top tips for the kitchen?

Use the word yes and no, always call the boss chef and if you don’t know, ask and if you still don’t know, ask again.

Latest from the Essex Life