10 Minutes With: John Campbell

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 12th February 2016

Working in the industry for a number of years, Michelin-starred chef, John Campbell, has moved from head chef to front of house back to head chef again. Having moved to The Vineyard in 2007 John immediately fell in love with the Berkshire countryside and is now the owner and head chef of the Woodspeen in Newbury. He is also the founder of the eatery’s own Cookery School where he gets to help and train others in everything from butchery to advanced bread making. When we caught up with John we discussed his passion for teaching, what’s next for the Woodspeen and working alongside Monica Galetti and Mark Sargeant for an exclusive dinner event for Hospitality Action. john-campbell-portrait2During his eight year reign at the Vineyard, John achieved two Michelin stars before leaving in 2010 to join Coworth Park as director of cuisine, food and beverage. It was only in 2014 that he moved back to Berkshire to rekindle his love for the countryside by opening the Woodspeen. “It feels amazing to be back home," said John. "Back to the old haunt and overwhelmed by the local support I and the team have had since opening. West Berks is a wonderful part of the country, it’s been a pretty special first year.” This month John will be collaborating with fellow chefs, Monica Galetti and Mark Sargeant to create a one-off dinner to help raise money for the charity organisation, Hospitality Action. After being approached by the dinner’s sponsors, Baxter Storey, John couldn’t resist. He said: “I’ve been aware of Hospitality Action for a number of years so when they approached Monica, Mark and I to take part, I jumped at the opportunity. What could be better than cooking alongside my peers for a cause as good as Hospitality Action? The approach came from Baxter Storey who I’ve had a long term relationship with for 13 years and are huge supporters of the charity and this year’s sponsors. “Hospitality Action provides a vital lifeline to all those who work in our industry, from chefs to waiters to sommeliers, they are there to help.  Long hours and lots of demand can sometimes take their toll and sadly not everyone has family or friends to turn to. Knowing that Hospitality Action is here to help means no one needs to suffer alone and this should be a cause close to all our hearts.” john campbell quote Whilst MasterChef: The Professionals judge, Monica Galetti will cook the starter, former head chef at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant in Claridge’s, Mark Sargeant will be in charge of the main leaving John to prepare the dessert. Executive chef at Brasserie Joël, Walter Ishizuka will also be present serving up the evening’s canapés. John said: “I can’t wait! We all come from very different backgrounds with a great variety of experience between us. It will be interesting to see how Monica and Mark do things. Walter Ishizuka, the executive chef at Brasserie Joël will also be present on the night, preparing the amuse bouche and giving friendly guidance as we share his kitchen!” To ensure the event flows smoothly and that the dishes complement each other, John made sure to check what everyone else had up their sleeves before settling on his course. He said: “When I found out I was taking care of the dessert I asked Monica and Mark what they would be cooking to make sure everything flowed well. Our menu is very special and I’m sure there will be one or two spare plates for us behind the scenes to sample as well!” John’s dish will be a completely new creation giving his guests an exclusive to whet their appetite. He said: “I’ll be preparing ‘Chocolate crémeux, passionfruit, coconut, black olive’ and also taking care of the petits fours; smoked malt truffle and white chocolate and salt fudge. These are new creations not currently on the Woodspeen menu; I wanted to try something new at the event.” restaurant6 woodspeenWith Hospitality Action spending an incredible £630, 000 supporting the industry last year, John and his fellow chef peers hope to raise over £20,000 for their colleagues in crisis. “I am sure the evening will be a great deal of fun!" Said John. "It will be busy in the kitchen as we each prepare our dishes yet with an air of excitement knowing we will be making a real difference to a charity so close to home." He added: “This event will be the perfect evening for foodies, ideal for networking or a special team treat, as well as a chance to show your support for those in the hospitality industry.” In 2014 John converted a traditional farm into a modern cookery school offering a wide selection of courses to choose from. Whether it’s showing a beginner the basics to teaching a more experienced chef new skills, the school caters to a wide selection of pupils looking to further their knowledge in all sectors of the industry. Ten lucky guests even get the chance to experience a unique tasting menu designed by John himself at the chef’s table which uses only the finest ingredients. He said: “The school caters for many sectors. Firstly the Baxter Storey chefs academy will pass through 250 chef sessions a year in the school and with the help of Rik Razza the students cover butchery days, advanced bread and leadership courses to name but a few. "The domestic market takes a good portion of the time in the school with up to 14 different coursesjun_pea-soup woodspeen to choose from, the corporate team days are gathering a larger share in the school as they couple their day with a chefs table in the evening- the school is very diverse and with the vegetable plot keeps us busy.” Having always dreamed of opening his own cookery school, John now gets to share his years of experiences with others. “To pass on skills and enrich someone’s life through cooking is a beautiful thing," John explained. "To develop your team well through constant encouragement and development is surely the key to any successful business. I find myself constantly sharing, either if I am in the school or restaurant kitchen imparting knowledge is always at the forefront of my day. I love teaching and cooking! I have a great life and feel very lucky.” By Michael Parker @canteenparker Tickets are priced at £135 per person or £1,300 for a table of 10. To secure your place please contact Giuliana Vittiglio via fundraising@hospitalityaction.org.uk or on 020 3004 5504 or online at www.hospitalityaction.org.uk/events

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 12th February 2016

10 Minutes With: John Campbell