Jack: You seem to be seen as a culinary prodigy – what’s it like having got so far at such a young age? What’s your finest moment been? Could you describe to us what the entire experience has been like for you and how you got to where you are today?
Luke: It has been a really amazing few years, from winning FutureChef to travelling around some of the world’s best hotels, restaurants and bars then opening Luke’s Dining Room followed by Retro Feasts and Luke’s Broadway. It has exceeded all of my expectations for my lifetime and every moment is something I will remember, although at times this job is very tough but you have embrace this as a lifestyle not a job which is why this is what I will continue to do for ever now, its my life not a job or work. I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Despite your successes, what was the biggest challenge that you’ve had to overcome and what did you learn from it?
After all the fun and glossy side of opening Luke’s Dining Room then it was the challenge of how to try and stand out, and make your make in Berkshire when competition in the local area is Heston, Marco Pierre White, The Roux Brothers and Tom Kerridge, but the key learning curve was to remain true to yourself and what you believe in to ensure you give the right experience that represents what I am about.
What advice would you give to aspiring food entrepreneurs and chefs who’d want the kind of results that you’ve had?
Don’t be scared to be different, re-creating what someone else is doing isn’t enough in the modern world, its all about creating your ‘stamp’ and then ensuring you select your steps carefully, and don’t be scared to take a step back from time to time to weigh up your options and ensure you’re on the way to where you want to be,
More importantly… enjoy every minute.
If you weren’t busy being a chef what would you be doing instead?
I have no idea, I think if I had to guess something music related or art/design based.. certainly not behind a desk doing a ‘job’ as I have not got the patience to sit down for a long period of time.
What’s the best cooking experience/event you’ve ever been part of?
The launch of the Rolls Royce Wraith in 2013, the event was in the Rolls Royce Showroom catering for their best customers with a special tasting menu, it was very special and to be involved with such an iconic brand was just amazing.
An old saying says ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’ – do you agree?
Sometimes this is relevant yes, certainly when I cook at home having my mum and all of the family in and out of the kitchen is really when it drives me crazy but that’s because I have a big kitchen in the restaurants where I can work tidily, I am not a messy cook in my kitchens but for some reason at home it ends up like Armageddon…
What’s a ‘day in your life’ like? Could you give us an insight into your work life?
A whirlwind is how I would best describe it, but generally an early start and then hitting the gym and a quick healthy breakfast before heading to one of the restaurants, lunch service and catching up with the team with regards to what’s happening. And it can vary from events, meetings, catering for parties and so on, generally I am never in bed before 1 or 2 AM
What do you enjoy most and least about what you do?
I enjoy all of it but the fun part is when its new menu time and you order in boxes of seasonal ingredients and just start playing with food, that’s the best bit for any chef. The hard part can sometimes be the hours, I am very driven but sometimes even I can get tired but that is only a small negative, its a wonderful industry.
What’s your culinary philosophy, summed up in a sentence?
Classic British food, re-invented and de-constructed to create my version of comfort food.
What does the great British public need to know about what you do? What one thing would you tell them, if you had a megaphone and the entire country’s ear?
Food and Drink is all about enjoyment, fun and not being pretentious, social eating with friends and loved ones is what I am all about.
We always ask a few customary ridiculous questions…
If you had to be transformed into any kind of household appliance, but retained your memories, ability to speak and personality, what would you pick?
Probably a TV, because often if you get bored watching something you can choose a selection of other things to watch, and for me I like to change and move around a lot.
At what point is a flamethrower a good idea?
I have no idea if I’m honest!!