Andy Beaton, a real-life chef!
We caught up with Andy Beaton, Head Chef at Bistro at the Distillery, The Lakes Distillery. We asked him about how he knew he wanted to become a chef, what he loves to cook and what happens when Liam Gallagher pops in for a plate of chips...
When did you know you wanted to become a chef?
My granddad was a huge influence and I have the fondest memories of cooking with him. He was previously a chef in the Polish army, so definitely the most talented cook in our family. Sunday roast was his speciality – especially the infamous roast potatoes! As I was always around food and a family who loved to cook, this definitely influenced me in a big way. This is where my passion for food began.
What was your first job in a kitchen?
I started out in a small restaurant in Bardsea called The Old Mill. I was a humble dishwasher here and I used to get such a buzz from working in a busy kitchen! Even though I was just in charge of the dishes, I had to learn quickly to keep up with the fast pace.
What advice would you give someone starting out?
The best advice is to listen to all the advice on offer, surround yourself with talented chefs and try and resist the urge to give up! It can be tough and there are moments when you want to get out of the kitchen, but just push through that barrier and give it all you’ve got. Culinary college also proved to be a great path for me. I was spotted for having serious potential whilst studying at Barrow College and my successful career began from here.
What’s your favourite thing to cook?
This might surprise some people but my favourite thing to cook is an omelette. I’m always striving to achieve the perfect omelette and we like to get competitive in the kitchen at Bistro at the Distillery! Every chef should strive to master the classic dishes and humble ingredients.
Who is your professional hero?
At just 16 years old, I was very lucky to be able to train with non other than famous chef Raymond Blanc in his restaurant, Petite Blanc. As such an acclaimed chef, working for him gave me a real grounding in cooking and reiterated what my Grandad had taught me; respect all ingredients in the same way. He also taught me discipline in the kitchen, something that is vital if you’re going to be a chef. You always need to be on time, your uniform should be clean and tidy and most importantly, you have to have the same respect for everyone that you work with.
Who is the most famous person you’ve cooked for?
When I was head chef of the Miller Howe Hotel, I had the honour of cooking for the Queen and the Princess Royal.
During my time the same hotel, I also cooked for Liam Gallagher from the band Oasis. In true star-studded style, he arrived via helicopter. Once seated in the restaurant, he simply ordered a portion of chips! The band Kasabian accompanied him, so it was a really surreal moment!