Since then The Water House Project has hosted thousands of hungry diners, it has been featured in TimeOut and Monocle magazine, and was awarded Top 5 London supper by The Evening Standard.
You have been running your extremely popular supper club events at Bert & May for the past year – how are they going and what is the future holding for you?
I’ve been hosting The Water House Project at Bert and May for almost a year. It has grown and evolved since I began and now we serve around 40 people 8 times a month. It has been a wonderful platform to show what I do. I think we have created a unique dining experience, something that I hope to take into a permanent space one day.
Why supper clubs?
Supper clubs have for me been in part about what is possible. My ambition has been to grow a business ethically and sustainably without the pressures that come with large investments and launching a restaurant from scratch. Supper clubs have allowed me to gain acknowledgment and The Water House Project is now recognised as an established business, all be it without a permanent site, yet.
How do you ensure/test the quality of your ingredients?
At the beginning of each month, myself and my sous Max cook up our monthly changing tasting menu and we organise our wine pairings with the whole team. This helps to give us plenty of feedback on a dish which is so useful. When you’re a chef creating and tasting a dish it’s often hard when you achieve the finished product to remain objective. It’s very helpful to have others opinions.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Mainly from the seasons and what is available. I create my menus based on seasonality and the simple aim of combining a few ingredients that will work harmoniously.
What do you do to stay educated about new trends?
I try to eat out in restaurants when possible, this is a great way of learning but also gets your brain working. Instagram is also a brilliant tool for chefs seeing what others are up to.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry?
I’ve always felt it’s important to have a clear sense of why you’re doing the job and if possible what you want to achieve or where you want to be in the future. Working as a chef is notoriously difficult and badly paid so the incentives aren’t always great. It’s important to have that clarity, you don’t want to have worked in the industry for 20 years and then think, what was it all for.
In this crowded industry, what marketing channel would you recommend to promote a private chefs and their supper clubs?
Can you describe your cooking style for us?
I think that if there’s an ingredient on a dish that isn’t contributing to the flavours of a plate overall then it shouldn’t be there. I don’t think cooking has to be complicated but it should be intelligent. You don’t need to force things together. When ingredients combine they just work.
Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
What are you most excited about right now in the food scene?I think that in London there are always going to be opportunities for interesting dining experiences. When there’s plenty of competition this always brings out the best in any industry. I think the availability of space and rents will dictate what kind of experiences chefs start to offer. I think The Water House Project has pioneered a new way of dining, which I believe more people will begin to follow.
Tell us one funny moment that has happened during one of your events.
Our kitchen porter Antonio is a constant source of joy to our team. One of our guests last week wrote in our visitors book that ‘Are you ok?’ was one of the highlights. She was referring to Antonio who always asks our guests if ‘they’re ok’ with a big smile. He is such a personable person he brings so much to the atmosphere of our team and our diners, he creates many funny moments.
Thank you Gabriel, we have loved chatting with you today! One last question: tell us about your favourite 5 minute meal..
As a chef I’m not always in the mood for cooking much when I get home and I like to keep it simple. What I do always have on hand is cheese in the fridge, a kilner jar full of cheese biscuits and a selection of home made chutneys. I’m also a big salad man and eat these with plenty of bread and a good balsamic and lemon dressing.
© The Pass Restaurant Marketing, 2019