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Getting to know Jamie Higgs, TB Executive Chef

What does being the Development Chef at Talkington Bates entail ?

My role is quite varied across the business, it can be different from day to day. I may be supporting a specific site, training and developing staff, overseeing a function, such as a canape or dinner event, developing creative menus for hospitality, staff restaurants and tenders , working on new concepts and working closely with the operations team assisting with sales presentations and tenders.

What made you want to become a chef?

While I was at school, I was mainly interested in two things, music and cooking! From the age of 14, I would regularly cook dinner for my family, bake on a weekend and help my mum cook a family roast on a Sunday. Once I left school I studied catering at Bournemouth & Poole college and never looked back!

Who inspires you ?

As a chef you are constantly learning, may it be a new recipe, a specific technique or a new ingredient. The people around me on a daily basis inspire me.

There are many chefs who also inspire me, Tom Aikens, Marcus Wareing, Daniel Clifford and Paul Ainsworth to name a few. I often sit down for breakfast on a weekend browsing through one of my many cookbooks. I have also been lucky to work with some great chefs in my career including David Cavalier who I will be forever grateful to for the time he spent mentoring me.

How do you come up with recipes ?

I would say a lot of my recipes and ideas are produced by playing around with seasonal ingredients, trying out various flavours and textures together, some work and some don’t! There are many recipes that I have used for many years now.

What’s the favourite part of your job ?

It would have to be passing on my knowledge to younger chefs & trainees. You can often tell the chef’s that want to learn and have a real passion for cooking. I really enjoy training and teaching where I can, I feel this is an important part of my role. I would also have to say writing a particular menu and then executing the dishes. For me it’s like a rock and roll star writing a song and then singing it live!

What’s the most challenging ?

It can be challenging in all areas of the business on a daily basis, each day presents a new challenge, very often there will be several functions happening on the same day at various locations. I am lucky to work with an outstanding team that allows us to deliver the highest standards possible.

What’s your favourite dish?

There are way too many to mention! I would have to say the traditional ‘Roast Chicken’ done properly you can’t beat it!

Tell us about the Chef Forum.

I try to arrange this every 2-3 months. It’s a chance to get a group of TB chefs together and talk about almost anything going on within the business. It can be anything foodie, new concepts, upcoming marketing projects, functions etc… We recently visited one of our suppliers Harvey & Brockless where we had a tour of the main depot, our visit also included a charcuterie tasting which went down very well!


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