10 Minutes With: Simon Hulstone

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 17th February 2016
The Elephant in Torquay is hosting an exciting kitchen takeover, welcoming 9 guest chefs from all across the country. The Michelin-starred restaurant has recently undergone a major redesign and will be launching their inaugural Guest Chef Series on Thursday, March 3. The Staff Canteen spoke to chef patron Simon Hulstone to find out more about the chef collaborations and his thoughts on the chef shortage. Allan-Pickett-at-SandersonSimon has invited his fellow chef friends to join him in the kitchen to give his guests a taste of what other restaurants have to offer. The series will take place throughout 2016, he explained: “I just wanted to use chefs that aren’t necessarily the ones that are doing the pop up circuit as such, so the guys that are very well-known don’t tend to lead their own kitchens.” He will be joined by Allan Pickett from Piquet, who has previously worked at top London restaurants such as three Michelin-starred Chez Nico, in the first of the Guest Chef Series. Simon said: “Allan is probably one of my oldest chef friends, so we both started work on the same days after leaving school, and we’ve remained in touch ever since.” Allan’s cooking has received rave reviews from the likes of Time Out, and opened his first restaurant Piquet in Fitzrovia, London last September. Piquet has since been awarded Best London Restaurant of 2015 by Twizoo.He added: “We haven’t worked together since I was 16, so that’s going to be entertaining. Allan has got a reputation for being a very strict chef and I think his previous chefs used to call him Darth Maul.” The first Guest Chef menu of the series will be four course menu showcasing Allan’s talent. There will be a starter of Galette of Old Spot pigs head, a middle course of wild seabass, main of grilled lamb cutlet, and dessert of apple sorbet with poached blueberries, custard mousse and shortbread. This is the first time Simon has hosted a Guest Chef Series, and he cannot wait to start. He explained: “I wanted to have guys that are good friends that I could trust that would come, would put on a fantastic meal for my guests, and also my chefs can take something from them and learn as well.”Simon Hulstone at Santa Maria Tellicherry Pepper cook off A lot of the chefs that Simon has invited to cook at his restaurant are from fantastic establishments, but are not well known, so these events are a great way to promote themselves and their businesses. Simon said: “It’s just nice to have good guys coming down, no pretention, no pomp, just real cooks.” Simon his invited his fellow chef friends to join him in the kitchen to give his guests a taste of what other restaurants have to offer. The series will take place throughout 2016, he explained: “I just wanted to use chefs that aren’t necessarily the ones that are doing the pop up circuit as such, so the guys that are very well-known don’t tend to lead their own kitchens.”

>>> Read more about Simon here

He will be joined by Allan Pickett from Piquet, who has previously worked at top London restaurants such as three Michelin-starred Chez Nico, in the first of the Guest Chef Series. Simon said: “Allan is probably one of my oldest chef friends, so we both started work on the same days after leaving school, and we’ve remained in touch ever since.”

Guest chef dates:

March 3: Allan Picket, Piquet

April 1: Mark Sergeant

May 13: Sam Moody, Bath Priory

June 16: Steve Drake, Drakes 

July 7: Luke Tipping, Simpsons

August 17: Adam Bennett, The Cross in Kenilworth

Simon is also excited to be working with Mark Sergeant who will be the seconmd chef to eneter his kitchen on April 1. He said: “Mark’s a fantastic chef with bags of energy and enthusiasm for everything he puts his mind to. His food is exciting without being pretentious and I’m looking forward to seeing what he has in store for The Elephant.” Simon will be working closely with each chef to create menus from locally sourced ingredients grown at The Elephant’s farm. He is excited for his customers to try the guest chefs’ menus without having to leave the area, saying: “Hopefully customers will get a good feel for their style of food and go visit them in their restaurants, but also come back and try one or two of our dinners.” Collaborations in fellow chefs’ kitchens are becoming more popular. Simon explained that the industry is tight with friendship and that chefs will happily give you a hand, which is reciprocated. He said: “Chefs are a different breed really, they’re a very close knit community and we all understand each other’s problems and what’s going on in the industry, and anything we can do to help.” Mark Sargeant low resA huge topic of concern in the industry at the moment is the chef shortage, Simon said: “I can’t say it’s bully chefs, I can’t say it’s bad hours, the industry has always been like that. I personally think that the youth of today is mummy cuddled, they’re lazy, and they’re just not committing themselves to a career. “I’ve got chefs that have worked in my kitchen that have all gone on to work in better kitchens, which is what I want. I don’t want my guys leaving here and going backwards. That’s my legacy for my team, and they come here to be pushed like I was when I was younger.” The Guest Chef Series at The Elephant will be welcoming chefs from all backgrounds such as pub chefs to fine dining hotels, and small restaurants to London centric hotels chefs. Simon’s team will be helping out as commis, and they all cannot wait to kick off the kitchen takeover. By Ashleigh Rigden

In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall and restrict access – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 17th February 2016

10 Minutes With: Simon Hulstone