Why did you enter the awards?
The National Breakfast Awards was the first competition I’ve ever entered and I’ve been cooking for many years now. Over the years, our brunch has grown to be an absolute staple and backbone of our business. It is the most important meal of the day, but also a celebration of a day off for those lucky enough not to be working.
How important is breakfast to your offer?
Our brunch services are often our main revenue for the week. When I started as a chef, brunch was a lesser priority, but in terms of business, it’s a huge asset to have a strong brunch trade now. With rent and basic bills being so high, without brunch you simply would not have the space to turn over the necessary amount to profit in a small business.
What are your breakfast best-sellers?
We have an extremely varied brunch menu, and all the dishes sell well, but The Garden, which is our veggie answer to a full English, is a huge seller. However, it’s obviously outsold by The Pedler, which is our meaty breakfast. But it’s good to see that the veggies aren’t far behind!
How did you decide on what two dishes and smoothie to cook for the event?
For the signature breakfast I cooked The Pedler. It consists of the usual suspects but each with our twist. For instance, our sausages are made using the botanicals from our sister company, Little Bird Gin. I think this dish captures our aim perfectly. We aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel, but we try to make the classics exciting.
The smoothie I made was a favourite of mine, containing green tea, avocado and banana. It has various health benefits and it tastes delicious.
How do you stay calm under pressure when competing?
I loved competing but I just treated it like another service. All of the finalists were there for a reason and it comes down to the quality standards and the amount of care that goes into the recipes and dishes. These are the dishes that the chefs turn out in huge numbers every week, so in theory you should be able to create them under any pressure that is thrown at you.
Did you enjoy the competition?
I loved it! It was a great vibe, and all the competitors seemed to support each other. It was a great chance to meet other chefs and also see what’s hot in other parts of the country.
Would you recommend that other people enter the awards?
Definitely. It is a huge confidence boost in itself to even get through to a final. It gave me motivation to go and create new dishes and even try and better my established dishes, so hopefully next time I could win! Also, from a business point of view, it’s great press. To be able to say that you were a finalist nationally seriously boosts your profile.