I was not quite sure what career path to take on leaving school, but from a very early age - I had always had a love of food. In the 5th year, I favoured Domestic Science instead of Metalwork and decided to follow my instincts and chose Catering as my career. I attended Weymouth College and completed my City & Guilds Qualifications.
I moved to London, to join the Staff Canteen at the Hilton as Commis Chef. I quickly moved on to the Grosvenor House Hotel for 2 years, working for Anton Edelman and Vaughan Archer. I left there to join the Dorchester as Commis Chef, working under Anton Mosimann. After working as a Commis Chef for a number of months, I was promoted to the position of Chef de Partie; where I remained for two years. The experience I gained, whilst at the Grosvenor House and The Dorchester was invaluable.
I took the position at Mr Pontacs as Sous Chef. Mr Pontacs was a small restaurant group, incorporating The Candlewick Room Restaurant. After only two months working as Sous Chef, the Head Chef decided to leave and I was promoted to Head Chef. this at the time, was a fairly responsible position - considering I was a mere 22 years of age. I was very keen to improve the quality and popularity of eating in the City and set about making changes and improvements as Head Chef of The Candlewick Room. After many months of hard work and effort, The Candlewick Room was awarded a MICHELIN RED M, the only restaurant in the City to be given this award.
I remained at the Candlewick Room, for a period of 4 years and subsequently took the position of Head Chef at Le Caprice. In 1990, the company, Caprice Holdings Limited owned by Chris Corbin and Jeremy King; opened The Ivy in Covent Garden as a sister restaurant to Le Caprice. As a result of a second restaurant opening, I was appointed as Executive Head Chef for Caprice Holdings Limited; overseeing both Le Caprice and The Ivy. At this time, both restaurants were awarded a MICHELIN RED M (an award that does not exist today).
In 1998, we opened our third restaurant J.Sheekey, an old established fish restaurant also in the heart of theatre land in Covent Garden.
Aside from the three restaurants, I have been involved in a number of other projects within the catering world, these include: judging on Junior Master Chef and other television cookery shows, consultancy work in Barbados and various cookery demonstrations.
In 2000, Caprice Holdings Ltd took over the management of Daphne’s, Bam-Bou and Pasha restaurants; for which I am also Chef Director. We have also recently re-launched our outside catering company – Caprice Events.
In 1997, I worked alongside AA Gill in writing ‘The Ivy – The Restaurant and Its Recipes’, a cookbook featuring classic Ivy style recipes. Then in 1999, ‘Le Caprice’ book was published; which is styled slightly differently to the Ivy reflecting the individual characters of the restaurants.
My own cookbook was published in 2000, by Fourth Estate called Eat Up. a book aimed at feeding real food to babies and children (and grown up’s too) which was re-printed this year in paperback. I also write a regular recipe column in ‘The Independent on Saturday Magazine’; for which I received the Glenfiddich award for Best Newspaper Cookery Writer of the Year in 2003.
In September 2003, my ‘British’ book was launched for Sainsbury’s, as part of their ‘Simple Ways to Success’ series. My current book ‘Fish Etc’, was launched in September 2004 - published by Quadrille and I am currently writing a new book with Malcolm Gluck for Mitchell Beazley.