Craig Johnston, Head Chef at Marcus Belgravia
How long have you been at the restaurant?
Since April 2018.
Which was the first restaurant you worked in?
Boulters Riverside Brasserie in Maidenhead
What was the last London restaurant you went to, apart from your own?
Lisboeta, Nuno Mendes’ restaurant in Fitzrovia. I’m already trying to figure out when I can go back…
What or who has been the biggest influence on the way you cook and why?
My first head chef – Daniel. He laid the foundation for a lot of key skills and made sure that I experienced every part of the kitchen, including pastry – many chefs forget or miss out on this section when they are coming through.
What is your personal signature dish?
Bergamot, lemon verbena, olive oil, basil and sauternes – it’s the dessert I served for the Masterchef finale. Since then, this dish has taken on a couple of different forms – it’s currently a pre-dessert on our tasting menus.
Which other chefs do you most admire?
Brett Graham, Phil Howard, Paul Ainsworth and of course, our very own Marcus Wareing. They each have carved out unique paths in our industry and paved the way for many other chefs.
What’s the best part of your job?
Working with a great team and cooking delicious plates of food! We spend so much time together that your colleagues almost become your second family. Hearing that guests have had a brilliant time and really enjoyed the food is also a great feeling.
And the worst?
It’s a demanding job and you have to turn up everyday ready to lead, regardless of how you’re feeling.
What would your last meal be?
Can’t beat a Sunday roast! Followed by a very boozy tiramisu.
Do you have a chef’s shortcut that you can share with us?
If your dish at home is feeling a bit flat, don’t be afraid to use salt and acidity (like an aged sherry vinegar or fresh lemon juice) – it will really lift the dish and change the flavour profile, in a good way!