There are three ingredients no keen chef can ever have enough of.
Imagination, confidence and ambition.
Bradwell 19-year-old Adam Harper has proved he’s got all of them by the pantry-load.
The sous chef at the village’s Samuel Fox Inn is off to work for Britain’s culinary master Heston Blumenthal.
He managed to impress the king of molecular gastronomy and owner of The Fat Duck, the three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Bray twice voted Best Restaurant in the UK by The Good Food Guide, with his 10th CV. And presumably, his perseverance.
“Heston is my food hero; I’ve always wanted to work for him and I think I eventually wore him down,” says Adam, who will start in the kitchens of Blumenthal’s Michelin Bib Gourmand-awarded Hind’s Head pub across the road from the Fat Duck in a week’s time.
“I got the job after a trial in the kitchens and an interview with Heston, who wasn’t scary, as I’d imagined. He was really friendly and talked me through how he’d like my career to advance with him,” says Adam.
“I am so chuffed to get the job. It’s going to be a massive jump for me but I think I’ll be fine,” adds the Buxton College trained lad who only ended up in kitchens because he’d dyed his hair bright red as a teenager.
“I was a waiter at weekends and I think the boss thought I looked a bit too strange, so he stuck me in the kitchens, out of the way. It turned out I loved cooking.”
Adam worked at the Plough in Hathersage before landing a job at Michelin-starred Fischers in Baslow. He was there a year and says he learned vast amounts under the guidance of Max Fischer and head chef Rupert Rowley before returning home to his parents Michelle and Stephen for family reasons.
Adam has been one of the Samuel Fox’s well-respected culinary team for seven months, where he has already mastered a few Heston-style foams, smokes and gelees; he’s even got a molecular gastronomy starter kit at home to practise with. Only the fact that the pub has just been put up for sale pushed Adam into trying to advance his career in earnest.
“Actually I didn’t just apply to Heston,” he reveals. “I found a list of the world’s top ten restaurants and wrote to them all – including Noma in Denmark, two places in the USA and one in Australia. I don’t see anything wrong with aiming high,” he says.
Samuel Fox head chef Charlie Curran couldn’t be prouder of his protegee; “It’s one of the world’s top restaurants and there will be so much for Adam to learn, but he won’t let them down. He’s a very talented young chef with a very promising future ahead.”