Here’s cooking with you... Jahdre Hayward of Haywards Restaurant in Epping
PUBLISHED: 12:09 27 May 2014
Jahdre Hayward talks of cooking with and meeting his culinary idols, why his thoughts sometimes turn skywards and how patience is a virtue which alludes him
Where do you work?
I am the head chef at Haywards Restaurant in Epping
What is your earliest food memory?
My grandmother’s famous Sunday breakfast — salted cod fish with potato.
What was your first ever job and where was it?
My first full-time job was as a commis chef at the Savoy Hotel.
What was it about food which excited you enough to make a career out of it?
The different flavours and textures you can get from different ingredients. Also reading different autobiographies by some of the world’s leading chefs. One of my favourites is White Heat by Marco Pierre White.
If you weren’t on the stoves, where would you be now?
I have always had a passion for flying, so I would like to think I would be involved in aviation in some way.
Who would you love to cook for and why?
I think I would have to say Michael Caines, from Gidleigh Park in Devon. He is my idol and an incredible double Michelin star chef.
How would your team describe you?
Hard working, ambitious and particular.
Which is your favourite dish to prepare?
At present we have a beautiful pork dish on the menu. The produce comes from Dingley Dell in Suffolk and is amazing.
Who was your inspiration to take up cooking and how do they affect what you do now?
It would have to have been my grandmother. I think she would be proud of what I have achieved.
Can you tell us your three favourite ingredients to work with?
I would pick out langoustines, chocolate and salt.
Are there any celebrity moments you can share with us?
I remember meeting Michel Roux senior at the Waterfront restaurant at Burnham on Crouch, which was a wonderful experience. I also cooked with Rene Redzepi from Noma in Copenhagen when I was living in Melbourne.
Tell us a bit about you at home, where do you originally come from and how did you end up here? I’m from Bermuda originally, I trained in Florida, then I moved to London after getting the job at the Savoy Hotel.
At home, who lives there and who cooks most of the time?
I live with Amanda (my wife) who runs front of house at Haywards in Epping. She usually cooks too as she is a trained chef, but doesn’t do it all week.
When I’m not in the kitchen, I love nothing better than...
Relaxing, reading cooking books and dining out.
When I was little I wanted to be a…
Can you tell us about any kitchen disasters that you’d rather forget?
I remember dropping the gazpacho soup at the Savoy when I was a commis chef. The soup was needed for lunch and takes 24 hours to marinade.
If you could change one thing about you, what would it be?
My patience — or lack of it.
What is still on life’s list of things to do?
I’d love to eat at the French Laundry and win a Michelin star.
Can you give us three top tips for the kitchen?
Be organised, be clean and always show respect for the produce you are cooking with. n