I knew I was going to be a chef from the age of 12
I don't know why to this day. It wasn't trendy back then. I went to college to do catering and the lecturer said, 'Right, I'll send you to London for the summer.' Three weeks later I was working at the Lanesborough Hotel on Hyde Park Corner.
London was a massive culture shock
I was a very naïve young country lad, 17 years old. Where I'm from is pretty rural. I grew up speaking Welsh to my parents and my friends. My English was awful. Over the years I spoke English every day and it improved.
If someone tells me I can't… I will
I love it here on Gower. But when I first saw the place, it had been shut for six months. You can't rely just on summer trade. I'm really stubborn and hard-headed. If someone tells me I can't do something, I'll go ahead and do it. The owners believed in me and said right, let's go for it and see where it takes us.
We won AA Restaurant of the Year for Wales in our first year
Awards are good for generating interest. People will travel 50-60 miles to try you out. Then you have the elevated pressure of producing that every single day. Social media channels are a big business driver. People take so many pictures of food. It’s good that they have the passion and keep on taking pictures, as they help to spread the word.
I’ve found the best lamb in the world
I’m not from the area, so it takes time to learn who all the producers are and build relationships with them. It’s like a little network. I found out about Gower Salt Marsh Lamb and went over to see what they do. The quality of the meat is superb. And I just love the fact that the farm is five miles away as the crow flies. Everything is local and super-traceable.
Our fish is even more local
You can see where it comes from when you sit in the restaurant. See that blue boat? That’s Jim's. The red boat is Paul's. They're both lobster fishermen, and Jim also fishes for a bit of bass. Kevin, who has the yellow boat, fishes for bass, too. We get mackerel and pollock from Andrew, who's also a coracle fisherman who fishes for sewin on the Tywi.
I’d rather serve no food than bad food
I get fantastic pork from native-breed Welsh pigs from Ty Siriol in Llandeilo. I keep asking for more, but they’re adamant that they let the pigs grow at the rate they want to. I’ve been up there, and it’s like stuff used to be made. It’s not this intensive farming where you lose all quality. If I can’t get their pork, then pork’s not on the menu.
When it’s in season, it's at its best
In the summer months the majority of the menu is fish because it lends itself to lighter cuisine. There's no point putting on heavy braised beef if what people want is a beautifully light bass dish. It just makes sense. I love game, too. We've got a beautiful partridge dish that I'll put back on the menu this autumn too.
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