James Abbott

James AbbottHow long have you been at the restaurant?
Since it opened. I started working at Tramshed 2 years ago as a sous chef, then when Bankside opened, I moved across as senior sous chef and I’ve just been promoted to Head Chef.

Which was the first restaurant you worked in?
A shitty 3* Hotel in Doncaster as a pot wash/ commis chef. It was part of a placement through college.

What was the last London restaurant you went to, apart from your own?
I went to Gymkhana on Saturday. Being the only Michelin star Indian restaurant in the UK, you could see why – every dish had amazing flavours!

What or who has been the biggest influence on the way you cook and why?
The first person would have to be my first ‘proper head chef’, while I was working in Doncaster, I took a 2 week holiday and went with an agency who placed me down in East Sussex at Buxted Park Hotel, the head chef was originally from Yorkshire, we got on really well and he ended up offering me a job. The second would be my ex head Chef Chris Maycock because of how he worked and the respect he got from the team from 33 restaurants.

What is your personal signature dish?
That’s hard… I like to cook everything, however, I do prefer to cook fish. I did do a mean scallops with cauliflower puree – that was for Valentine’s Day.

Which other chef’s) do you most admire?
When I first started cooking I had so much respect for Gordon Ramsey, he was at his peak. Now I have a lot of respect for Tom Kerridge and Tom Sellers – their background and achievements, for me as a chef, are something to look up to.

What’s the best part of your job?
The feeling you get after a busy shift. The feeling of satisfaction, no complaints and happy staff.

And the worst?
Being a mother and father to every single chef.

What would your last meal be?
Probably my mums cheese and potato pie – I grew up on it.

Do you have a chef’s shortcut that you can share with us?
I don’t do shortcuts, shortcuts are for cowboys!