with Louisa Ellis
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself – how did you get where you are today?
I’ve always enjoyed cooking from a young age. I fell in love with it by cooking for my family a lot. When I studied cooking at school, I found that it was one of the few things I felt I was good at, and it made me quite creative. I felt that going into a theory-led college course wouldn’t have worked for me, so I studied catering. From there, I started working part time in a hotel brasserie restaurant, which I enjoyed. Further down the line, I started working in Birmingham and leaned more towards fine dining. My job at Adam’s Restaurant was my first Michelin Star restaurant, and it was here that I learnt to cook meats and sauces and learn about how to love ingredients more. Since then, I have looked at cooking in a different way. I now have my own business and have been doing this for almost 5 years. I started off doing dinner parties and events, then transferred over to our Heat At Home delivery service during the pandemic. We’re now back to private dining and events but are still delivering the Heat At Home kits nationwide as people still want to continue to support hospitality in this way.
What’s on the pass right now?
People have been loving my Katsu dish at the moment. We make the katsu sauce here and it is paired with various things but the most popular has to be the scallops. We try to get hand-dived scallops when we can. We cook them in curry spices and top them with katsu sauce and crispy pork skin, which is taken from another one of our dishes, the pork belly, poached, dehydrated and fried for a crispy, pork crackling effect. People love it and it’s definitely one of our signature dishes.
Where do you eat on your day off?
Try to stick local in Nottingham. Nice Japanese small plate place called Kushi R. really authentic and you can order lots of little bits and taste different flavours. Anywhere small independent in Nottingham, branching out my fave ever restaurant is Ynishr.
I try to stay local and support small, independent places in Nottingham. We have a really nice small plates Japanese place here called Kushi-ya. It’s really authentic, you can order lots of little bits and taste different flavours. Branching further out, my favourite ever restaurant is Ynyshir by Gareth Ward.
If being a chef were not possible, what would your dream job be?
Very easy – I would work with animals! I love animals, they don’t talk back or give you any sh*t, they tick all of the boxes. I used to want to be a dog handler before I realised how much hard work it would be.
What are the most important considerations when crafting your menu?
Sustainability is a massive factor right now, especially as we’re all trying our hardest to do our best for the environment. All of the packing for our Heat At Home kits is recyclable or biodegradable, or sustainable in whichever way we can get it. Flavour and supporting independent businesses are also really important.
Do your personal preferences influence your menu?
I’d be lying if I said no! I don’t like snails, so I don’t use them in my menus. But if somebody asked me to cook them, I would give it a go!
What do you think is the most overrated food trend?
TikTok food trends, especially the ‘shortcut food tips’ where people are mixing pasta with things like Nutella. They wind me up!
What dish are you most proud of and why?
My banana and Yuzu dessert. It’s one that will always stick out as it did really well on Masterchef. I had worked on it for months and months, and every time I make it now and someone eats it, I can see their face light up.