Flash-grilled: Ashley Tinoco

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

Ashley Tinoco head chef Sam's Riverside

Related tags Sam’s Riverside Ashley Tinoco Chefs

The head chef of Sam’s Riverside in Hammersmith on growing up in Goa, Gordon Ramsay and The Fat Duck.

What was your first industry job?
An apprentice at the Tata Group’s Taj Holiday Village in Goa.

If you weren’t in kitchens, what would you do?
Something that involves the sea. As a child, I wanted to be in the navy.

What industry figure do you most admire, and why?
Gordon Ramsay – I like his bold nature, and he built his career from scratch which is inspiring.

Pet hate in the kitchen?
Mess! I like to cook clean – when there’s mess in the kitchen, things go wrong.

What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?
Someone ordered hake and said it was too fishy.

Sum up your cooking style in a single sentence...
Contemporary, clean, and sharp flavours.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
It’s hard work, but if you hone your skills and are motivated, you can really grow and develop your career.

Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
My Thermomix – I use it all the time. 

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
A Goan fish curry.

À la carte or tasting menu?
À la carte.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had in a restaurant?
The tasting menu at The Fat Duck in 2018.

Favourite fast food joint?
Anything Chinese!

What’s the dish you wish you’d thought of?
Lobster Thermidor.

MasterChef or Great British Menu?
Great British Menu.

Most overrated food?
Truffle and truffle oil – they’re overused.

Restaurant dictator for a day – what would you ban?
Customers who try to create their own dishes rather than sticking to the menu. 

Who would your dream dinner party guests be?
Gordon Ramsay, Heston Blumenthal, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and my wife.

What’s your earliest food memory?
Eating my mum’s prawn curry, when I was about six.

Twitter or Instagram?

What’s the closest you’ve ever come to death?
As a teenager I was riding my bike in Goa, and the brakes failed uncomfortably close to the edge of a cliff.

Where do you go when you want to let your hair down?
Any beach!

Tipple of choice?
Glenfiddich on the rocks.

Favourite food and drink pairing?
Sausages and whiskey!

What do you consider your signature dish?
A good piece of fish, like Dover sole. Or my mum’s Goan prawn curry, which we sell at our shop, Sam’s Larder.

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