Aiden Byrne: Young chefs should go back to basics

Aiden Byrne

Aiden Byrne - Credit: Archant

Do restaurants need to take a step back to move forward? asks top chef Aiden Byrne from the Church Green, Lymm, and Manchester House

As budding young chefs we need someone to work alongside who will enable us to develop our skills and potential so that we can one day become their equals.

Chefs must stay on top of trends so as not to get left behind. In this respect, our industry is not dissimilar to that of the fashion industry as food styles are continually changing and progressing. To maintain a thriving business which is interesting and appealing to your customers, thus guaranteeing longevity in the market, change and evolution is necessary.

If we’re honest, TV food culture has indoctrinated viewers into new ways of thinking about culinary arts, and while the resulting attention to food is fun, culinary careers may not be all glamour.

While the media has created a much broader interest in all things food related, and we now have more restaurants to enjoy than ever before, this attention has also had a somewhat negative effect on our industry with regards to staffing, as many chefs these days try to run before they can walk.

A prime example of this statement came about when I recently judged a national chef competition with a handful of my industry peers. There were 11 chefs all cooking three dishes each and all but one of the dishes presented had no real substance and backbone. This was very worrying as these chefs are our future.

My point is, I believe we need to go back to a traditional school of educating students in the classic dishes and techniques of the past. It seems like a large proportion of kitchens in the UK are looking to ground-breaking chefs with culinary wizardry for inspiration, and quite blatantly ignoring our peers of yesteryear. We dismiss the fundamentals of classical cookery at our peril.

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Manchester House was awarded the accolade of Best Restaurant, Best Bar and Best Newcomer - the first time in the 17-year history of the Manchester Food and Drink Festival that one venue has received three awards.

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