Gareth Bartram, Head Chef, Winteringham Fields

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 6th December 2018

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

Gareth Bartram is head chef at the Michelin-starred Winteringham Fields in Winteringham, Scunthorpe.

Starting in the local butcher shop Gareth’s love of food grew quickly in his teenage years landing a position at Gordon Ramsey’s Boxwood Café at the age of nineteen.

Gareth spoke to The Staff Canteen about his origins in the food industry, becoming a head chef and gaining a Michelin star.

Mackeral  4 low res
Mackerel

It’s common for chefs to start their careers in a pub or a restaurant, but you started in a butchers. Is that correct?

Yeah, I did. I started in the local butchers shop in Cleethorpes where I grew up when I was about sixteen. My mum actually worked there, so she got me a job after school, basically just washing up and helping out with the odd bit of prep with the owner.

That’s where I fell in love with food and specifically meat as well. Watching the guys prepare it all and how much love they actually had for the produce there. It opened my eyes.

What made you want to be a chef from there rather than go into the butchery trade?

Well, I know it sounds cliché but it’s all about my mum, really. I used to cook with my mum quite a lot and obviously working in the butcher shop we used to get really good produce at home. She basically showed me the fundamentals of cooking. I fell in love with that and the rest is history. Obviously at the butchers we had quite a lot of suppliers who were restaurants in the area so as soon as I told the butcher there that I wanted to be a chef, he got me straight into my first role at a local pub. It was a great stepping stone.

After studying at college where did you go from there? 

I did three years at college and got my Level 3. While I was doing my Level 3 I actually got an interview in London at the Boxwood Café, one of Gordon Ramsey’s places and I got the job there. I moved down there when I was nineteen, completely alone and working ridiculous hours. It was new to me, I’d never even visited London let alone tried to live down there. It was a little too much too young, I think. So, I spent maybe four months there and then I came back home, back to the family. 

Don’t get me wrong, it was a great experience and didn’t put me off wanting to work in the industry. If anything it just proved how much i wanted to cook to a high level, but not in that environment. It’s down to if you want to be the best you’ve got to try and work for the best. And that’s what I was trying to do, just at that moment in time it wasn’t for me. 

Info bar

Rising stars
Skosh- York
Hope and Anchor - South Ferriby
Lorna McNee
Dan Moon

Guilty Pleasures
Grilled cheese sandwiches
Choco pillow cereal
Take away pizzas


Top 5 Restaurants
The Ledbury
The Greenhouse
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay
Clove Club
Pollen Street Social

Favourite cook books
White Heat - Marco Pierre White
Too many chiefs only one Indian - Sat Bains
Nomas guide to fermentation - Rene Redzepi
Grande livre de cuisine Alain Ducasse’s desserts and Pastries
Kitchen confidential - Anthony Bourdain, not a cookbook but Bourdain was an inspiration to so many chefs and his story makes for an interesting read

I got a job in a hotel deemed to be the best in the seaside resort, at that time. I spent a couple of years there until I felt I was ready to move away from the home comforts. I was twenty-two when I had the opportunity to move down to Bath. My first head chef (Jamie Hirst) invited me to join his team.

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Miso Short Rib of Beef

I spent three years down in Bath area working in Jack’s Restaurant in Corsham which was an old manor house. They had their own gamekeeper there so we had a lot more meat coming in, like fresh deer, pigeons, pheasants, anything that we wanted really.

We did our own curing and butchered whole beasts, which meant nothing went to waste. That’s really where I honed in on my skills, and my vision of where I wanted to be.

What attracted you to the role at Winteringham?

I met my wife whilst working in Wiltshire, but being a Lincolnshire girl herself we wanted to settle down back home and that’s when I decided that Winteringham was going to be the place I needed to be.

I met Colin [McGurran] when we dined at Fields, celebrating my wifes birthday, and I pretty much asked him for a job straight out, and luckily he gave me the opportunity to prove myself. I went in for a trial four years ago, and I’ve moved my way up through the ranks to where I am today. 

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Winteringham Fields

Winteringham has recently earned a Michelin star. Is this something you really pushed for? 

It’s been a long time coming. Over the last four years we’ve really tried to push, not specifically for the star but just trying to push what we believe in - proper flavour driven, produce led food. Obviously, Michelin come and go, we’ve had some good feedback from them and some bad feedback from them. Over the last year we’ve really nailed what we actually want to do there and obviously Michelin have seen that and we’ve reaped the rewards.

How important is it for a place like Winteringham to get a star? Does it make a massive difference?

It does. Being where we are in North Lincolnshire, in a rural agricultural sleepy village getting this type of recognition has done wonders for bookings and hopefully it will keep the phone ringing and bookings coming in. 

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Gareth Bartram

What is the most challenging aspect of the role of head chef? 

Looking after the whole kitchen is massive. Not only in making sure everything leaves the pass perfect, but making sure all the team are happy in their jobs. The staff are the biggest asset at Fields, we’re like a big family there so if people aren’t happy then I’m worried.

If they’re not happy then the food is going to reflect that. So just making sure everyone’s motivated and inspired is vital. Happy team, happy kitchen... happy kitchen, happy food. That’s what we strive for and that’s a new challenge for me now.

Making sure budgets are all in line, and health and safety’s is at the highest standard. On top of that creating new dishes with Colin and making sure the food is Michelin star worthy. It’s more pressure on my shoulders but I look at each day as it comes and I love new challenges.

What would you say is your greatest achievement in terms of your career?

In my career the star is the highest achievement so far but I’m looking to push harder and hopefully, who knows? I always want to do better than what I’m doing now, that’s what every chef’s got inside them. 

What are your thoughts on mental health within the industry?

It’s a massive thing. Obviously we do long hours, it’s very stressful and we are under a lot of pressure, a kitchen can be a volatile environment. We’re all in this together so keeping calm is something I always try to do. The moment you lose your head is the moment you lose control.

I think it’s very important to talk to your team and make sure everyone’s happy not just in their work but in their lives outside of the restaurant too. You don’t know what people are going through away from work so it’s very important to sit down talk, and to be able to understand where everyone is in that moment in time.

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Chocolate Delice

How easy is it to have your own individuality in the restaurant?

 Me and Colin are a good pairing; he’s the ideas man and I’ve got the creativity and freedom to imagine what he’s thinking and put it on a plate. It’s a collaboration and a meeting of minds between the two of us.

Who is the biggest influence on your career so far? 

I’ve learnt a lot from Colin, his style, flavour combinations and vision. We try to eat out together as much as possible so I can understand what he likes to eat, we stand around the white board and come up with ideas between one another, he has had a big impact on my career he has opened my eyes to a lot.

Before Fields my head chef Jamie (Hirst), was all about big flavours. He showed me how to cure meats, make sausages and really how to get the most out of the whole animal and that has followed me through my whole career. He’s been a substantial part of my life as a chef.

Where would you like to be in five years?

One day I’d love to run my own place. That’s the end goal. But at the minute I’ve got a young family, actually my second daughter was born the same night we were awarded the star! I had to make a mad dash back to Lincolnshire from London and made it back 40 mins before she was born!

I’m going to be at Winteringham for the foreseeable future, I’m going to keep pushing the standards and hopefully more accolades. Anything I can do to get Fields back on the map.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 6th December 2018

Gareth Bartram, Head Chef, Winteringham Fields

IN ASSOCIATION WITH