Meet our Head Chef, Adam. If you know him, you’ll know he’s serious about the food he creates.
Adam is the talent behind our delicious food menus at Scoresby Street. Showcasing high quality, inventive food that champions seasonality and sustainability in British produce. He’s been responsible for the creation and continual development of our food offer since opening in 2018 and we recently sat down with him to catch up on all things day-to-day at the shop, his journey into cheffing and what he’s interested in away from the kitchen.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where do you come from and how did your career in food start?
I grew up just outside of London in Hertfordshire. My journey into food was a bit of slow evolution but the main catalyst was when I met and became friends with a chef called Magnus Reid in 2010.
My first expeirience of cooking for paying guests was doing a pop up supper club on Ridley Road Market, Dalston. I loved the experience and reached out to Magnus shortly after to get his advice on how to begin a career in food. I was thinking…“Should I go to cookery school and start there as a base? Or just start off in a kitchen?" Magnus then offered me a role as a kitchen porter and prep chef at The Rooftop Café, London Bridge.
After five months I was cooking full time as a commis chef and continued to progress there until its closure in 2015. Following this, I decided to do a full time Cordon Bleu diploma for six months. This helped fast track my career and when I completed the diploma I immediately began working in a Head Chef role, utilising all the new knowledge I had attained.
What brought you here, to Origin?
I worked for Magnus again as the Head Chef for Cream, Shoreditch. The manager there left to join Origin and a short while later, we caught up and he mentioned that Origin were looking for a chef for a their new location. He mentioned Origin were going to be starting from scratch with their food offer and the opportunity to build and shape an offer around the ethos and attention to detail Origin have was too good to turn down.
Can you describe your role at Origin and your food philosophy? What are you up to day-to-day?
My role as Head Chef involves overseeing the food offer across all of Origins locations in London, with my main day-to-day focus on Scoresby Street. I believe in running seasonal and sustainable menus, supporting small scale producers and working with them to source delicious produce. I enjoy having a constant dialogue with our producers and this enables me to fully understand their operation and support them through any difficulties they come up against. Working with lots of suppliers in London allows me to put a face to the name of the person I’m working with, offering as much traceability as possible. I’ve always tried to align my approach to sourcing food with Origins approach to sourcing coffee.
So, tell us more about your approach to food - the shop menus are incredible and we’re always excited to see what’s coming next. Where do you start when you’re constructing a menu for the shop?
Thank you. I’m really pleased with how we’ve developd our menus and offering since we opened. Instagram is now a great place to gather ideas and inspiration, along with getting a feel for food trends. I also have a rather extensive selection of cookery books which I enjoy flicking through from time to time. Usually the starting point will be one main ingredient that I want to showcase – whether it’s the best in season or I’ve found a new supplier I’d like to begin working with. Once that foundation is in place I then put together the building blocks of the dish, considering balance of flavour, textures and colours through to the finished result.
How’s your role changed since starting here?
My role has developd from being in a kitchen on my own and focussing on one location to looking after the food requirements at the other London sites and having a team to support me in delivering great food across all of our locations.
What is it about your career in food that drives you?
Each day is different and offers the opportunity to try out or learn something new. Food is always evolving, be that through trends, what people want to eat and the things they place most importance on are changing all the time. This keeps things varied and fresh, ensuring our food offering is relevant and exciting at all times.
Southwark is a special place. What do you think is unique about the local community there?
There seems to be a real willingness to support businesses in the area, largely from other businesses in the area. The Southwark Local Business Awards do a great job of promoting the great services and industry available across Southwark and we were very proud to win the ‘Business of the Year’ as well as “Best Food and Drink” at this years awards.
Can you remember the first food experience that excited you?
My Grandad took me to Paris when I was a child and we went to an amazing restaurant. The décor was beautiful, with great service and I ordered garlic snails, which as a child blew my mind.
When you’re not in the kitchen, what do you like to do in your free time?
I’m currently preparing for the birth of my first child, so there’s lots of decorating and organising to be done. I enjoy taking my little rescue Jack Chi-Rex for walks when I am off and away from the kitchen.
Having an appreciation for the skill and the dedication the competitors have in competitions like ‘Great British Menu”, “Masterchef” and “Great British Bake Off” adds an extra level when I watch food programs. I absolutely love “Chefs Table” on Netflix and two of the chefs featured on volume two have become two of my heroes. Alex Atala is an amazing chef, spear fishes and does martial arts. He has set up amazing social projects in the Amazon to supply his and other restaurants, along with offering job opportunities to communities away from logging or mining in the Amazon. Dominique Crenn was the first female chef to receive two Michelin Stars in the US and she’s bravely been battling cancer whilst launching her amazing campaign 'Wake Up', asking people to make one small change towards being more sustainable, along with being one of the strongest voices on gender equality in restaurants.
You can read more about Scoresby Street and view our current sample menu Adam’s been working on at the shop here.