Flash-grilled: Chris Boustead

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Chef patron at Linden Stores in Knutsford Chris Boustead on dealing with negative feedback and his kitchen pet peeves

Related tags Chris Boustead Laura Christie Linden Stores Restaurant Chef

The chef patron at Linden Stores in Knutsford, which he owns with her partner Laura Christie, on his dislike of avocado, dealing with negative feedback, and his kitchen pet peeves.

What was your first industry job?
My first job was in the sink at a local pub. My best mate at the time got me to cover his shift and I managed to get my foot in the door.

If you weren’t in kitchens, what would you do?
The kitchen has given me so much beyond just the cooking skills – structure, friendships, camaraderie – so I don’t like to think!

What industry figure do you most admire, and why?
Rather than a specific person I really admire those who keep going even when things don’t go their way. It’s a hard business and I really look up to those who keep their passion and get back up, after things haven’t worked out.

What’s your pet hate in the kitchen?
When people don’t unwrap the clingfilm off gastros and rip it open. Little thing, but drives me insane.

What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?
Usually it’s making me say names of dishes and laughing at my Yorkshire accent!

Sum up your cooking style in a single sentence…
Simple dishes, good seasonal produce done to a high standard

What’s the worst review you’ve ever had?
There isn’t one that stands out but any negative feedback is always hard to take when you are passionate and even a small comment will bug me for days.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
It can be tough to start with, but if you love it take your time finding the right place that will help you develop but also value you as a person.

Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
At the moment it’s the mandolin, but it changes all the time with the menu.

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
I’d keep it simple – a well aged medium rare Côte de Boeuf, triple cooked chips, English asparagus, hollandaise and blue cheese sauce. This is incidentally our family Christmas day meal!

À la carte or tasting menu?
Tasting menu – great to see how another chef pairs things.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had in a restaurant?
St John – a classic London restaurant for a reason and the epitome of simple done well.

What’s your favourite fast food joint?
Can’t beat a McDonald’s breakfast on a road trip!

What’s the dish you wish you’d thought of?
St John’s bone marrow on toast with parsley and shallot salad.

MasterChef or Great British Menu?
Great British Menu every time.

What’s the most overrated food?
Avacado! Why is it everywhere.

You’re restaurant dictator for a day – what would you ban?
Can I say avocado again or is it coming across as a personal vendetta?

Who would your dream dinner party guests be?
My mum – would love her to see what we have achieved.

What’s your earliest food memory?
Chicken and chips at my grandma Boustead’s house – the first time I tried salt!

Twitter or Instagram?
Instagram – great for inspiration.

What’s the closest you’ve ever come to death?
A car crash at 18, but this pushed me to move to London and do something different with my life so every cloud…

Where do you go when you want to let your hair down?
There’s a great food scene in Manchester, Laura and I love to head into town when we have the time.

What’s your tipple of choice?
Can’t beat a straightforward lager with the football.

What’s your favourite food and drink pairing?
Jamon iberico and Manzanilla – not very seasonal British of me, but Laura and I met working in Spanish restaurants and it reminds me of that.

What do you consider to be your signature dish?
A croquette – always one on the menu and again it’s a bit of a homage to how we met and that period of time cooking.

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