Kevin Robertson-Wells has been Head Chef at Langtry’s Restaurant – Osborne Hotel since January 2015. In our recent interview with Kevin, we discovered the inspiration and passion behind his successful career as a Chef, and talk about his innovative and varied menu at Langtry’s.
- When did you first decide to be a Chef?
From age 14, I began cooking at home and baking cakes every weekend for my brothers and I to have in our school packed lunches. At the same age, I had a part time job in a pizzeria.
- Who was your inspiration?
My mum and grandmother inspired me to cook from a young age. Growing up, I always loved my mum’s home-cooked meals, and at weekends my grandparents spoiled us with delicious stews and pastries. I particularly loved my granddad’s homemade chips, and I enjoyed getting stuck in and helping.
- What was your favourite dish growing up?
Sweet and sour pork – it was the first dish I learnt how to make, and I used to make it at least once a week. I also used to love rock cakes which I baked for our packed lunches.
- …and now?
It depends on the season! But if I had to choose one dish I would say pork belly, slowly cooked so it falls apart, with a touch of sweetness and a sprinkle of fennel seeds. I could eat that all day every day…
- What is the most essential item in your kitchen?
I remember this question from when I was on work experience at school! Then I said the dishwasher, because the mountain of dishes we had to get through was never-ending.
I like my gadgets, but only equipment that can help us do specific things better. For example, a batch freezer for making our homemade ice cream or a dehydrator that we can dry ingredients to use in different ways.
However, the most essential piece of equipment in my kitchen is the rational oven. It can steam or bake at a range of temperatures, allowing us to use it for a variety of methods such as baking bread or to sous vide our ingredients.
- How long have you worked at Osborne Hotel’s restaurant, ‘Langtry’s’?
I started on 26th January 2015.
- What factors would you say are most important when designing a new menu?
It’s really important to keep dishes both seasonal and as local as possible.
It’s also crucial to consider special dietary and allergy needs. At Langtry’s, we make almost everything from scratch, from bread to ice cream. This makes it easier to cater for dietary and allergy needs and also helps us to create great tasting, ingredient-led dishes.
- What is your most challenging dish to make?
I like to create innovative dishes that ‘wow’ people.
This year, we had edible baubles on the party menu. It took months of planning to decide on the final version, which included an edible string. They were a definitely challenging, but went down with great success, and we even had customers take them home as gifts.
- What is the best thing about being a Chef in your opinion?
Every day is different. As a chef, you have the opportunity to be creative and imaginative, and take pride in the end result of great menus and delicious dishes. Also, you never stop learning, as there are always new methods, ingredients and styles of cooking.
- Finally, what is your favourite dish on the menu and why?
Our menu changes depending on the season, so my ‘favourite dish’ often changes too.
But I really like our current Fish of the Day, Sea Bream, rubbed with roasted garlic and sesame seeds, with a crispy skin. It is important for us to keep our fish local, especially with our coastal location.