Bring on the cheese and bean toasties but hold the foams and jellies, says the Michelin star winner Andy Waters who has an exciting new restaurant at Resorts World
Tell us about your cooking
I’m not one that’s terribly excited by these 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 year. 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!
Try Andy’s delicious and easy-to-make Turkey Laab
- 500g of turkey mince
- 1 tbsp of peanut oil
- 1 lemon grass stalk, finely chopped, pale section only
- 1 green chilli, long, finely chopped
- 60ml of lime juice
- 1 tbsp of fish sauce
- 1 tbsp of sweet chilli sauce
- 1 tbsp of lime zest
- 1/2 red onion, finely sliced
- 13g of coriander leaves
- 2 tbsp of fresh mint
- baby cos lettuce, to serve
- 40g of peanuts, finely chopped
- In a wok set over a high flame, heat half the peanut oil until just smoking. Add half the turkey mince with half of the chopped lemongrass and chilli. Quickly stir-fry, breaking up the lumps of mince, for 3-4 minutes or until the meatstarts to brown slightly
- Transfer the cooked turkey mix to heat-proof bowl and repeat the process with the remaining oil, turkey, lemon grass and chilli, re-heating the wok between batches. Once both batches have book cooked, set the mix aside for 15 minutes to cool
- While the turkey cools, whisk together the lime juice, fish sauce, sweet chilli sauce and lime zest in a small bowl until well combined
- Drizzle the lime dressing over the turkey mixture and mix in the chopped onion, coriander and mint. Spoon the turkey mixture into the lettuce leaves and sprinkle over the chopped peanuts to serve