Alexis de Naray
How long have you been at the restaurant?
Two and a half years.
Which was the first restaurant you worked in?
What was the last restaurant you went to, apart from your own?
Barraco Café in North London. I went there to sample dishes and get inspiration for our new venue, Cocobananas. Good quality and authentic food, set in an unpretentious venue.
What or who has been the biggest influence on the way you cook and why?
I’d have to say my mother. She was always an inventive and imaginative cook at home and is one of the main reasons I became a chef.
What is your personal signature dish?
I’m a huge fan of, and classically trained in, French cuisine (Leiths School of Food and Wine). So, like the answer to what my last meal would be, my signature dish would have to be, Filet mignon of beef with pan fried fois gras, reduced pan drippings and chanterelle mushrooms.
Which other chef(s) do you most admire?
Michel Roux Snr – an absolute legend.
What’s the best part of your job?
Having the freedom to be creative. This is one of the main reasons I became a chef and is something you can’t really explore / develop until you become a head chef. I also have the privilege of working with a great kitchen team, whom I learn from every day.
And the worst?
Definitely the paper work associated with being a head chef. It’s vast!
What would your last meal be?
Filet mignon of beef with pan fried fois gras, reduced pan drippings and chanterelle mushrooms.
Do you have a chef’s shortcut that you can share with us?
Prep, prep and more prep! Always measure out, weigh and divide your ingredients, before you embark on a recipe. It will significantly speed up the process and will create and neater, cleaner, more organised and enjoyable experience.