Interview questions for Chef Aaron:
1. Aaron, you’ve been Head Chef at Hambleton Hall for 26 years. How do you continue to put your stamp on things and keep it exciting?
I have an extremely strong and talented team behind me, we inspire each other and experiment almost every day on new dishes and talk about ingredients. We live and breathe what we do, being a chef shouldn’t feel like a job it’s a passion.
2. How big is your team at Hambleton Hall?
Currently we have 16 in our team.
3. With trends in the food industry changing more than ever, what are your plans for the next 12 months?
Foods trends come and go I think as long as we source the best ingredients we won’t go too far wrong.
4. Who has been your inspiration over the years – are there any particular styles of cooking or chefs you would single out?
I’ve tried to take the good and the bad from the chefs I have worked with in the past and use them to help me in the way I run my kitchen. Raymond Blanc and Nick Gill were my main inspiration over the years. I also keep a close eye on chefs that used to work with me and have now left to run their own kitchens.
5. Working in a luxury establishment must have its benefits for the kitchen – what is key to the design of the Hambleton kitchen?
Our kitchen flows very well due to the design. It’s very important that we have designated preparation areas separate from our cooking areas. Ingredients are unprepared when they arrive with us. Fish need filleting and butchery needs to be done, vegetables arrive from the garden, so there is a lot of skilled jobs to be completed on a daily basis , these need space and time and I’m lucky enough to have that.
6. Which equipment is most central to your work?
Our Bonnet cooking range, without this life would be extremely difficult.
7. Is there anything that catering manufacturers or suppliers could do from an equipment point of view that would make your life as a chef easier?
No answer for this, can’t think of one that is applicable.
8. What are your favourite ingredients to work with? Does it change with the seasons, or do you have staples?
My favourite ingredients do change with the seasons, Spring – asparagus, morels, wild garlic. Summer – English strawberries, peaches, wild salmon. Autumn – Grouse, pears. Winter -Black truffles and game.
9. What three words you use to describe your style of cooking, or the dishes you make?
Seasonal, Elegant, classical with a modern twist.
10. Lastly, what do you look for when you go out for a meal?
I look for ingredients that excite me, that are in season, this tells me the chef has his finger on the pulse.