Meet the Chef - Andrew Owen, Individual Restaurants
PUBLISHED: 00:00 03 September 2016
Andrew Owen is head of food development for Individual Restaurants
Tell us a bit about yourself. When did you first get involved in cooking? How did you get started as a chef?
I have always had a love for food and cooking, but I never considered it as a career until I decided to leave my job in advertising, to travel by bicycle around Europe and Asia. Whilst away I had many great experiences but, for me, the most lasting impression was the food and all its diverse ingredients and flavours. On my return my mind was made up: I wanted to be a chef.
Before joining Individual Restaurants 15 years ago, I worked at Heathcote’s, where I was inspired by the many talented chefs I worked alongside. We often had guest chefs at the restaurant cooking their own menus (Albert Roux, Gary Rhodes and John Torode to name a few) and each experience left a lasting impression.
What is your signature dish? Why?
One of my favourite signature dishes at Piccolino is the Spaghetti Vongole, steamed clams with white wine, chilli and garlic, it’s simplicity at its best.
If there was anyone in the world you could cook for who would it be and why?
Honestly, I just love to cook for my family; it’s not often we all get together so when we do it’s a real occasion.
What do you eat at home?
I love fresh seafood and on my travels I picked up a Cataplana, which is a beautifully crafted domed pan made in copper and lined with tin. It is great for preparing traditional Portuguese seafood stews, baked in the oven and served straight to the table for sharing.
What is the kitchen ingredient no-one should be without?
Garlic, I love it.
If you could dine at any restaurant in the world which one would it be?
I haven’t been to NYC for a while, but I would love to get back there soon and visit the spice market or Mario Batali’s Del Posto restaurant.
What would you eat for your last meal?
This is a difficult one, as there are so many dishes to choose from. I think it would have to be seafood stew, somewhere warm and by the sea, or maybe just fried duck eggs on sourdough toast - I love local fresh eggs.
What do you do to relax?
Cycling. I love to get away from it all every now and then, and escaping by bicycle can be fun.