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Blog #3: Q&A with Jim Hayward - Group Development Chef

February 2014

How did you get where you are now?
A lot of blood, sweat and tears!
Who is your greatest inspiration?
Got into the whole river café ethos pretty early on in my career, love a bit of HFW and Skye Gyngell and what they all stand for. 
On a more technical and modern approach, l am very much into the home grown (born in Southampton) talent of Simon Rogan & the Gastro punk spirit of Ben Spalding. Absolutely love The Nordic styles of Magnus Nilsson & René Redzipi as they make very good use of ingredients and techniques that have been forgotten or ignored, all of whom I have met and have left a lasting impression on me.    
What are your top tips for an aspiring chef?
Be like a sponge, soak it all in. Ask the right questions. Read as many books as you can, knowledge is power! Never give up, never think you know everything, we’re all commis  . . .
If you weren't a chef, what career would you have chosen?
Anything practical & creative, couldn’t imagine being cooped up in an office Mon-Fri 9-5 - boring! 
What has been your greatest career achievement to date?
Gaining a second rosette in my first year with Ideal Collection as Head Chef of the White Star Tavern, then receiving a cooking score of 2 in the GFG the following year. 
What is your favourite ingredient?
Anything foraged, especially if I manage to find myself. Discovered pineapple weed last summer (it’s everywhere once you tune into them, great for sorbet). If I had to name just one thing New Forest penny buns (cep/porcini) signals a great time of the year too!
What would be your 'last super'?
Box of Oysters with the family on an awesome surf beach, probably west coast France, food memories! (Maybe something cold & crisp to wash them down with!) 
Where do you eat on your night off?
Getting out can be tricky with juggling the hours I work and a father of 3 (soon to be 4!)
Last amazing meal out was at Roganic, just before they closed. On my wish list to try soon is restaurant Story, Clove Club & Kitchen Table. Other great meals in recent times locally have been at the Pig in the New Forest and the Black Rat, Winchester. Failing that an awesome proper wood fired pizza from the end of my road in Bournemouth!  

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