10 Minutes with: Mick Binnington, chef and owner at The Windmill

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 25th August 2017

Mick Binnington and his wife, Lydia, 26, opened The Windmill on July 1 this year in Chatham Green, Chelmsford.

The award winning chef and his new pub have thrived as a result of its popularity in the neighbourhood. As Mick’s business flourishes, The Staff Canteen caught up with him to talk about his career and future plans for The Windmill.

Mick Binnington outside the Windmill at Chatham Green

Mick Binnington outside 

the Windmill at Chatham Green

After the pub’s preview evening on Thursday, June 29, which was a huge success, better than Mick could have possibly hoped for, the chef says things are running “great” at the pub.

“We’re busy every day and couldn’t have hoped for anymore, the preview evening had the place heaving and even the car park was full of people standing.”

Mick Binnington's career to date

Mick spent his career working in some of the country’s top Michelin starred restaurants including The Mandarin Oriental in Knightsbridge and most recently working as head chef for Gordon Ramsay's The Narrow in Limehouse.

His first job in a kitchen was at the age of 13 where he says he did “the washing up in a local restaurant.” Mick always loved to eat but it was only when he did his school work experience that he was inspired to start cooking at the highest level. He says a chef called Omero Gallucci took him under his wing and was the root of his inspiration.

Mick has also previously worked at Chapter One with Andy McCleish, Midsummer House with Daniel Clifford, Foliage with Chris Staines and Club Gascon with Pascal Aussignac.

“Andy McCleish gave me a good solid foundation for cooking at a high level and in the business sense, working in the Gordon Ramsay group has taught me a lot about running a business”, said Mick.

Mick quote

Having worked with such a varied mix of high profile chefs, the 32-year-old chef has taken a lot of skills on board as a result.

“I’ve learnt a lot of different styles of management and cooking but the one thing I have taken from all of the people I’ve worked with is self- discipline”, Mick explains.

Competitions

Under the guidance of development chef, Omero Gallucci, Mick was encouraged to enter a ton of competitions when he first started out in the industry which obviously worked in his favour.  

He said: “I won a Michelin Bib Gourmand at the Chequers in Gedney Dyke which is a pub restaurant which we started from scratch. We won that award within 6 weeks of opening. I always cook first and foremost for my customers, however, the recognition from Michelin was a nice confidence boost.”

In return, the young chef gained valuable confidence but still insists "good honest experience in quality restaurants" is the key to exceeding in such a fickle industry.

Food style 

Beef Rib
Beef Rib

For Mick, the two most important things for him as a chef are to keep the food simple and use quality ingredients that speak for themselves, a motto he has he has taken with him for his first solo project.

“I’m the sort of person that jumps off the cliff and builds the parachute on the way down. I think life is a lot more interesting if you take risks.”

The concept behind The Windmill is a refined dining experience based on British classics and good food using fresh, local ingredients. As the pub’s popularity continues to increase Mick hopes the new restaurant will be a popular destination for locals and holiday makers alike who will be willing to travel to sample his new food.

Although the ex Gordon Ramsay chef insists he doesn't have any signature dishes, his menu wouldn't be the same without his "lobster ravioli" and "chocolate fondant" dishes which have been popular choices at the newly opened fine dining Chelmsford restaurant.

Future plans

Having only been open for a matter of months, Mick has no intention of slowing down with hopes to expand the business.

“We are getting the ball rolling on the refurbishment now. We’re not in any rush, we want to take our time and do the rooms properly, giving each room its own individual identity in keeping with the quirky nature of the pub.” 

By Crystal Moffat

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 25th August 2017

10 Minutes with: Mick Binnington, chef and owner at The Windmill