National Chef of the Year 2016: Larry Jayasekara, March 2016

The Staff Canteen

This is the first in a series of regular blogs by head chef of Petrus and winner of National Chef of the Year 2016, Larry Jayasekara.

I was recently approached by the team at The Staff Canteen (TSC) to write a blog for their website. Being a follower of all their good work and having already met Mark Morris I was obviously extremely honoured to be asked to do a blog of my own. It’s a great platform where I can share my views and express my opinions with my peers.

>>> Everything you need to know about National Chef of the Year here 

Although I was initially approached to do the blog in light of my National Chef of the Year win, I also want to use this as an opportunity to look at different aspects of my career working in the hospitality industry. From produce and suppliers to the menu at Petrus (where I have just been promoted to head chef!), what trips I’ve been on and what I have in store for the future. I want each month to reflect what I have been up to and where I want the next step in my career to take me.

So here goes nothing, obviously having the opportunity to compete in the National Chef of the Year was an elated experience in itself but to win was even more incredible. I think the reason I impressed the judges this time round was just by keeping it simple, and that’s what I would tell all the other hopefuls this year, keep your dishes simple and listen to the judge’s comments.

I guarantee that if you take note of what the judges are telling you and follow their advice you will make it to the top three or four. It’s when you don’t listen that your chances of failing increase because these judges are some of the country’s most respected chefs, they’re at the top of their game and know what they are talking about. Respecting that will not only make you better in the competition but it will also make you a better chef because you understand and appreciate what they are looking for.

>>> Related: Larry Jayasekara is National Chef of the Year 2016

I can’t wait to see how they get on this year, I definitely hold the competition close to my heart, I wish I could do it all again! Last week I got the chance to film a video with Knorr. It was a great experience, I had to create two recipes using Knorr products. The recipes and videos should be up on their site very soon.

Unfortunately I haven’t had much chance to get out and about recently as I’ve just been promoted to head chef at Petrus so I’ve had to put any globe-trotting on the back burner but hopefully once I’m settled I’ll get the chance to do some exploring. Although I do have a trip to France coming up with the National Chef of the Year Competition, it’s meant to be a meal for two in a three starred Michelin restaurant so I’m looking forward to that.

I’m not quite sure exactly where or when it will be though so I will have to keep you posted. So at the moment I’ve been really focused on the menu at Petrus, I’ve been working on two new additions which I’m really excited about. One is a fillet of beef recipe with spinach, parsnip and bone marrow which has now been added to the menu and I’m also working a lamb dish which is a beautiful tender meat made with confit potato.

I’m not quite sure how that will turn out but I’m looking forward to seeing people’s reactions to them. I really like experimenting in the kitchen and with different ingredients, there’s nothing better than seeing someone truly enjoy something that you have created.

>>> Read more blogs from Larry Jayasekara here

larry 1Larry Jayasekara is the National Chef of the Year, having won the competition at the Restaurant Show in October. He is head chef of Gordon Ramsay's Michelin Star restaurant Pétrus and previously worked as executive chef for the Manor at Weston-on-the-Green, sous chef at Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley, senior sous chef at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, and spent two years at the Waterside Inn in Bray. Larry joins a long line of great chefs to have won the prestigious award including Gordon Ramsay, David Everitt-MatthiasSimon HulstoneMark SargeantSteve LoveAlyn Williams and many more.  

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Editor 16th February 2016

National Chef of the Year 2016: Larry Jayasekara, March 2016