At the Chef’s Table – Jesse Dunford Wood
Jesse’s food is firmly based in Britain, although his experiences cooking very international and contemporary food with superstar chefs – in Chicago with the late Charlie Trotter, and in Sydney with Mark Best have also been strong influences.
An apprenticeship with Michael Caines (2**) and also time spent with British chefs Rowley Leigh and Mark Hix culminated in opening the National Dining Rooms at the National Gallery in 2006. Together with restaurateur Oliver Peyton, now a TV authority on ‘Great British Menu’, they won the Best British restaurant from Time Out for original and interesting food.
In April 2010, he relaunched the Mall Tavern in trendy Notting Hill Gate, cooking colourful and delicious British seasonal food, later winning the Rising Star Award by the Tatler Restaurant Guide. It was voted 20th best Gastro Pub in Great Britain from the trade magazine The Morning Advertiser.
In May 2013 Jesse opened PARLOUR in NW10, Kensal Green, an all-day bar and dining room, the next stage in an exciting career. Also included in the best 50 Gastro Pubs every year since opening, and winning BEST BREAKFAST in London from the Evening Standard.
Away from the restaurants and pubs, TV appearances include the BBC’s ‘Masterchef’, ‘Market Kitchen’ and ‘The Truth About Food’, and a regular contributor to various cookbooks and magazines, including the brilliant FORAGER handbook by Miles Irving.
2016 has seen lots of menu development work with both British Airways and United Airlines for European and Transatlantic Business and First Class Cabins.
2017 sees the publication of his first Cook Book ‘MODERN BRITISH FOOD’ with Absolute Press cookery publishing house. Exciting Times!
Q: What would be your last dish (to eat) “the death row question”
A: Macaroni Cheese with Smoked Bacon & a Crunchy Cheesy Top, great comfort food before I get my head chopped off.
Q: Before you chose to be a chef did you have another career in mind?
A: I was going to be a Doctor, then I got my science GCSE grades, and they weren’t good enough, so I decided on Photography, but I got distracted by cooking dinner parties and thought that a much better idea, so I got a job in a restaurant washing dishes in Edinburgh, and that was me hooked.
Q: Which restaurant would you like to go to? (that you haven’t had the opportunity to visit yet)
A: Love to go to the new NOMA, progressive and at the forefront of Modern Food, and also Alain Ducasse in Monaco, the ultimate in Luxury.
Q: What is set to be the next ‘new’ ingredient? And which in particular interests you.
A: I think Choux pastry is currently staking it’s claim, with Profiteroles, Eclairs and even churros style deep-fried versions all over the place at the moment, sweet and savoury. To keep up with the kids, we do amazing duck liver profiteroles here, which are to die for. Ask my wife, most of the reason my wife married me.
Q: If you could change any misconceptions about restaurants/restaurant food, what would they be?
A: This is a performance-based industry, and we have to produce, day in and day out, relentlessly for breakfast lunch and dinner. If we give you one bad performance, please give us another chance, it was most probably one bad night.
Everyone has a bad day once in a while no?
Q: If you received a call from Buckingham Palace asking you to create a Dinner Menu from your book Modern British Food what would you feature?
A: Those Duck Liver Profiteroles, followed by Smoked Salmon that we smoke here on site with our famous Soda Bread. We do an epic Roast Dinner, with all the trimmings and lastly our Toasted Marshmallow Wagon Wheel is a classic here at Parlour and fit for a King, and a Queen too…
Q: What is your favourite dish on the current Parlour menu/s in which you use foraged ingredients or produce from your most local supplier?
A: Not foraged, but very personal to me is the Lop Eared Pig, which we receive as a whole beast from a favourite supplier Mary Holbrook in Somerset. We do lots of amazing things with, using the trotters and tail. And all the bits in-between.
She also provides us with Goats’ cheese, which she is quite famous for, her Tymsboro’ and also a few baby suckling kids in the Spring.
What a treat.
Q: If for one night you could be invited to cook alongside any Chef past or present who would that be and why?
A: Love to work with Escoffier in his prime and see how hard REAL chefs used to work. He set the standard for many of the things we do here today in the modern kitchen. Genius and visionary, back when we are basically cooking food over burning wood still.
My Favourite Tables – Restaurants I have visited several times and why?
Restaurant (1): Perilla Dining in Newington Green, is progressive, energetic, simply set up and exceeds expectations. A chef’s chef doing creative modern food in a simple surrounding.
Restaurant (2): Ida Restaurant in Kilburn Lane, 5 mins walk from my own place Parlour. Owned and run by wife & husband, helped by their kids and also somewhere building a reputation on a meagre budget. Lovely Italian food, in a rustic homemade setting.
|Reviewer:||Jesse Dunford Wood|
|Address:||Parlour Kensal Green|
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