Meet The Head Chef

Issue 81

GARETH RAYNER Executive Head Chef at Wynyard Hall

Did you always envisage a career as a chef?

Yes, from a young age I never really saw myself doing anything else other than being a Chef. I attended Kirby College which is where my culinary journey started and from there, worked in various local pubs and restaurants to gain experience and broaden my skillset. I’ve been really lucky to work with some amazingly talented Chefs who’ve inspired me and taught me along the way.

What favourite dishes linger from childhood?

Sunday Lunch. I always loved this from a food perspective as a child, but now as a family man, I appreciate and love the fact that it brings all my family together around the table. I love seeing my grandchildren and it’s the one day of the week (when I’m not working) that we all come together and enjoy each others company and good food. Sunday Lunch is arguably the most important meal of the week, so if I am working a Sunday, I’ll always do a ‘Mid-week Sunday Lunch’ so we never miss out!

How would you describe the cuisine at The Glass House?

The dishes in the Glass House can be described in many ways but definitely multicultural sums it up well. Ultimatley, it’s quintisentially British. We use a lot of produce from the Edible Garden, local ingredients and produce but we give it a bit of a twist. English cuisine with a nod to European influences. We have recently introduced small plates to our menu which has been such a hit with our diners but this is taken from the likes of Greek Meze, Spanish Tapas and French Hors d’oeuvres. So far the small plates include Chickpea Chips, Monkfish Cheeks, Marinated Feta, Grilled Tender stem Broccoli and Fried Parmesan Arancini.

Who are your culinary heroes?

Gordon Ramsay will always be a culinary hero to me. He’s always kept his offering relevant and has from a business perspective, created something so special by catering to all budgets and palettes.

Which current industry trends do you find most exciting?

Small plates. While there’s always going to be a place in the industry for fine dining, I just find the concept of small plates so exciting. It’s changing the way we think about food and the way we eat out. In my opinion, dining out is becoming much more casual and while small plates reflect this in terms of being the perfect dining experience to share with friends and family in a social setting, the product, produce and quality remains extremely high. It’s something we’re really proud to have achieved in the Glass House.

Tell us about your most memorable meal?

I was in Avignon, France, where we went to a Michelin Star restaurant, unknowingly! It was almost underground so I was really lucky to have stumbled across it. We had a sample menu for lunch and it was delicious, combined with the cool surroundings, it was such a good atmosphere. I speak no French and the staff there didn’t speak English so it was through the Sommelier that we were able to place our order and he became almost a guide for us! One really cool dish we had was an apple sphere which melted as soon as you put it in your mouth! I’d love to go back if I could find it again!

How do you accommodate different dietary requirements?

Most of the dishes we serve in the Glass House are largely gluten free and dairy free which is a good start, we really try to make our dishes as inclusive as possible to be able to cater for everyone without having to change or substitute anything on the menu but because we use exceptional produce and ingredients, it’s quite easy for us to be able to adapt to dietary requirements. I work with a very strong team of Chef’s who are all confident in their skills.

I’m dining at The Glass House. I would order… (starter, main course, dessert)

This is so hard to pick just three dishes, I don’t think I can! My choices would be, Chickpea Chips, Monkfish Cheeks followed by Korean Fried Chicken Burger and absolutely ANY of the desserts, I love sweet things so it’s impossible for me to pick just one!

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