Chef Profile: Sean Brailsford, The Urchin, Hove
- Credit: Archant
Sean Brailsford, head chef at The Urchin in Hove, on avoiding style over substance
What first inspired you to become a chef?
I've always admired chefs and their ability to create menu ideas whilst working in an intense environment, but it wasn't until I worked as a cook in a chain restaurant in Melbourne that I considered it seriously as a profession. Finishing a busy dinner service and seeing everyone enjoying their dinner and laughing together with their family and friends filled me with pride and I knew then I wanted to do more and be better.
Which career achievements are you most proud of?
I've worked and lived in seven different counties all over the world. Some could speak English and some couldn't, so I think coping in that environment is an achievement.
What is your culinary ethos?
To always cook the food you love to eat and never compromise flavour to make it look fancy. Back in the day, it didn't need to be a special occasion to enjoy a plate of oysters with a pint of stout by the sea. At The Urchin we're keeping the dockyard spirit alive by serving simple, fresh shellfish, craft beer that's brewed on site, and wine in a relaxed environment, any day of the week.
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What is your favourite dish on your current menu?
It's got to be gambas al ajillo, which is going on the menu soon. It's so simple but so, so tasty!
How do you source your ingredients?
I always try and source products locally, which is something I love to do. There is so much quality in Sussex that there's no point getting anything else.
Do you still cook at home?
I do still cook at home but my wife is Portuguese and loves to cook. Her food is too good for me to stop her.
Have you had any cooking disasters?
I always make sure I do a test run of ideas I have before they go on the menu. But sometimes I run something without doing that, so it's definitely a roll of the dice. Most times they work, but some do need a bit of tweaking.
What is your culinary guilty pleasure?
Burgers... I'm a self-proclaimed burger fanatic.
Where do you like to go to eat in Sussex when you get out of the kitchen?
Humble Kitchen at Bison North Road is a great little place with some banging food. I always love stopping there for a burger... Big surprise!
What advice would you give to a young chef just starting their career?
Cooking isn't all fancy plating and tweezers, most of the time it is hard, physical work. If you're not ready to push yourself physically and mentally to learn the craft, there's no point starting. But the rewards are endless, so its definitely worth it.