Flash-grilled: Kuba Winkowski

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Flash-grilled with chef Kuba Winkowski

Related tags Chef Restaurant Cotswolds

Kuba Winkowski, who recently stepped down from his role as head chef at The Feathered Nest Country Inn in the Cotswolds, was named Craft Guild’s National Chef of the Year 2019.

What was your first job?
Typing data for courier company.

What is your guiltiest food pleasure?​  
Cheese and ice cream. 

What’s the best restaurant meal you’ve ever had?
Has to be my first visit to Gordon Ramsey's flagship on Royal Hospital Road.

What industry figure do you most admire, and why?
Raymond Blanc. He is a genius. I was lucky enough to work in Le Manoir aux quat'saison and I experienced his energy, passion and drive first handed. His legacy is huge; he changed the UK cooking scene forever.

If you weren’t in kitchens, what would you do?
I have a degree in Financial Management, so if I wasn’t in the kitchen I would probably in some small office staring at numbers and eating chocolates. 

What is your biggest regret?
Sometimes I regret that I didn’t cook at an earlier age, so I could then have travelled the world to work in different countries a little bit more.  

Pet hate in the kitchen?
Chefs dragging their feet as they walk. 

What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?
That my name should be Jean-Christophe as it would be easier to pronounce and remember. 

What’s the dish you wish you’d thought of?
Big Mac.

Describe your cooking style in three words
Fresh, pure, and delicious 

Most overrated food?
Foie gras.

Restaurant dictator for a day – what would you ban?
I would ban people from changing their dietary requirements halfway through the meal. There is nothing more frustrating when, after preparing a whole special menu for a guest, they decide to go for a dessert which is full of ingredients they supposed to be allergic to.  

What’s the worst review you’ve ever had?
I don't recall any seriously bad reviews. There are few bad ones on Trip Advisor but who cares about those...

If you could cook for anyone in the world who would you pick, and why?
Mick Jagger. I love his music and I would really like to hear his stories.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
My advice would be to push yourself, don’t give up, learn to listen and find yourself a great mentor.

Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
Meat grinder.

What do you cook at home on your days off?
I like to prepare simple things that can cook at the same time together, like roast chicken with vegetables, or some kind of ramen.

What’s your earliest food memory?
The lunch we used to have every Friday: chips, fried egg and spinach.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Follow your dream, and to stick to your beliefs.

What’s the closest you’ve ever come to death?
When I fell asleep driving a car on German motorway. Luckily the sound of crossing through the lines woke me up. 

Where do you go when you want to let your hair down?
I like to go for a drink or two with some close friends.

Tipple of choice?
Either cold lager or a gin and tonic

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
A super-crispy pizza from a wood-fired oven, topped with artisan charcuterie, buffalo mozzarella and basil.

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