Chefs' Secrets of Success: Ashley Palmer-Watts

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In the latest in our Chefs' Secrets of Success series, we caught up with Ashley Palmer-Watts, executive group chef of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. He talks advice to young chefs, learning the basics, and the importance of taste.

Although Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (in the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park hotel in London's Knightsbridge) carries the molecular gastronomist chef's name, it is group executive chef Ashley Palmer-Watts who is arguably the chef most associated with the highly-respected two-Michelin-starred site.

Even Blumenthal himself would probably agree, trusting Palmer-Watts as he does with the eponymous venue, as well as working with him to open the second Dinner in Melbourne in October 2015.

Having joined the three-Michelin-starred The Fat Duck - the group's flagship three-Michelin-starred site in Bray - in 1999, Palmer-Watts became head chef in 2003 (the site won its third star in 2004), and went on to open Dinner in 2011, taking a key role in the creation of the now-iconic 'Meat Fruit' (the trompe l'oeil starter in which a meat pate is made to look like a mandarin fruit). 

The chef has also been instrumental in launching the Kenyan Nairobi Restaurant Week, which was announced officially this week, and will see 60 top restaurants offering fixed price menus from 26 January – 5 February. The event will kick off with a charity cocktail night on 19 January hosted by EatOut Kenya, with all proceeds from ticket sales being donated to Farm Africa.

Now working closely with Dinner head chef Jonny Glass and the rest of the dedicated team, it's fair to say Palmer-Watts has arguably unparalleled wisdom on rising through the ranks and developing skills as a high-achieving chef.

Speaking to BigHospitality at The Restaurant Show in October 2016, he shares his top tips and advice for success... 

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