Andrew Ward, head chef, Tredwell's, London

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 15th April 2015
Andrew Ward is the head chef at Marcus Wareing’s Tredwell’s. Originally from York he entered the industry when he followed in the footsteps of his older brother who is also a chef. Starting at The Star Inn in Harome, he moved to London and continued working in fine dining kitchens including The Glasshouse, La Trompette and Chez Bruce. The Staff Canteen spoke to the 29-year-old about stepping out from Marcus Wareing’s shadow, swapping fine dining for casual dining and why his favourite ingredient is cauliflower. When did you make the move from Yorkshire to London?20140912-_MG_1498 I moved to London aged 19 and started working in The Glasshouse in Kew, I was looking for a new challenge and I wanted to move away from Yorkshire. London was close to home but not too close! It was quite a nerve wracking experience but it was good and I spent four years at The Glasshouse. I gained a lot of experience and I learnt the standard of Michelin-starred food. I grew within the company and I moved into La Trompette. From there I wanted to go out of the group and see what else was out there so I spent some time at Rhodes 24 and John Salt with Neil Rankin, before heading back into the group with Chez Bruce – that’s when I met Marcus Wareing. How did you meet Marcus? Chantelle NicholsonIt was through an agency on Linkedin, they got in touch with me and I went for an interview which is where I first met Marcus and Chantelle Nicholson. I had been a senior sous chef for a few years in many restaurants so I wanted to do my own food and be in my own restaurant, they provided me with that opportunity. I was working in development and at Marcus at The Berkley while I was waiting for Tredwell’s to open and he was always in the kitchen and at tastings for new dishes each week. Were you nervous meeting Marcus for the first time? Of course – you see him on TV all the time so yes it was nerve-wracking. I had to do a six course tasting menu for him for Tredwell’s, he had given me a small brief and I had to come up with a menu to show him what I could cook. What’s he like as a boss? He’s great – he’s very straight and he doesn’t mince his words which I like. Being a chef himself he understands what working in the kitchen is like, he knows what we need, which is very good. Have you learnt a lot from Marcus while working alongside him? Yes, openings are a massive ordeal anyway but there’s the added pressure of doing it for Marcus. Obviously it’s my food but I’m carrying his name on my shoulders as well. I’ve learnt so much in the last six months, more than I have in the last 29 years. I’m not going to lie it has been tough but I couldn’t have asked for anymore in regards to what I’ve learnt – it’s been character building for sure. And since the opening how are things going?Sea bass 4295 We’ve had a few changes but it’s going really well. We’re in the middle of changing the menu, it’s a seasonal menu so it’s exciting, always something new and different. What’s your food style? I like to keep things simple and tasty – I don’t like to mess around with the ingredients I use, I just want to get the most flavour out of them as possible, that’s what I aim for. I like three or four components on a plate. Which ingredients do you like to work with then? Cauliflower and broccoli are two of my favourites. I love the flavour of them both but also cauliflower is so versatile, you can do so much with it. You can roast it up, it can be nutty, buttery, it’s absolutely delicious. It goes with so many different things – I love it. Is the menu all down to you or does Marcus have an input? It’s all down to me. I do tastings for Marcus, he might say yes or no – or give me suggestions on how to do something but he doesn’t come to me with a list of dishes, they are all my own creations. Do you have a favourite dish on the menu at the moment? Harissa aubergine, peanuts, corianderYes, one that I opened with which I’m going to keep on the menu and that’s a harissa glazed aubergine dish, with coconut yoghurt – it’s one of my favourites. I love aubergine and I love spicy food so it started with that but there’s a little inspiration from Chez Bruce and my time there. The coconut yoghurt is on there because I wanted a dairy element but not actual dairy as I wanted it to be a vegan dish. That’s served with chilli peanuts which are there for the texture to bring it all together. Tredwell’s is casual dining not fine dining, do you prefer that? I do prefer it yes. I wanted to get out of the Michelin star, fine dining scene – I wanted a change. I think you have a bit more leeway too. People do sometimes expect two Michelin-starred food at Tredwell’s because of Marcus’ name but I think people are starting to understand what we are about and it’s simple, casual food. Is it difficult to step out of Marcus’ shadow? Yes it is. We have to be completely different. He’s said no to things in tastings and I’ve had to say ‘Marcus this is not the Berkely.’ It is hard because we have Marcus, Chantelle and myself and all we know is fine dining, it’s a challenge but we all love a challenge!  You are head chef at Tredwell’s, how are you finding the role?TT pork belly 4421 It’s great, I’ve worked with some brilliant head chefs in the past and I’ve learnt so much in regards to management and that side. I’ve learnt a lot more working with Marcus about the paperwork, as a sous chef you see a little bit of it but not as much as I do now. In the past six months I’ve built on my management skills and I’ve learnt about employing people, speaking to people and working with my sous chef to get the best out of the brigade. What’s your biggest challenge been at Tredwell’s and how did you deal with it? Staff I think. Finding the right people and managing them, while trying to open a kitchen – it’s very hard. Especially when Tredwell’s was so new and all the ideas were down on paper but they were also in my head, so it was difficult to train the commis chefs. I had to make sure I was managing them correctly, I didn’t want them walking out because they were doing too many hours. It was all very stressful and busy but we got through it. Is training important to you and for your team? Absolutely! I can’t expect somebody to do what I want from a piece of paper. You need to be there beside them and show them what you want two or three times. Then you let them do it themselves but you still need to be there watching them. Mushroom ragoutTraining is massively important in this kitchen, everyone always has a buddy from day one for a week, just so they have an understanding of what we want and they feel comfortable. What are you looking for in the future? What are your hopes for Tredwell’s? At the moment I just want it to get a good repertoire and grow the business from here. Obviously this is an independent restaurant, Marcus’ first not in a hotel so I want to get the name out there and produce good food. As a head chef I want to learn as much as I can, while I can, in development, management and food. If like Andy you'd like to work as a chef in London then head over to our jobs board where you will find a whole host of London-based positions.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 15th April 2015

Andrew Ward, head chef, Tredwell's, London