This is an extract from Hereford Independant Food Festival Magazine, which I was heavily involved with from shooting most of the images for the edition and also input on the editorial side of things. So please enjoy this little article on top chef Stephen Terry and his stories of working in the industry, along with some images of the what he produces at his establishment.
We met Stephen at his restaurant, The Hardwick, just outside Abergavenny, between a busy breakfast and lunch. He invited us back in to the kitchen and spoke over how his experiences have shaped his approach to cooking. Stephen has a raw energy in the kitchen. We stand tasting some of flavour combinations from the days menu, its apparent that Stephen and the rest of the team are clearly in their element.
“I learned so much; from the appreciation of great produce, to technique and discipline. Working for Michel Roux Jr. at Le Gavroche gives you a wonderful French foundation to cooking which I don’t think would do any chef any harm. Discipline is essential some people can take it too far, but it’s critical.
I worked for Marco [Pierre White] and he taught me discipline in how to put food on a plate. He’s no academic, but he has a brilliant mind. Often he’d come down to the kitchen just before service and change things last minute, but he taught us how to deal with that. His mind was racing all the time, he was a huge inspiration if I have a mentor then it’s Marco.
I worked for Alain Passard who’s a three star chef in Paris: He’s very much into developing a mix of sweet and savoury. I always liked peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as a kid, or cheese and marmalade, things like that. Some people would think it strange; but to this day I love those combinations, and that sort of thing really stimulates your tastebuds, it’s important not to be afraid to work with flavours. Other than pastry, we don’t work from any recipes at The Hardwick.
For me cooking is about taste and instinct, and I want to teach people to cook instinctively. I could give anyone a file of recipes and tell them to learn them, but for me it’s about intui- tion and flavour.”
Do check out upcoming events from the team at A Rule of Tum here at there website.