The Tastemaker interviews Tim Turner, chef for Jockey Club Rooms.

Maintaining standards is crucial for returning patronage. What factors are necessary to achieve this?

Fresh good quality produce. Iíve found that customers are interested in knowing the provenance of the food they are eating and it is important for me to use local suppliers as much as possible to source the ingredients. Establishing and maintaining good working relationships with suppliers is therefore the key.

Creating the right ambiance also encourages returning patronage and fundamental to this is good customer service. Effective communication between front of house and kitchen staff is also essential to ensuring that the dinersí overall experience is a pleasurable one. Being responsive to customers feedback also encourages repeat business, as well innovation and theatrics of modern cooking techniques and presentation.

 

Society has developed so that it is not necessary to cook at home. Do you think that traditional, homemade cooking will soon become obsolete?

In my opinion, busy lifestyles and readily accessible convenience food discourages people from spending time preparing and cooking traditional homemade meals. It would appear that in some countries, such as Italy, there is a greater emphasis placed on tradition and family meal times. However, I do not consider that home-made cooking will become obsolete, on the contrary; there is likely to be a revival as families try to save money in a difficult economic climate.

 

An organic produce hype combined with increased media coverage on sustainability has recently highlighted the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility for restaurants. Do you think that organic produce will become
mainstream and integral to maintain a successful restaurant?

Organic produce is considerably more expensive and customers continue to appear divided on whether there is any additional nutritional benefit. For organic food consumption to become more mainstream there would need to be a reduction in the price of the produce. In my view, customers are more conscious about whether meat and poultry is ethically reared rather than if it is organic and so I do not consider organic food integral to maintaining a successful restaurant.

 

What would you say is the most traditional English dish? Which typical English dish is the most popular at The Jockey Club?

Steak and kidney pudding and roast beef is the most popular dish with The Jockey Club members.

 

Who has been the greatest influence and inspiration in your culinary career?

At the age of 15 I undertook work experience at the Colchester Mill Hotel, under the direction of the head chef David Hart. He taught me knife skills and the fundamentals of classic cooking and really inspired me to pursue a culinary career.

What has been your greatest success? What has been your greatest disaster?

My greatest culinary success include cooking for the royal family and winning my first AA rosette at the age of 22 . My greatest culinary disaster was as a commis chef on Robert Burns night. Inexperience led me to testing the temperature of the haggis by poking a skewer into the intestine casing which ruptured the haggis resulting in the filling being served in bowls rather than customers observing the grandeur of the haggis being cut open to the sound of the Bagpipes.

 

The Jockey Club Rooms

www.jockeyclubrooms.co.uk

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