10 Minutes With: Steven Ellis, Oxford Blue

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 18th April 2016

Steven Ellis has spent the majority of his working life in the kitchen of Restaurant Gordon Ramsay on Royal Hospital Road. He started out as a commis but in his six and a half years, worked his way up to senior sous chef.

Now he’s setting off on a quest to create his own bustling pub in Old Windsor, named the Oxford Blue after Windsor’s Royal Horse Guard.

Steven Ellis and the Oxford Blue team

“Concept wise, what I’m trying to do is keep it very much a pub," explained Steven. "But I want to combine my skills and everything I learnt at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay with the style that I learnt at the Star Inn at Harome, and create my own.”

The pub building dates back to the 18th century where it was home to game keepers but was later turned into a pub by a soldier. Steven hopes to use a lot of the memorabilia in there that dates back to the era.

During his time at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay Steven idolised chef patron, Clare Smyth MBE and says that working under her name and the knowledge he gained is his biggest achievement.

He said: “It was probably one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever done, but if I could go back and do it all again I would. Clare is a phenomenal mentor and I’ve learnt so much off her – I owe her a lot basically.”

He added: “Being taught by Clare personally really helped me develop in my own skills, and I’m going to replicate that when I do it here in the pub.”

Before Steven realised he wanted to become a chef, he aspired to be an ice hockey player. He says that he knew he was never going to get to a professional level, so he sought out his other hobby…cooking.

“One day I was watching one of Gordon Ramsay’s Boiling Point episodes and I really wanted toPig’s Trotter find a job where I could express myself but also get an adrenaline rush, and I saw that in this programme," explained Steven. "I just thought to myself ‘I really want to get into this trade’. From there I went to college, then got my first job with Jamie Oliver in London.”

He met Jamie Oliver back stage at a food show when he was at college in Birmingham, which was when Jamie offered Steven his first job.

He said: “I worked for him for a year and a half, from there I applied to work for Clare at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. I worked for her for six and a half years and in between that time I took two years out and worked for Andrew Pern at the Star Inn in Yorkshire.”

Steven’s style is British influenced but with French techniques. He says that he was brought up to like this style because of the people he has worked with.

He explained: “I suppose if I went to work for Heston Blumenthal I would fall into that style of cooking, using a lot of water baths and that technical style of cooking.

"The Star Inn was very similar to the cooking style of Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. They used a lot of game, which is probably my favourite ingredient and something I’m really passionate about and that I want to push for Oxford Blue. I would really like to get a reputation for cooking good quality game.”

Steven has competed in Young Chef of the Year, he got to the finals but didn’t win and he isn’t keen to take on a competition any time soon.

He said: “Once I’ve got this set up it’s something I’ll look into, but right now I’m very much focused on opening this place really, getting it off the ground and making it a successful business. I’m more inspired to do this than to look at competitions yet. I would like to, don’t get me wrong! But, I’ve just got to wait for that moment first.” Chocolate Slice

When the Oxford Blue opens Steven will be serving his signature dish, a Pig’s Trotter. “It’s kind of a modern take on a pig’s trotter," he explained. "So we take a braised pork skin and we wrap it with a ham hoc filling which is bound with mustard and diced root vegetables. That is poached and served on apple carpaccio with glazed crab apple, sauce gribiche and black pudding croquette.”

His motto is 'to make sure customers leave happy and return on a regular basis by delivering the best food I possibly can'. And Steven hopes that his new pub will be ready to open later this June though there is not yet a set date.

By Kellie Wyatt 

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 18th April 2016

10 Minutes With: Steven Ellis, Oxford Blue