Meet The Chef who is bringing you fine food in a civilised atmosphere, by George

George West, head chef at Chubby CastorGeorge West, head chef at Chubby Castor
George West, head chef at Chubby Castor
The Chubby Castor, recently opened this year by Chef-Patron Adebola Adeshina, offers fine food in a civilised atmosphere and has since started offering a range of fine dining experiences through private events. Their next event is in October, and offers guests the opportunity to sample food from three talented chefs '“ George West, The Chubby Castor; Chris Huggett, Ora Cultro; and Simon Spooner, MasterChef Top 10 - Supper Clubs and Private Dining at Knife Fork and Spooner.

Where did it all begin - how did you get into the business?

My brother was the Trainee Assistant Manager at the Red Lion in Stathern, Melton Mowbray, and helped me to get a job as a kitchen porter. I then started to cook in the kitchen and they were impressed, and one day I walked in and they handed me my own chef’s whites.

What were your ambitions then - and now?

The Chubby CastorThe Chubby Castor
The Chubby Castor

I wanted to learn how to cook and had no knowledge of the industry and I was keen to learn.

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Over the past ten years I’ve worked in numerous well renowned restaurants. My ambition is to eventually own my own restaurant.

Who have been your influences?

My three main influences are Mark Nesbitt, who was the first Head Chef I worked for, Lawrence Yates who was the Head Chef at the Box Tree where I previously worked, and Adam Smith, Head Chef at Coworth Park, Ascot. All three taught me what I know now, and have helped me to become creative in the kitchen.

How did you come to be at The Chubby Castor - where have you worked previously?

After joining my first kitchen at the age of 15 as a kitchen porter it didn’t take long before I developed a true passion and desire for cooking and soon found myself becoming a Commis Chef.

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After several years of working in local pubs and hotels in the Nottinghamshire/Lincolnshire area I then made one of the biggest moves of my career and accepted a position at the Box Tree in Ilkley, a well renowned restaurant with a Michelin star, known for producing talents such as Marco Pierre White and Daniel Clifford.

After working at the restaurant for a year I was offered a job at Gordon Ramsay’s Royal Hospital Road. Despite being offered a position I decided to stay at Box Tree and at the age of 21 I was promoted to Junior Sous Chef. I then moved on to a number of prestigious hotels including Hambleton Hall and several other Michelin Star restaurants around the country. I then took a full-time position as a Senior Chef De Parti working at the four AA rosette Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa in Bolton Abbey, under the Executive Chef Adam Smith, where I remained for a year having run every section in the kitchen.

I then returned to Lincolnshire and was offered the chance to work alongside Chef-Patron Ade developing the food and he also he provided me with careful guidance and advice on all aspects of running the kitchen to a high standard, from training staff to making sure the menu is balanced.

How important is the team around you? Is recruitment difficult?

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Having a great team around me is so important as they create what I envision and make it work. They give me honest feedback before my food goes out to the customers which helps me refine my dishes before new menus are launched.

Finding the right people can be really difficult as you need to have a full-on desire and be dedicated to work long term in this industry.

What can people expect from your menus?

I create classic dishes using modern techniques and try to do as little to the ingredients as possible to make it taste how I want it to. My dishes are all about refinement and elegance. I like to create fresh, clean flavours.

What was the first dish you put on a menu - and what is the most recent?

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My first dish was a Blackberry and Almond dessert which I have now refined and have since introduced to the menu at The Chubby Castor.

Favourite dish on the menu at the moment - and why?

The Scottish salmon ballotine, with beetroot, watercress and horseradish sauce which is a starter dish on the a la carte menu. This dish comes from the training and the things I have learnt over the years from my influencers, which have been combined and put onto a plate.

What gives you most pleasure working in a restaurant?

The job is never complete when you are working in a restaurant as there are always new things to learn and try out. It is a constant evolution. You receive instant honest feedback on what you have created and if people like it, they like it.