The chef patron, Andy Waters on his inspirational confectioner mum, cheese and bean toasties and celebrating the second anniversary of his restaurant based at Resorts World
Tell us about your cooking
I’m not one that’s terribly excited by foams and jellies. You have to do what you’re best at and I’m a classically-trained chef and I would describe my style as modern British. I get really excited about using great produce to create outstanding flavours. Ultimately you need to get to know what your customers want and reward them for their loyalty.
How did you become a chef?
I was always more practical than academic at school and it was a natural progression into cooking. My mother was a real inspiration. As a confectioner, she was an artist and I remember she could create a bowl of flowers and you could lean down to sniff them before realising they were made of sugar! I used to cook for my aunt and my parents before they went out on a Saturday night but my first real cooking job was in Bournemouth where I guess my claim to fame is that Jean-Christophe Novelli was doing the pastry – we’re still good friends. I then went on to work at the Plough and Harrow in Edgbaston and Simpsons Restaurant under Andreas Antona. But I always knew I wanted my own business and after testing the water at the Bay Tree I opened my first restaurant, Edmunds in Henley-in-Arden.
What do you eat when at home?
As simple as possible. I love my junk food but fortunately my wife cooks a lot, so she makes sure there’s plenty of healthy fish and vegetables. We have two children so we also tend to eat more kiddy-friendly foods like cheese and bean toasties!
Who’s the best chef in the world and why? And who’s the best in Brum?
There’s no one best chef. It’s a tough industry and we all have our own styles and talents. I’ve always been inspired by Paul Bocuse in Lyon and although it may be a cliché I think Gordon Ramsay has a workload and pedigree that’s second to none. There’s a fantastic food scene in Birmingham and we should be so proud of the next generation of chefs coming out the College of Food (or UCB as it’s now known).
Is the customer always right?
At the time, yes! We’re all individual and have our own set of beliefs.
Share a cooking tip
If you have a sticky frying pan, fry on silicone
What was your favourite food as a kid?
My mum’s warm sponge cake straight out of the oven. A smell to die for.
Food heaven and food hell?
Can’t beat that heavenly sponge cake but my absolute hell is shellfish – I’m allergic to it!
What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten?
Swamp toad. It has a similar texture to chicken but it tastes more fishy and is rancid!
If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?
My twin brother is a boat builder and was at Sealine in Kidderminster for years. We’re very similar so I suppose I would have gone into that industry.
What do you recommend from this evening’s menu?
All of it, or it wouldn’t be on!