Rob Howell is the chef/director of Root Wells in Sadler Street, the sister restaurant of Root, Bristol. Rob has received the Michelin Bib Gourmand for his modern, veg-led, sharing plates.

Tell us about the food of your childhood?

At the time I didn’t think too much of it I don’t suppose. However, looking back now, I was very lucky, with plenty of home cooked meals, Sunday roasts, cakes at weekends. Along with the yearly visit to France, good food was a regular from a young age.

When did you decide that being a chef was your calling?

It took a while until it all clicked and became more than just a job. I had been cooking for a few years and I was living in Edinburgh. There was a good 12 of us that all worked together and spent most of our time outside of work together too. That’s where i really fell I love with food and everything that went with it.

Who are your biggest influences?

Earlier in my career I read cookbook after cookbook, always looking for ideas and inspiration. I would say Nathan Outlaw’s cooking was always something I really took a lot from, the simplicity of it, the produce driven cooking. Now I would say the teams in the kitchen influence my cooking and the dishes that go on the menu.

What inspires your menus?

I would honestly say anything and everything. We cook with what is best and available to us. Using local growers and producers in the South West, so it always starts there but as to what we do with it really is a collaboration of ideas from the team. Always talking about what we enjoy eating ourselves and creating tasty familiar flavours for our guests to enjoy.

What other elements influence your cooking?

We always try and keep it as simple and tasty as possible when cooking. The kitchens in both restaurants are very small so can be limiting, however I believe it’s a good thing. Means you have to be a little cleverer with how you think about putting a menu together.

What would be your perfect supper?

Honestly if someone is cooking for me, I’m happy with anything! We cook simple dishes at home and with two little ones we usually end up eating pretty early as we always try and eat all the same thing. If I had to choose anything to eat I would say a big plate of grilled shellfish with some fries! But the closest I get to that at the moment is fish fingers and beans.