A Chefs Table feature on the family run Haywards
Jahdre Hayward was born in Bermuda, at 15 he moved to the United States to live with his aunt and uncle while he studied culinary arts in Tampa Florida. When his studies were complete he moved to the UK and gained a commis job at The Savoy Hotel, London under Anton Edelmann, where he progressed quickly up the rankings to Chef de Partie. Jahdre`s employment in London and the Home Counties also includes Hanbury Manor, Rules Restaurant, the Oxo Tower, Novelli in the City and The Ritz.
Amanda Hayward was born and brought up in Essex and lived in the family owned traditional 17th century free house the Forest Gate Inn which is situated on the outskirts of Epping Forest and the charming market town of Epping. Amanda knew from an early age she was interested in cooking and after leaving school she took a place at Westminster College and trained to be a chef. She has gained experience in many fine restaurants in London and abroad including Simpsons on the Strand, London Capital Club, and then started her own catering company.
Jahdre met Amanda when they both worked at The London Capital Club. They travelled to Australia in 2003 and Jahdre worked briefly at Guillaume at Bennelong, Sydney Opera House whilst experiencing life in Australia. They returned to London for 3 years before migrating to Australia and settling in Melbourne. Jahdre worked as a sous chef at The National Gallery then moved on to become head chef at the Melbourne Wine Room followed by The Millswyn Restaurant. Amanda whilst in Melbourne went from being a chef to a waiter and after working at Grossi Florentino`s and Maze by Gordon Ramsey went on to work at Circa, The Prince and became assistant restaurant manager of the two hat restaurant.
After five and a half years in Melbourne and gaining Australian citizenship, Jahdre and Amanda decided to return to the UK to oversee the development of Haywards in the grounds of the family owned pub the Forest Gate Inn.
The restaurant was converted from an old coach house, stable and skittle alley. Amanda and Jahdre oversaw the whole process to create their dream restaurant, sympathetically restoring the buildings and retaining many original features. Haywards opened in May 2013 and has gone from strength to strength and both Amanda and Jahdre are passionate about continuous development and progression for the business. The Haywards kitchen garden is thriving and the restaurant has been working with a local bee keeper to keep some bee colonies and produce their own honey.
With Jadhre’s global background, our questions were many. Here are some of them:
Influences – now and then?
“My grandmother, with her love of food and family, was really inspiring and I used to love to watch her in the kitchen. The chef who has really influenced me is Brett Graham at The Ledbury. His passion for the industry and for sourcing quality local produce is something that we have adopted at Haywards. He is also passionate about his customers and our many conversations have influenced decisions we have made”
What are your views on the difference between Australian and British restaurant industries?
“There are quite a lot of differences between restaurants and food styles. All are positive differences, and in terms of gaining experience and developing my career, I feel very privileged to have worked in many great restaurants in both locations. Australian restaurants are often slightly Asian inflenced and there are many different products available and not so much emphasis on the seasons. Due to the warmer climates across the country there is more produce available year round. There is also access to beautiful and more unusual fresh fish such as snapper, barramundi (similar to sea bass and delicious!) and yabbies, which I love. However, here in the UK I really enjoy the fact that our native produce is seasonal and we can change our menus accordingly. We also have fantastic, quality British produce and our scallops are amazing!”
If you were not a chef – where would you be now?
“My career path was destined to been an aircraft mechanic but whilst studying, I took a part time job in a kitchen and my fate was sealed!”
Are there restaurants you would like to go to?
“If I am lucky enough to travel to the Far East again, I would love to dine at Sukiabashi Jiro, a three Michelin starred sushi restaurant in Japan. Another three Michelin starred restaurant is Michel Bras in France which is also high on my list.
Haywards Honey – what is your favourite honey dish?
“We have a beautiful dish on our menu described as Honey, Dill, Almond. It is a honey parfait garnished with honeycomb, bee pollen and dill ice cream”
A chef to work with – past or present?
“I would love to work alongside Michael Caines. I have dined at Gidleigh Park twice and really admire him for his determination, drive and skill” I saw that his latest venue Lympstone Manor is featured on favourite tables so I will be booking dinner there soon.
Finally – where are your favourite tables?
One of my favourite tables has to be The Ledbury in Notting Hill. Always an amazing experience and I love everything about this restaurant.
I also think The Artichoke in Amersham is a fantastic restaurant. They are gaining a lot of recognition but deserve more!
Finally, I celebrated my birthday just before Christmas at the Bildeston Crown in Suffolk. We had a wonderful stay and a really great meal in their restaurant so I am sure that they will go on to achieve great things.
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