Touch of Noir, Chingford

Head Chef Rob Laverack

Head Chef Rob Laverack - Credit: Archant

In conversation with Rob Laverack, head chef at Touch of Noir in Chingford

Main course of Seabass, Samphire, Crushed New Potatoes with a Mussel Veloute

Main course of Seabass, Samphire, Crushed New Potatoes with a Mussel Veloute - Credit: Archant

Could you introduce yourself?

I’m Rob Laverack. I’ve been head chef at Touch of Noir for two months, and I’m enjoying every second.

What do you love about your job?

Pistachio Delice

Pistachio Delice - Credit: Archant

I love the idea of not having to follow a recipe, of looking at different methods and techniques and finding my own way of doing it. Most of all I love that every single day is different.

How did you get into cooking?

After moving from London to Norwich over a decade ago, I found myself looking for a career. I started cooking roast dinners every Sunday for my friends, and it dawned on me how much I enjoyed it. I went to every restaurant in Norwich with my CV, someone gave me a chance and I’ve never looked back. I started as commis chef at The Maids Head Hotel and within six month I beat 42 other candidates to win three awards in an inter-hotel competition.

Pistachio Delice

Pistachio Delice - Credit: Archant

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Where did you train?

I trained on the job. After the Maids Head Hotel, I went to The Hoste as chef de partie in the fish section, then to The Last Winebar where I ended up in charge of pastry, after pretty much teaching myself. I don’t think you ever stop learning, and you can learn from anyone. I remember peeling ginger with a knife when a 15-year-old kitchen porter suggested using a teaspoon which removes just the skin, not the flesh. I’m not a big believer in hierarchy and I welcome ideas from everyone in the kitchen at Touch of Noir.

Where do you live?

I moved to Chingford a few months ago and it’s great. I came back to London four years ago and decided that, career-wise, I wanted to try a little bit of everything, from pubs to street food markets, to establish what direction I wanted to go in. I’d done fine dining and wanted to get back to classic cooking. At Touch of Noir I’ve been able to incorporate both modern and classic cooking and come up with something different and, I believe, really special.

What do you do to relax?

I play a lot of guitar, other than that I love spending time with my girlfriend Sam who is a fantastic support to me.

What makes you happy?

Obviously work makes me immensely happy. I’ve been a chef for 11 years and my passion for cooking has only grown. I’ve had difficult times in the past, I was homeless for a while, but rather than thinking ‘poor me’, I find myself looking at where I am now and feeling very lucky. I have a career that pays the bills and, more importantly, I absolutely love. Other than that, it’s the little things in life that make me happy, like the cold side of the pillow.