Ben Mellor

How long have you been at the restaurant?
I have been at Comptoir well before we opened in April 2017. I have been at our Marylebone restaurant Blandford Comptoir since we opened in May 2016.

Which was the first restaurant you worked in?
The first restaurant I work in was the Savoy Grill Room at the Savoy Hotel in London.

What was the last London restaurant you went to, apart from your own?
The last restaurants I ate in was Neo Bistro and Social Wine and Tapas.

What or who has been the biggest influence on the way you cook and why?
I wouldn’t say I have one big influence on the way I cook. There have been many great cooks I have work for or with and many others that I admire. I try and cook food I would enjoy eating.

What is your personal signature dish?
Not sure I have a personal one to be honest. I just try and cook simple food where the product shines. However, at Comptoir our customers seem to really love our Croque Monsier, which is made with a delicious cheese sauce made with aged Comté.

Which other chefs do you most admire?
There are too many to name, but some would definitely include Tom Kerridge, Paul Walsh, Marco Pierre White, Pierre Koffman, Raymond Blanc…I could keep going all day!

What’s the best part of your job?
The best part of my job has to be the people I work with, from the kitchen porter to the customer. I love working with young and passionate people. I am in a great position in that I have work for Xavier for just over six years and many of the team for serval years in previous places.

And the worst?
I think the biggest challenge with the job and the industry in general is finding passionate people to employ.

What would your last meal be?
Something very simple like half-dozen oysters and a good glass of Champagne, as we serve in Comptoir Café & Wine in Mayfair as well as at Blandford Comptoir in Marylebone!

Do you have a chef’s shortcut that you can share with us?
Shortcuts hmmmm. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend shortcuts. But rather, practise doing everything well, and then you become quick at it so much so that a shortcut is never needed! My tip is keep things simple and use the best ingredients you can get your hands on.