Updated: Aug 26, 2022
Ian has recently joined us at Green Farm and we couldn't be more delighted. We thought you'd like to get to know Ian a bit more so we asked him a few questions about his passions, experience, values and most importantly his food! We even asked him what would be his last meal, what would yours be? Let us know in the comments.
Hi Ian! Tell us a bit about you and your career in food.
Over the last 21 years, I have worked in some of the top restaurants and hotels around the country, including 7 years within Michelin stared kitchens, 5 years in 5-star hotels, 2 years heading up the food and hospitality operation at EY London, and opening the restaurant in the executive suite. I have travelled and worked in various countries across the world and most recently spent the last 5 years working in one of the best cookery schools in the world, Le Cordon Bleu. I am now launching my own company ‘Bear n Mind Catering’ where we will focus on healthy eating, increasing the diversity of ingredients in our meals and spoiling ourselves with dining for special occasions!
Where does your passion for food lie?
"The discovery of a new dish confers more happiness on humanity, than the discovery of a new star" Brillat Savarin 18th century author of The Physiology of Taste. Sharing food runs through the heart of every culture.
There is nothing better than spending time sharing food with friends and loved ones. My passion for cooking is rooted throughout my life, be that through my wife’s family in farming and cheese making or as a child cooking with my grandmother and harvesting onions and potatoes with my father.
The scent of a tomato, zesty raw green beans, fiery watercress, creamy cobnuts, sweet scallops, the burst of citrus fruit, richness of olive oil and butter. The ingredients that I cook with are of the greatest respect, and vital to the creation of a meal. Great food really is good for the mind and soul.
You say you have your own allotment, what do you think of our Community Garden?
I am lucky to have a small allotment that I tend to, my children and I regularly spend time during the seasons planting, watering and picking, I think it’s so important that the next generation understands food, nature and its importance. The Community Garden is another level, I can’t wait to get involved with the Pearce Coggan Foundation, I will have to tell my kids they can’t dig any big holes there though!
What is your mission as a cook?
Over the past few years, I have had an awakening through the power of food. I am on a mission to increase diversification in our diets and awaken the joy of eating vegetables with a focus on eating quality meat and fish.
It is always important to spoil ourselves once in a while by indulging in a luxury feast, but now my mission is to spread the word that healthy food isn’t boring and we can really look after our bodies and minds with what we eat.
What drew you to Green Farm?
The moment I came to Green Farm I knew we had to work together, our values align. The focus on mind and body, the integrity of ingredients and the importance of health are true to my values and the values of Bear n Mind.
What can guests visiting Green Farm expect from your food?
Join me in sharing good food, which is great for the body and great for the mind.
I will be serving dishes that focused on the exceptional Community Garden, there are no better quality vegetables than the ones grown in harmony with nature. I will be focusing on big flavours, served in harmony with the truly sustainable meat of fish. Ingredient diversity is something I strongly believe in; you can expect world cuisine using the exceptional quality of produce of Green Farm. In essence, the champion of the show will be the produce that Green Farm nurture, I will be using some other ingredients to enhance them but the focus will be quality and must be sustainable.
What is your POV on the future of farming/food production?
It’s time for change! If we change what we eat and how we grow it, as a nation our health will improve.
Our ancestors knew the importance of what we eat, but somehow as a nation, we have gone backwards, we need to focus on quality/diversity instead of quantity and fast food.
What is your fondest food memory?
Some of my best memories of food are from when I was travelling in Malaysia and Thailand, the flavours and simplicity of ingredients but complex flavour! I had a pumpkin curry in south Thailand from a street stall which blew my mind! Never had one that good since!!
But my fondest memory has to be toasted sandwiches at my Grandmother's, listening to the electric knife my grandfather used to slice the recently cooked ham joint with, the smell of the burning grease from the prehistoric toasty machine, (which I have never seen one quite like, to this day) all my cousins, family and I eating from a huge pile of these crispy, buttery toasted sarnies in the middle of the table; each one of us burning the roofs of our mouths on the molten Branston pickle and the red hot stringy elastic cheddar. This is a memory I hope to have forever.
Best cuisine or dish if you had to pick one and why?
I find the Mediterranean diet fascinating, it’s so diverse, covering so many countries and produce. It's clean, and simple but has complex flavours at the same time. You could be eating light and fresh, hot and spicy, rich and hearty. It's everything that I love about clean and healthy food.
What do you cook if you need a fast, healthy dinner?
I make a quick salad, I have some wild garlic pesto that I keep in my freezer from the Spring, that I mix with natural yoghurt. My children love broccoli and green beans so we always have those when in season, but any green vegetables from my fridge will do, a tin of pulses (e.g haricot blanc), some nuts and seeds maybe some brown rice if I have some, a boiled egg and some chilli flakes.
It's quick but importantly minimal washing up!
What would be your last meal?
Roasted lamb chump, as great lamb has me on my knees. Served with potato dauphinoise, salsa verde and jus!
Nothing complicated, but beautiful meat, the complexity of herbs and anchovies dressing and the luxury potato dauphinoise.
What about your new role are you most excited about?
I’m looking forward to exploring the garden and surrounding lands to start foraging, let’s see what nature can provide to our plates.