One of the things I love about what I do, is getting to know some very cool bods. This time, I got chatting to Josh Donachie, MasterChef finalist and Head Chef at Cellar Door Hereford. Here is what he had to say about his passion for cooking, favourite ingredients, and the dining scene in Hereford. I only wish Hereford was closer to home, I would love to pop in to check out Josh’s awesome dishes. I think a road-trip beckons. *gets thinking cap on*
Hey Josh, thank you for your time. You’re Head Chef at Cellar Door. What is your cooking background?
I started at a very young age. I had a part time job whilst at school, and I’ve always strived to be the best. I’ve worked in some great establishments over the UK to get to where I am today.
What is the dining scene like in Hereford?
The dining scene in Hereford is very up and coming and there seems to be a massive interest in independent businesses. There are lots of great local produce within the area and people are interested in every last detail.
Have you always been passionate about food?
From a very early age I have been passionate about food. My first inspiration was my grandfather. I always used to be fascinated when he was cooking as he always used fresh produce. Then the rise of cookery shows got me seriously interested and I knew this is what I wanted to do.
What is your favourite ingredient that you absolutely cannot do without?
My favourite ingredient I would say is chives, I love the flavour you get. In the restaurant we make a chive oil, which is such a clean flavour. I love using my favourite rapeseed oil from Bennett and Dunn, it’s amazing (any chef would be silly not to try or use them). But also I love cheese and I get great cheeses from fantastic suppliers in Mr Moyden’s. He even made a bespoke cheese for me to use, which has great depth and flavour.
What do you think of AA rosettes or Michelin stars? Which one would you prefer?
I think that accolades are important, having worked in high end restaurants. It’s nice to be recognised with them. Having previously held two rosettes in previous Head Chef roles, it’s great that they keep you focused. What would I prefer? I think both are great. It is most chefs’ dreams to get a star, but I’m humble and want happy customers – if the accolades come, that is great.
What cooking trends have you encountered this year? Any new ingredients you can tell us about?
I love using natural ingredients and getting the best flavour out of them. At Cellar Door, we grow some of our produce, so farm to plate is amazing. I think about every last detail when creating a dish – and watching it grow and then be picked is amazing.
What would be your last supper?
My last supper would probably have to be a tasting menu which I had at L’Enclume. Three years on since eating there, it is still the best meal I have ever eaten.
What do you think of cookery programmes such as MasterChef, Great British Bake-Off?
I think cookery programmes can be good or bad. Having experienced it, there is a massive buzz and the pressure is insane. I think it has worked out well for me and I would love to give Great British Menu a go.
Are there any chefs that inspire you, or whom you admire?
I get inspiration from many chefs all over the world. I love how Dan Barber talks about food. A massive inspiration for me is Magnus Nilsson from Fäviken; the way he thinks about food is very clever and the flavours are incredible. Also, people I work alongside inspire me. For example, former colleague James Sherwin – we used to inspire each other and always experimented with new dishes together.
Do you have any cookery books?
I have a fair few cookery books as I think most chefs do. My favourites at the moment are Fäviken, Relae, Coi and North.