Meet the Chef: Andrew MacKenzie of Drakes in Brighton

Andrew MacKenzie is the chef at The Restaurant at Drakes in Brighton. Cooking is in his family and he always wanted to run his own kitchen

What is your signature dish?There is not one particular signature dish as the menus vary with the seasons. There are however, some dishes which are well loved and appear on the menu on a fairly regular basis, if all the ingredients are in season. The souffl� features regularly on the dessert menu and our guests do regard this as a must-have finale to their meal. Again, recipes will change with the seasons  - our Winter menu will feature a traditional and delicious mincemeat souffl� with brandy custard and vanilla ice-creamHow long have you been a chef?20 years – I started when I was 15 in a small restaurant near to my home in DevonWhat made you want to become a chef?Both of my uncles were chefs and I was inspired by them from a very young age. I was wowed by the big restaurant kitchens they worked in and dreamed of myself in that situation. Where did you start your career? My first “proper” position in the kitchen was at Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland.Who has influenced you most? Owner Nico Ladenis and head chef of Chez Nico, Paul Rhodes. I worked here under the direction of both of these great chefs and this period served to be the most inspiring of my career.What do you enjoy most about being a chef?I love cooking and to be able to do this everyday on a professional level gives me great satisfaction. I am an advocate of using local produce when possible but equally love to travel and  discover the best dishes and… Your top cookery tip for readers? Don’t be afraid to try new things and if experimenting in your own kitchen, persist until you master a recipe and don’t give up. You will feel a great sense of satisfaction and pride in your achievements.Your must-have kitchen gadget? Without a doubt, the ThermoMix. It is every chef’s extra pair of hands and the most versatile appliance ever. It can stir and cook simultaneously, blend the finest pur�es, grates, chops and minces, mills rice and grains to flour, grinds wet or dry spices, kneads dough – just about everything. It also offers speed, safety, reliability and creative opportunity. It saves me a tremendous amount of  time and effort and produces consistently good results. Who would you like to cook for?I have been fortunate enough to cook for many famous people throughout my career but I most enjoy cooking for my wife and daughter. I would still like to cook for the Sussex cricket team too though.The Restaurant at DrakesDrakes Boutique Hotel43-44 Marine Parade,Brighton, BN2 1PE T: 01273 696934

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