Meet the Chef - Chris Mapp, The Tickled Trout, Barlow

Chris Mapp

Chris Mapp - Credit: Archant

Chris Mapp of The Tickled Trout – Derbyshire Life Chef and Restaurant of the Year reveals culinary secrets.

Cornish line-caught cured mackerel, smoked mackerel pate, gooseberry ketchup, TT pickle

Cornish line-caught cured mackerel, smoked mackerel pate, gooseberry ketchup, TT pickle - Credit: Archant

What inspired you to become a chef?

It’s in my DNA, Mum and Dad had a pub when I was a child and I grew up with my Dad running a successful pub chain. It got me into hospitality and I used to work in various kitchens while I was studying at university. I used to love cooking for my college friends but the downside was getting the recipes from Teletext or Ceefax, it used to take ages!

What was your first experience of cooking professionally? Any disasters?

Highfield House Farm blade of beef, truffled polenta, braised carrots and red onion

Highfield House Farm blade of beef, truffled polenta, braised carrots and red onion - Credit: Archant

Having left college in Hull, I moved to London to work in some really nice five-star hotels. I didn’t have too many disasters, but once I was making lemon tarts for Marcus Wareing for an important private function and the oven’s thermostat malfunctioned and the oven went up to 400°. There was smoke everywhere and I had to start again from scratch. I was using every oven possible in the Berkeley Hotel, running between three different kitchens with eight tarts on the go. It was a nightmare, luckily it came together and it was a success. I’m certain I would have had my P45 if not!

What has been your most memorable meal?

At The Black Swan in Oldstead. Tommy Banks is a brilliant chef.

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Tell us about the menu at the Tickled Trout?

We say we are Deliciously Derbyshire. We champion local produce and suppliers; they make our job a bit easier as they are so good. Our Blade of Beef or the Côte de Porc are two fabulous dishes showcasing Derbyshire farming and our dayboat dish is beautiful as it has the finest Cornish fish caught the day it was sent to us with mussels, sea herbs, oysters and more.

Who are your top local suppliers?

I have quite a few – they are all fantastic people! There is a map inside my menu that shows where we source all our produce. We are lucky to have so many great suppliers on our doorstep.

What ingredients couldn’t you do without?

Salt, butter, thyme, garlic, potatoes

Who would be your ideal dinner party guests?

Bob Mortimer, Billy Connolly, Jurgen Klopp, Hugh Dennis, Paul Gascoigne, Kris Kamara. It would be like the Mad Hatter’s tea party but I bet we would have a laugh.

Have you a favourite local beauty spot or place you love to visit? How do you relax?

Relaxing is hard when you run a business. You never switch off, but my wife Rachel and I like to cook at home and share a nice bottle of wine and watch a film. We also love going for a walk as we are so lucky to live in this area. I like Curbar Edge and Surprise View over Hathersage and Rachel loves Ashover Rock.

Have you any advice for someone just entering the industry?

Taste, taste, taste. You never stop learning and to learn you must taste and make sure that everything is seasoned correctly. My three golden rules are: understand the ingredients, keep it simple, make it taste good… Only then should you worry about presentation.

Is there a chef you particularly admire?

I admire all top chefs. We have a hard job working lots of hours, you have to love it to do it and it’s not easy. We are always working when others are out enjoying themselves but that’s what drives us on. We love to create and make customers happy. Working in a kitchen is a special environment like no other. There is a strong camaraderie and respect for each other – you make really good friendships for life.

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