Man Behind the Chef: Luke Holder

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 27th February 2017

In association with


In the build up to The Staff Canteen Live 2017- supported by Westlands, at the International Food and Drink Event (IFE) 2017, we are taking a closer look at the chefs who will be joining us on stage.

We dig a little deeper to find out what they are hiding under those chef whites - next up is Luke Holder, head chef at Hartnett Holder & Co at Lime Wood hotel and former chef at Enoteca Pinchiorri, which currently holds three stars in the Michelin Guide Italy.

Luke Holder began his career working at Chris Galvin’s Orrery Restaurant before working in some of the capital’s busiest venues including Sugar Reef, The Sloane Club and Oxo Tower Restaurant.

Luke has soaked up many regional techniques working in far-flung parts of the world during his career. He has cooked with Stephane Buchholzer, ran a restaurant in Koh Samui, Thailand and worked at three Michelin starred restaurant Enoteca Pinchiorri in Florence.

He returned to the UK to be head chef at The Lakeside Park Hotel, before joining New Forest’s luxurious Lime Wood hotel in 2010 where he shares head chef duties with Angela Hartnett at Hartnett Holder & Co.

Luke Holder
Luke Holder

What item of food do you hate cooking?

Nothing really springs to mind, there’s other things I dislike about other people cooking. Generally people can’t cook rice. So one of my pet hates in this country is that rice is the most consumed product in the world but it’s generally eaten by uneducated, poverty driven people with no access to technology, but we invented something in the west called ‘easy cook rice’ and we still can’t cook it right!

I love cooking everything, I can’t really think of anything that stands out where I think ‘f*** I have to cook that!’

What food, if any, are you allergic to?


>>> Read more in The Behind The Chef series here

What’s your favourite ingredient to work with?

Probably pasta because I love the whole idea of eggs and flour being converted into a lot of different elements of love and joy.

What’s your guilty pleasure food?

Chicken kiev is my absolute guilty pleasure. My wife does chicken kiev with rice, frozen peas and sweetcorn with butter and black pepper and that is one my absolute favourite things.

What three ingredients would you take with you to a desert island and why?

Garlic as it’s my favourite vegetable. It can sweeten things, make things spicy, add depth, etc. Chilli because virtually everything tastes a little better with chilli and tomatoes because they can be sweet, be eaten raw and can be added to make sauces and juices so it’s completely versatile.

If you weren’t a chef what would you be?

I think I would like to be a carpenter. I love the idea of working with my hands and crafting. I think I would be a specialised carpenter. I did wood work at school and built an electric guitar, I love wood, working with wood and all of that sort of stuff that goes with it.

What radio station do you listen to in the kitchen?

No but we do have a stereo downstairs in the prep kitchen. We have a Bose speaker down there and we take it in turns to put stuff on but I’m terrible because I listen to a lot of story books and stuff.

What other kitchen would you most like to work in?

Probably The French Laundry. I think Thomas Keller has had the most influence on modern cooking and his food is effortless and timeless.

Traditional cooking methods or modern techniques?

Traditional cooking.

Why did you choose to get involved with TSC Live?

Firstly, because I like The Staff Canteen and you guys have done us proud so it’s nice to pay that back, secondly it’s also nice to reach out to young, up and coming industry people because you guys appeal to them quite a lot so TSCLive appeals to that side of the industry that we need more involvement from.

>>> IFE takes place on March 19-22, 2017 and you can register now here 

>>> Read more about The Staff Canteen Live here

>>> Read more about The Staff Canteen Live 2017 at IFE

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 27th February 2017

Man Behind the Chef: Luke Holder