After working at Abode Exeter, pastry chef Samuel Brook landed at Paschoe House near Crediton, soon to become head chef. He tells Abi Manning about meat and two veg, guilty pleasures and his Kitchen Aid
WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO ITEM IN THE KITCHEN?
My Kitchen Aid: I’m a true pastry chef at heart and it’s vital for most pastry dishes.
WHERE DO YOU ENJOY EATING OUT?
Recently I’ve eaten at The Gainsborough in Bath and Gidleigh Park in Chagford, both of which were absolutely incredible. When I venture out of the South West I also love going to L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon in London.
EARLIEST FOOD MEMORY?
I remember making pastry for the birds with my grandmother when I was three or four years old. But the proper cooking started with my mother – we used to make flapjacks and millionaire’s shortbread.
MOST SURPRISING THING YOU’VE EATEN?
Canapés at Gidleigh Park. They looked so simple, then hit me with totally unexpected flavours and textures.
NEXT BIG THING IN FOOD?
More experimental cooking. I think we’ll see influences from places like Japan, the Caribbean and maybe Africa.
FOOD TREND YOU’D RATHER FORGET?
Meat and two veg. Too many people still go to restaurants expecting plenty of starch, large plates of food and to walk away feeling full, instead of enjoying the flavours of the food and the experience.
LIKE TO HAVE SUPPER WITH?
Heston Blumenthal – just to try and understand how his mind works.
FAVOURITE WAY TO COOK?
Accurately – and with the time to dedicate to whatever I’m doing. That way I get the most out of it and find it most enjoyable.
WISH YOU’D KNOWN TEN YEARS AGO?
Just how far the industry would have come. What might be achieved in the next ten years?
ADVICE FOR AMATEUR COOKS?
Read cookbooks – it’s the most important thing. I wish I had more time to read.
FEELING INSPIRED BY?
The people around me. I want to be the best I can for them and give them the best training possible.
My influences include chefs Guillaume Mabilleau and Daniel Humm. I’m also feeling inspired by Asian flavours and am looking at ways in which I can incorporate them into my cooking.
GUILTY FOOD PLEASURE?
Anything sweet. The one bad thing about knowing how to cook is that you can create something out of nothing – whenever you feel like it.