Chef Name: Alex Dilling
Title: Executive Chef.
How old were you when you started cooking professionally?
What’s your earliest and fondest first memory of food?
I cooked often with both my mom and my grandad growing up. I learnt a lot from both of them. I have great memories of them teaching me to make pasta, sauces, classic dishes etc.
Which chefs inspire you most and why?
Alain Ducasse and Thomas Keller. These are both chefs who have created new standards of excellence time and time again. When they do something, it is at such a high level and without compromise.
What are your two favourite cookbooks and why?
The French Laundry cookbook was pretty important for me as for many chefs. It was completely inspirational seeing the food in this book. At that moment I had not seen food so clean, so focused. I still look at it often and am completely blown away.
Alain Ducasse’s – Grand Livre de Cusine. It is a true encyclopedia of product, technique and creativity. An amazing reference!
Which two ingredients could you not live without?
Fleur de sel & olive oil.
What is your favourite comfort food to cook at home?
Roast chicken, pomme purée, green salad and a good baguette to dip in the roasting juices.
If you could eat at any Michelin star restaurant in the world today, where would it be and why?
L’Ambroisie by chef Bernard Pacaud. I have been meaning to go for years and haven’t gotten around to it. The food looks incredible. He is a master. The best products cooked perfectly in a completely over the top luxurious dining room. I will make the trip soon for sure.
And who would you take as your guest?
What do you look for in a good chef?
The first thing I want to see is a good character. A positive attitude and mixing into the team quickly. Following that, I look at organisational skills, cleanliness and how quickly they can learn and understand techniques.
What advice would you give to chefs starting their career paths now? It’s important not to rush. It seems a lot of cooks now become head chefs and/or sous chefs very quickly without having enough experience. The more time you spend learning and building your foundation as a young cook, the more success you will have as a manager running a kitchen.
Chef Alex Dilling was previously Executive Chef at The Greenhouse, Mayfair.