Flash-grilled: Jean-Didier Gouges

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Head chef of Park Corner Brasserie at London Hilton Jean-Didier Gouges on getting his first kitchen job at 17

Related tags Hilton Chefs Fine dining Hotel London Restaurant

The head chef of the recently-launched Park Corner Brasserie at London Hilton on getting his first kitchen job at 17, building a chef identity, and the professional benefits of Instagram.

What was your first industry job?
I began when I was 17 as an apprentice chef in hotels in Mauritius.

If you weren’t in kitchens, what would you do?
Probably something that still required high energy and precision… I’m addicted!

What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?
A customer who told me they really liked my beef tartare dish when it was a tuna tartare.

Sum up your cooking style in a single sentence…
Modern illusions that take people on a journey.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
Be a sponge and absorb the good and the bad, build your own identity and never give up!

Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
Spatula - it's absolutely essential.

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
Papaya salad, definitely.

À la carte or tasting menu?
Tasting menu; I like to experience as many flavours as possible in one sitting.

What’s your favourite fast food joint?
Five Guys; it never fails and I love how they don’t scrimp on the fries.

MasterChef or Great British Menu?
Great British Menu – the whole battle element to create good food is still a treat to watch.

Who would your dream dinner party guests be?
Someone who is not near me anymore and I miss very much.

What’s your earliest food memory?
I think scrambled eggs have a place in any decent chef’s heart… I clearly remember my godfather cooking an Asian scrambled eggs with carrots, prawns, ginger and spring onions – the best.

Twitter or Instagram?
Instagram - it’s always good for inspiration.

What’s the closest you’ve ever come to death?
I laugh at danger.

Where do you go when you want to let your hair down?
Back to nature… or Hyde Park at least, which is thankfully across the street from Park Corner Brasserie!

What’s your favourite food and drink pairing?
Japanese food with a nice sake.

What do you consider to be your signature dish?
This is a very hard question, because most of my dishes are special to me… they’re all my signatures!

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