MEET THE CHEF

Tell us a bit about you

Kent Life - - Food And Drink -

Amir McNeill,

head chef

I started my chef ca­reer 11 years ago, when I was 17, work­ing as a kitchen porter in a gas­tro pub in Lon­don. I be­gan cook­ing quite soon af­ter that as I was ea­ger to learn and help the team out as much as I could. I have since worked in a few Lon­don restau­rants and gained ex­pe­ri­ence be­fore mov­ing to Kent. I en­joy read­ing cook­ery books and re­search­ing new meth­ods and recipes for the restau­rant, where I have worked since Oc­to­ber 2016. I love the cre­ative as­pect of my job, us­ing in­gre­di­ents in a dif­fer­ent way and pre­sent­ing dishes to a high stan­dard. Our fruit and veg are from David Catt & Sons, based in Maid­stone, and our meat from Sevenoaks. The qual­ity and ser­vice from both is fan­tas­tic. That’s a dif­fi­cult ques­tion as I love them all equally, but I would say the pan-roasted duck breast with black­berry and ruby Port jus is the one that stands out for me. But the pork belly is also a win­ner, so it’s very dif­fi­cult to choose just one. My mum has in­flu­enced me quite a bit, I grew up watch­ing her cook in the kitchen and help­ing with bits of pas­try and cut­ting and chop­ping.

She taught me that cook­ing and eat­ing is about fam­ily and do­ing it with love makes a mas­sive dif­fer­ence. I would also like to thank my pre­vi­ous head chefs for in­spir­ing me: Eric for be­ing hard but fair and teach­ing me how to lead; Greig Hughes for his pas­sion for in­gre­di­ents and lo­cal pro­duce and Nathan Green­street for his for­ag­ing knowl­edge.

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