Q&A: HEAD CHEF GUY EDWARDS, LITTLEOVER LODGE, DERBY

Derby’s dining scene continues to grow, much to my delight. As new restaurants set up in Derby, we must not forget already established eateries that have been going strong. Of course this new influx will keep the current guard on their toes; one such eatery that is embracing the challenge and stepping up to the plate (forgive the pun) is Littleover Lodge.

I was thrilled to catch up with Guy Edwards, Head Chef at Littleover Lodge. I was blown away by this wonderfully loquacious, passionate chef whose laser focus on creating standout dishes and providing the best dining experience makes him stand out from the crowd. This is one chef to watch for sure (I wouldn’t be surprised to see him gracing our screens on MasterChef et al).

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am husband to a very understanding wife (Lisa), father to my beautiful daughter (Maisy) and I’m soon to be a father again. I’d like to think I have fresh and optimistic views in both my personal and professional life. Having fun and making memories is a must. It may sound a bit of a cliché, but I try to live by the saying “you only get out what you put in”. This is something my first head chef told me at the tender age of 14.

Littleover Lodge Derby dining

Goats cheese croquettes, beetroot and red wine purée, smoothed carrot and coriander, avocado and chestnut mushrooms.

How did you come to be at Littleover Lodge?

Having not closed my CV on a local job website, I received an email from Nick (the GM) asking for a chat. We had a coffee, spoke about where we would like to be in 12 months. It was clear we both had the same ideas, motivation and passion to succeed. The rest is as they say history.

Have you always been passionate about food?

From baking with my nan, to skipping school so I could stuff garlic mushrooms, and having my own menu published, yes I can say that I have always been passionate about food. I love what I do and will continue wanting to achieve, learn and create more.

What do you think of the dining scene in Derby?

Derby is starting to finally get some recognition for its diverse and fine eating establishments. The pressure really is on to provide fresh, innovative and good honest food, with some great independent restaurants shooting up…. game on!!!

What do you think Littleover Lodge can bring to Derby’s dining scene?

The lodge can certainly instil confidence in guests, who will dine here knowing that the food is locally sourced, prepped, cooked and presented with great care and passion.

Littleover Lodge Derby dining

Blackened swordfish steak, saffron potatoes, Mediterranean vegetables, chilli infused tomato passata.

How do you want people to feel when they’re tucking into your dishes?

I want my guests to feel individual. That their meal was cooked only for them, not just a table of 6, but for them as our guest. I want them leaving Littleover Lodge already planning their next gastronomical journey with us.

What would you say to someone who loves cooking and wants to bring it to a larger audience?

Have no fear. If you want to do it, you can. Every mistake is part of the education.

Can confidence in the kitchen be learnt? If so, how?

Everyone has confidence, some know it, some need nurturing. With the right leader, coach and environment, confidence will flow.

Back wrapped cod lion, crushed new potatoes, British asparagus and prawn, lemon cream.

Back wrapped cod lion, crushed new potatoes, British asparagus and prawn, lemon cream.

What inspires you in the kitchen and how long does it take to create a menu (starter, main, dessert)?

For me, I can create a menu in one hour or one week. Once that creation hits you, you just know. I love to start with a simple idea and then let ideas run wild.

Cookery shows like MasterChef and Saturday Kitchen are game-changers; it is now very fashionable to get creative in the kitchen. What do you think of this cooking / baking revolution?

It can only be good for the evolution of the food industry. It never stands still which keeps chefs on their toes and our guests’ palette craving new tastes.

What cooking trends have you encountered this year? Any new ingredients you can tell us about, that you love working with?

To be totally honest, I try not to follow trends. Of course, certain techniques, ingredients and the season dictate to some degree what you produce. But as far as creating and discovering, micro-herbs, vegetables and fruit are great to have fun with.

What would be your last supper?

Curry mix and chicken mushroom pie.

Are there any chefs that inspire you, or whom you admire?

Marco Pierre White is a standout chef. Methodical, calculated and a presence where you’re not too sure if he’s plotting a masterpiece or about to reduce the next person to tears.

Do you own any cookery books?

Actually, I don’t. I’ve read autobiographies but cookery books are someone else’s creations, it’s their flavours and ideas not mine.

Littleover Lodge Derby dining

Red wine and garden herd braised lamb shank, red current jus, chive mash and roast garden vegetables.

Food critics – are they friend or foe?

100% friend. Yes they can have an impact on a business, positive or negative. But if you’re good and confident in what you do, what is there to worry about?

Michelin star or AA Rosette – which is better?

Any accolade is an amazing achievement. The biggest accolade is that your restaurant is full day in day out and the guests leave full, happy and already booking their return.

I know Guy has some very exciting plans for Littleover Lodge including a vegan night, so watch this space. To enjoy Guy’s dishes and discover more about Littleover Lodge, please go to the website now.

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