Meet the Chef - Tyrone Blake, Blue Smoke on the Bay, Windermere
PUBLISHED: 00:00 12 June 2018
Tyrone Blake is Head Chef at Blue Smoke on the Bay, in Windermere. Here he gives us a little insight into his journey to becoming a chef in the UK and what it is like in front of the grill at the newest Low Wood Bay dining experience.
Tyrone, Head Chef of the fabulous new Blue Smoke on the Bay restaurant is very comfortable cooking on wood. It reminds him of large family cook-outs with his Grandma back home in the beautiful port town of Ocho Rios, a fishing village on the north coast of Jamaica.
What are your memories of the family cook-outs?
We’d call it ‘Run a Boat’, when everybody would contribute something to the barbeque feast. Fresh fish were plentiful so usually took centre stage. What transformed the cooking was always the spice. My first signature dish, which is probably fairly predictable, was Rice, Peas and Jerk Chicken, but it was made special by the Scotch Bonnet Rub that we had perfected as a family recipe.
When did you get serious about cooking as a career?
I started being serious about cooking from the age of 14, working for a catering company after school. Sometimes I would work into the small hours, then grab a couple of hours sleep before heading out to school. This was my first experience of kitchens and from then I knew that this was what I wanted to do with my life. From then on my wages were saved to put myself through catering college.
What happened after catering college?
After college I had various jobs - Chef de Partie at an Italian Restaurant, Head Chef at a local restaurant and then for a time I ran my own restaurant serving international cuisine. In 2001 I spread my wings and worked for the Sands Hotel in Australia, which was just on a different scale to anything I had seen before. Five years later I was heading for the UK and started working for English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues in 2006.
So what has happened since joining English Lakes?
I did some further training locally at Kendal College and after a fairly intense cook-off became their Chef of the Year in 2008. I have enjoyed working in the main kitchen at Low Wood Bay for a long time but in the first few days of Blue Smoke on the Bay opening, when the team was being established, I was asked to do a shift to help out. As soon as I got in front of that grill, strong memories of cooking Chicken Back and Green Papaya with my Grandma came flooding back. Cooking on wood felt instinctive and very natural. I knew this was where I wanted to be.
What do you like most about your job?
I love it when our guests like to have a chat and are interested in what we are cooking. A couple from Liverpool had brought their young son and he was delighted that we cooked his favourite lamb skewers just for him. In fact, they stayed an extra night to have it again.
Blue Smoke on the Bay at Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa is open for brunch, lunch and dinner every day. Go along, meet Tyrone and the team, and experience its fabulous setting and the wonderful wood-cooked cuisine.
englishlakes.co.uk/low-wood-bay 01539 433 338