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Out Of The Frying Pan: Sam Everett, Harvey Nichols, 2nd Floor Restaurant

David Blake on what keeps a chef cooking

Written by . Published on April 2nd 2013.


Out Of The Frying Pan: Sam Everett, Harvey Nichols, 2nd Floor Restaurant
 

HAVING laboured and toiled within Michelin star kitchens, Sam Everett took up a position at Manchester’s Harvey Nichols in 2007 and hasn't looked back since. The purveyor of the world’s most luxurious brands also happen to possess a damn fine grubbery.

What’s your favourite dish on the present menu?
Well for starters I’d have to say the seared tuna. It’s a really fresh fish from our supplier in Fleetwood given a hint of Asian inspiration with wasabi, coriander and tartar. For the main course I’d go for the roasted duck served with crackling and smoked egg. Again it’s a local meat from a local supplier.

What’s your favourite dessert?
Right now it’d probably have to be the rhubarb and custard, it’s just gone on the menu. We source delicious rhubarb from Yorkshire and serve it with a vanilla panna cotta, custard, rhubarb ice cream and a little bit of ginger.

RhubarbRhubarb

What’s your favourite fruit?
I’d have to go with a mango. It brings back childhood memories for me. My Dad was a music teacher and gained a contract to go over and work in the Caribbean. So from the age of four to eight I lived in the Caribbean and just remember eating the biggest, most ripe, fresh and juicy mangoes. It’s a very fond memory for me.

What’s your favourite vegetable?
This one's a tad tricky as it depends on the season really. If I had to pick I’d say the onion. Any onion that is roasted has a really beautiful sweetness to it.

And your favourite takeaway?
Indian I reckon. I’d always have to go for curries. I think you’d be very surprised by how much a chef can enjoy a good takeaway now and then.

Why did you become a chef?
I trained as a Geologist. I was very interested in it and I loved it. I studied Geology at Cardiff University and then a friend and I travelled to Australia to find a job. As it turned out Australia didn't need any geologists so we spent the next 10 months or so travelling around. When I returned home to Cornwall I was skint and in dire need of a job. I saw an advert for a kitchen assistant so applied, it just seemed much more interesting than working in a petrol station. It was just a one man show actually, just the one chef that I was helping out. So I kind of fell in to it but after that it was a natural progression, I got more and more involved as time went by. I think I particularly enjoyed becoming a chef down in Cornwall because of all the fresh produce I was working with.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
It’s the creative aspects, being able to put your own ideas on the plate. It’s cooking the food that you want to cook and cooking the food that you’re most interested in. At the moment it’s very much about the people I’m working with too. I have a great team here.

Second Floor Restaurant, Harvey NicholsSecond Floor Restaurant, Harvey Nichols

What do you least enjoy about your job?
I think it’s the same for most chefs. It’s the back office stuff, the paperwork, the admin, the stocks. Of course it’s all part of the job but as a chef all I really want is to be in the kitchen and cooking. That’s what it’s all about.

What has been the craziest moment of your career?
Probably doing the Chef’s Table in a restaurant called The Vineyard down near Newbury around 2006 to 2007. We had a week of it, on each day a different guest chef would come in and cook their menu alongside our own. They were all relatively high-profile chefs with 1 or 2 Michelin stars, so you can imagine it was all a bit daunting. As a Chef de partie or as a Pastry Chef these were all guys I looked up to and chefs that also carried a bit of a reputation. Having the chance to work for them was an amazing experience but very, very hectic. 

What’s your favourite piece of equipment in the kitchen?
It’s got to be our Thermomix. It’s essentially a mixer with temperature control but it’s probably my most useful piece of kit. It creates amazing ice cream puree. The ovens come in handy too.

Favourite place to eat outside your own restaurant, naturally?
I really just prefer the smaller and more informal places, like popping out for a bit of Tapas. It all depends on who you’re with but I do enjoy a more informal and relaxed atmosphere.

If you were stuck in the wilderness with one animal, what would it be?
A sheep probably, or a lamb more specifically. It’s probably my favourite meat to eat (and also handy if it’s a bit nippy and you need to fashion some knitwear).

Sheep: a chef's best friendSheep: a chef's best friend

Is it true that Chefs don’t like to cook at home?
I tend not to eat at home much to be honest. The hours that I work mean that most of the time I get home pretty late and just opt for a quick sandwich. You certainly wouldn't finish a shift and then go home and crack out a three courser. If I'm not working I'm quite happy to cook because it’s a completely different environment. The pressures aren't there.

What is your favourite meal ever?
Has to be a full English Breakfast on a lazy day off, there’s nothing like it.

What if you had to eat one thing for the rest of your life?
Roast lamb probably, but my wife doesn't eat any red meat so it’s not something that I get to enjoy very often. Being from Cornwall I also love fresh scallops. So lamb and scallops, though probably not together.

And one drink?
Vodka. My wife is Polish so I've been weaned on to more vodka. Straight up as well.

What would you be doing if you weren't a Chef?
Aside from a geologist I always fancied being an oceanographer. I think it was the appeal of walking along a tropical beach in the Bahamas counting starfish or tortoise. Not so much being on a boat amongst high winds and stormy seas.

What is the most complex dish you've ever made?
Right now our duck main course is a tricky one. It contains a slow-cooked smoked egg yolk. We crack the egg open, carefully place the yolk back in the shell and then smoke it. It’s incredibly fragile and prone to breaking. It’s quite a challenging and frustrating procedure when you’re sending out four and one ends up on the floor.

Have you cooked for anyone famous?
I'm not into the whole celebrity culture. I've supposedly cooked for a load of footballers and footballer’s wives but I'm not really in to football so I couldn't tell you who they were. The only person that comes to mind is that horse racing pundit, John McCririck (the eccentric mutton-chop sporting, deer-stalker hat wearing, cigar smoking, bespectacled one). Newbury racecourse was just down the road from us so I had to get up and cook him a full breakfast at five in the morning.

What is your proudest achievement to date?
This job. I started here five and a half years ago as a Junior Sous and now I'm the Head Chef. So yeah my progression here is certainly something I'm very proud of.

What are your aspirations for the future?
I’d either like to be where I am now or to possibly run my own business. I think for most chefs, in the long run, the idea of owning your own kitchen and restaurant is very appealing. I would quite like to get back to Cornwall eventually, where my family live.

CornwallCornwall

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Argen HaiApril 2nd 2013.

Oh he knows his onions

Hero
JeffApril 3rd 2013.

I went to the 2nd Floor Restaurant on Saturday night and it was pretty much a perfect experience. Sam's right about the tuna starter, it was amazing. I'll be saving up me pennies to go back as soon as I can.

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