3 Course dining menu interview – Toby Burrowes, Executive Chef at Ryan Bish’s Restaurant Ours talks all things food

10 Questions and a 3 Course Dining Menu Interview

A powerful reaction to London’s sometimes dull or average food scene, Restaurant Ours has a story worth telling, one that people actually want to listen to.

We have sat down with Chef at Restaurant Ours (and Cream Group General Executive Chef), Toby Burrowes. Toby, former Knightsbridge’s Zuma head chef, will guide us through Restaurants Ours scrumptious three course dining experience and talk to us about what it means to have style, originality and creativity in the kitchen today. All while feeding a cultivated crowd of hungry and refined palates.

(Restaurant Ours Bar Hall)

1. Hi Toby, let’s dive straight in. Talk to us about what truly inspires you as a chef, as a creator, as an artist. How important is creative freedom to you?

Toby smiles and says that inspiration is everywhere. “I get inspired by nature and by people, seasons and past experiences – What you can’t put into words, you put into food and on plates.”

2. What is your background? What led you to become a Chef?

Cooking is something that one loves from the very beginning, from a very early age I just knew that I belonged in a kitchen. The sight of a fresh bunch of emerald-green parsley, hands covered in flour, and that sweet aroma of decadent strawberry jam bubbling on the stove, that’s what it’s all about. Growing up, the Kitchen was always my favourite room, my special place. I’d savour every single moment spent learning, creating, and tasting. “I have been obsessed with cooking ever since I was a child, I just knew so early that it made me happy. I was happy to be able to deliver pleasure on a plate and that that very pleasure would nurture the people I cared about. Food is a very powerful medium.” He goes on telling us about his decision to leave school early to focus, with heart and soul and mind, on his greatest passion. “I left school at 15 to train as a professional chef in Australia, before moving to Canada, and then finally moved to London, where I’ve been living and creating for the past 12 years. I owe a lot to my incredible mentor, 2 Michelin star chef Philip Howard.”

3. Course Dining Menu: How do you create a new menu concept?

Is it a storytelling process or does each plate tell a different tale? Toby pauses. He goes on to say that himself, together with the very skilled team at Restaurant Ours are there to take the guests on glorious journeys through their delicate and delicious plates of foods. “With our food, we tell incredible stories. We consider our menu a sort of Orient Express, a convoy with which to take our guests on marvellous journeys across the world (metaphorically, of course). Through lands of exotic flavours, crossing quenelle valleys of spice-infused aromas, down rivers of dramatic whirlwind shaken cocktails imbued with sweet scents, to finally land in savoury ‘au-gratin’ deserts of elegantly put-together mise-en-place. Our dining menu blends theatrical experiences with haute-cuisine.”

4. What have you learned in your previous jobs that you feel were valuable lessons for your career and that you have brought to Restaurant Ours?

Interesting question. In my background and travels I have learnt a lot, of course. Most of all how to respect quality ingredients and that cooking is an art. “Cooking sensationally is so important, the key to refined greatness is using the right ingredients at the right time, when they are at their peak flavour.”

5. Is there any single one ingredient that you would never use in your dishes? Like any good chef, Toby says “I’d never rule anything out.”  (Group Executive Chef Toby Burrowes)

6. What is, if you could pick just one, your favourite ingredient to use?

Easy. Although I love and appreciate an array of different ingredients, there is one that I absolutely cannot do without. “There’s just something about truffles that feels so good!”7.

7. What is the one thing that can never miss in your kitchen?

He laughs and says, “that’s it, it’s laughter.”8.

8. Tell us – what’s the concept of Restaurant Ours? Nothing pretentious.

Great food, great ambience, great memories. “Casual Mediterranean that will always surprise and inspire”

9. How do you source your ingredients? What strategies is Restaurant Ours implementing to combat climate change?

Yes, this question is very important today. To address the issue of climate change is absolutely necessary. “Day in and day out we try doing our bit. We use seasonal and locally farmed produce and ingredients whenever possible. Our motto has always been “Fresh is Best!”

10. What is Restaurant Ours adding to London’s fine dining scene?

I firmly believe that Restaurant Ours is revolutionising the city’s food scene. “We use top quality ingredients, we treat them with respect, and we offer them affordably.” We are committed to serving pleasure on plates and pure entertainment in the dining hall. 

Restaurant Ours, located in London’s stylish South Kensington area – 264 Brompton Road to be exact, is part of the Cream Group.

The Group, established by successful London-based entrepreneur Ryan Bishti, came to prominence because of its forward-thinking hospitality venues (Cirque Le Soir to mention one), international settings, and star-studded clientele.

Restaurant Ours is definitely a venue worth experiencing with a menu worth tasting.

By Marianna Civitillo

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