Our Development Chef, Gary, is a very busy man, but he has spared us some of time so we could ask him the following questions:
Name: Gary Anderson
Job role: Consultant Development Chef
What first attracted you to the food industry?
I Started off washing up – as many do – and found the work to be sociable. I’ve always loved food and used to write our ‘menu’ for Sunday lunch at home when I was a child. I’ve always enjoyed providing food and hospitality to people
Do you have a preference for the type of products you develop?
I’m a big fan of traditional food – be it British, Italian, Indian – anything that has classic, tried and tested flavour combinations
What is your biggest achievement to date?
Judging at the World Cheese Awards 2009 and 2010
What do you think are the 3 most important factors in being able to deliver successful customer briefs?
Read the entire brief first! It often surprises me when people start work on a project after just reading the first page.
Direct lines of communication with the customer – on a daily basis if necessary – are also key
Most of the recipes need to be scalable as they will be produced in a factory environment. It’s all very well to take a ‘chef’s view’ and to ‘eyeball’ ingredients but in practical application, the scale is mightier than the eye!
Who is your biggest professional influence and why?
My first boss, Andrew Millar. He taught me so much about hard work. He left school with few qualifications and is now living in the south of France
How do you deal with difficult clients?
It’s important to rationalise and understand why they are being difficult. If there is a genuine issue then rectifying the problem quickly is important. If I feel that there isn’t an issue then calm discussion is always the best way!
Where do you seek inspiration for the products you develop?
There are so many TV shows and programmes that can help. Eating out regularly also keeps me up to date with new trends and techniques. I also look to books of the past when chefs and cooks were more restricted in the products they could use – sometimes less is more!
Have you got a restaurant recommendation for us?
Where I live in Birmingham there are now five Michelin starred restaurants so in terms of those I’d say Purnell’s every time. On a budget, there’s a family run Vietnamese-Chinese place called Min Min noodles which is wonderful
Where would you like to be in 5 year’s time?
If I haven’t won the lottery I’d like to be developing more of my own ideas, working with great ingredients!
What would you like as your epitaph?
‘You could always eat’
How do you relax outside of work?
When you have worked with food and beverages all your life you arrive at a point at which your work and social life blend into one, so eating and drinking are always up there! I enjoy travelling within the UK – I don’t think we do this enough as a nation – it’s surprising how a British staple like a steak and kidney pie can change just by crossing a county border!
For more information on the work that Gary has been doing for Middledale Foods or any other enquiries please contact us.