Full name: Guy Betteridge
Role: Head Chef, South Place Chop House
Birthplace: St Albans
Twitter Handle: Doesn’t use
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and where it all began for you? Did you always know you were going to have a career in food?
I knew from when I was at school when I studied food technology that I had a big interest in food. Both my parents are naturally very good cooks so they also encouraged me a lot.
When I was 16, I started a full time cooking course where I was certain that this was what I wanted to make a career from.
You have a varied and impressive CV, with Bronte, GRG and Heddon Street among some of the places you’ve worked. What is your greatest/most memorable professional moment been, so far??
I have been very lucky to enjoy many great moments over the years but taking Heddon Street to Taste of London and doing a demonstration on stage in front of hundreds of people on behalf of the GRG was certainly one of them.
In terms of the food and the experience, what’s the approach you’re taking with the South Place Chop House that makes it unique in a city full of restaurants?
We are not trying to change the world with what we do at the hotel. We are very focused on sourcing the best quality meats from all over the country, or sustainable British seafood from day boats in Cornwall and giving our loyal customers a great premium quality dishes, day in, day out.
What are some of the future things from the restaurant that we can look forward to?
We have been held some successful feast evenings in the Chop House this year, which have been fun for the team to host and the guests have all been really involved in the experience. The idea is to create a sharing style menu on the communal table where the food is all served in front of the guests.
The next one we will be doing will be our first seafood feast and will be held in February/March 2019.
If you could cook for anyone, living or dead, who would it be and what would you make?
It would have to be for the Queen, I think. I would probably cook a really elegant and indulgent seafood dish: turbot, caviar, some seasonal vegetables at that time of year, and a rich, velvety sauce.
If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you be doing instead?
I really have no idea, probably something related to food, but definitely something creative.
What advice would you give to aspiring food and drinks entrepreneurs who’d want the kind of results that you’ve had?
Always be positive. Surround yourself with a great team and keep the spirit high. Learn your craft and never give up.
What do you enjoy most and least about what you do?
Most – Working with people
Least – receiving sub-standard ingredients
What is the biggest challenge you’ve had, how did you overcome it, and what did you learn from it?
The biggest challenge I have faced in any restaurant I have worked in, as a senior chef, is building a team that believes in you and shares a common goal. The best way to overcome this challenge is teaching people new techniques, showing them ingredients they have never seen before and to keep morale high.
Who has most inspired you in your work? Is there anyone that you draw inspiration or strength from, or do you have any specific influences?
I have always hugely admired Gordon [Ramsay] since I was a teenager; it was always a goal of mine to work for him and progress. I draw inspiration from eating out in restaurants regularly, going to food festivals and reading books.
If you were transformed into an animal but still retained your memories, the power of speech and your personality, what would you be / why?
I would be a bird, so I could fly over the London rooftops.
If you had a time machine and were able to travel back to any era – where would you go and why?
I would go back to the 90s and play tennis with some of my favourite players: Sampras, Becker – I’m a big tennis fan.
If you could only save three kitchen utensils from your home ahead of the zombie apocalypse to use forever, what would they be?
A spoon, a whisk and a spatula. My three most used tools during service.