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Q & A with Our Head Chef, Andrew Clements

Posted: 28 May 2015

Jenius Social's head chef has over 13 years experience behind the stove and is a graduate of Jamie Oliver's Fifteen restaurant. Now he’s ready to share his passion and knowledge with you. We put some questions to him…

1. What is your first food memory?

At home watching my mum make Spaghetti Bolognese. I was probably about 15 years old and I learnt how to brown the meat off before adding it to the sauce, and letting it reduce - low and slow.

2. What are your first cookery skills?

First day at college learning all the culinary cuts. I went home that night and memorised all of the French terminology and no one has asked me since.

3. What are your favourite ingredients?

Maldon sea salt all day every day, lemon thyme adds a little bit of zing when roasting, Isle of Wight tomatoes, strawberries (best of British), and Cornish mackerel.

4. Do you use recipes or improvise?

Both. Recipes ensure consistency and allow you replicate dishes exactly but I'd say in almost all other circumstances - improvise and experiment depending on what's in season/ fresh? What's in your fridge? What does your tummy want?

5. What do you think is the most underrated dish?

Eggs Benedict. Takes skill to execute correctly, very comforting yet not too filling. Bacon sandwich, needs no explanation.

6. Which is your most indispensable kitchen gadget or utensil?

Cling film. It is low cost cost, 1001 uses including rolling butters, covering work surfaces, roulades, lining terrines and it can even be used it for make-shift belt on occasions.

7. Tell us about a top cookery tip?

Remember, you can always add, you can't take away. Fresh is best.

8. Do you eat at home or eat out?

Both. Eating out keeps you up to date with food trends, what your cheffie mates are up to, great for creative inspiration and no washing up. Cooking at home allows you play around more, put music on and involve friends and family.

9. What’s Britain’s best kept food secret?

Urban allotments. Don't let living in a city stop you from growing your own.

10. What are the key ingredients for a successful cookery class?

Being well prepared, organised (everything weighed out), fun, interesting and factual.

11. What do students enjoy most about learning to cook?

Seeing how uncomplicated food can actually be, and taking away skills that make cooking fun.

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