Food For Thought With Brett Graham

10 questions and answers showcasing the personalities of some of hospitality’s finest. Join us this month as we get to know Brett Graham of the Ledbury.

Q. What was your first job in the industry?

A. I was an apprentice chef at a seafood restaurant in Australia at the tender age of 15.

Q. What is your ‘go to’ late night snack after a long day?

A. It’s got to be a cheese and ham toastie! It’s not all Michelin stars!

Q. Sweet or Savoury and why?

A. Sweet, because I am always tired and need a bit of a sugar boost!

Q. Who would your #1 industry guru be and why?

A. Anyone who has run a restaurant for more than 15 years, as it takes lots of good behaviour, determination and sleep deprivation!

Q. What is your ‘take-away’ preference, if you have one?

A. It is rare that I am not cooking at home, but if I ever fancy a night off, we order sashimi and sushi. I find most other takeaways suffer from home delivery.

Q. Favourite menu dish – one that if it’s on a menu, you’re ordering it?

A. Morel mushrooms are my favourite seasonal ingredient.

Q. If you could turn back the clock 10 years in this industry, what would you do?

A. Ban service charge for everybody!

Q. Favourite fast food?

A. My wife and I love fish and chips if we order fast food.

Q. Name your three must have ‘desert island’ ingredients, and why?

A. Black truffle, good bread and butter and ham.

Q. Favourite cook book?

A. ‘Great Chefs of France’ by Quentin Crewe – the most inspirational book I have ever read.

Brett Graham is the chef/patron of The Ledbury as well as part owner of the gastropub The Harwood Arms in Fulham. Brett Graham began his cooking career in Newcastle, Australia, at the age of 15, working in a simple fish restaurant. He then moved to Sydney where, during a 3-year stint under Liam Tomlin at the highly acclaimed Banc restaurant, he won the Josephine Pignolet Award, which granted him a trip to the UK where he secured a job at The Square, working for chef Philip Howard. Further awards followed, including the “Young Chef of the Year” in 2002. Now at the Ledbury, the restaurant has gained many accolades including a much coveted second Michelin Star. He describes his food as classical French with Japanese and British influences. ‘My style has evolved,’ he reveals. ‘These days the technique behind the dishes is more hidden if just as complex, and the customer doesn’t really sense it on the plate except in the multi textural favours.