30 SECONDS WITH Colin Starkey
Colin Starkey, executive head chef, Alderley Edge Hotel
Who taught you to cook?
I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with my mum and nan, which I think helped me steer towards becoming a chef. It is also why I am passionate about teaching young people to cook. From primary school age my own children cooked with me, and we saw this is an integral part of their development. Visiting schools and sharing my knowledge is a real joy. I am also working with Whites Chef Academy at Macclesfield College to bring an apprentice into our team. Hopefully to inspire more young people to join the industry.
Also, my first couple of positions at Northcote Manor with Nigel Haworth and Soughton Hall with Mark Fletcher ignited my passion for great flavours and using only the finest, fresh ingredients.
What is your signature dish?
Taking inspiration from seasonal produce means that each week is different, and each dish varied. For that reason, I prefer not to adopt one signature dish.
What is your favourite ingredient? Seasoning – whatever dish you are creating, it enhances the flavour.
If you were on death row what would you order for your last meal? That’s an easy one. My grandad’s freshly caught rainbow trout served with brown bread and butter, followed by my nan’s apple pie. Simple home cooking. What’s your pet hate in restaurants? I have two. Mobile phones and people putting salt on their food before tasting it.
Why should we love chefs?
A chef shows amazing commitment and passion to produce quality food for customers and give them an experience they won’t forget.