Hotel Du Vin Head Chef Rob Carr tells Daniel White about life in the kitchen.
How did you get into cooking?
I did a lot of cooking with my mum when I was younger and when I was at school it was either football or cooking and I wasn’t that good at football. I went into catering and I’ve been here ever since really.
Where did you train?
I left home and travelled around England and searched for jobs and just progressed from there really, trying to get lots of different experience. I worked at The Ivy, J. Sheekey; the fish restaurant, Chez Bruce, which is in Wandsworth, so it was quite exciting. I worked in London and now I’ve worked for Hotel Du Vin for 10 or 11 years maybe.
Do you use much local produce?
We try to, there’s one or two farms that we use and you build a good relationship with your suppliers. We try and work with local businesses as best we can but these little farmers can’t supply everything. So it’s trying to get the correct combination and consistency across the board.
Do you have a cooking philosophy?
Just the quality of the produce really. We try and keep it simple, fresh and local and we’re obviously doing something right because we’re busy.
What do you do differently to others at Hotel Du Vin?
We use great produce, we’ve got great service, we’ve got a good bar, a good restaurant, the food’s good, you’ve got all the ingredients for people to come out and enjoy themselves and feel relaxed. It doesn’t cost the earth but it can do if you want it to.
Is there one cooking instrument you can’t do without in the kitchen?
The rational oven we’ve got is good. They’re ovens that you can steam, semi-steam, roast, you can programme them so the oven turns off, it’s got your programmes built in, they even clean themselves!
What are three tips you’d give to an aspiring chef?
You’ve got to be enthusiastic and passionate about the food, be willing to put the effort in and have a brain like a sponge that absorbs knowledge, that helps.
What does the future hold?
I’d like to open my own place but we get looked after here, it’s a nice, exciting place to be. Brighton’s a really nice area and I’m happy here at the moment so we’ll see what the future brings.