Chef Profile May 2017: Andrew Provan, Head Chef at Meat Locker
Andrew Provan, Head Chef at Meat Locker, discusses his culinary cv and inspirations with HRNI
WHERE WERE YOU BORN AND WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?
Born in Paisley, Scotland and grew up in Magherafelt moving to Belfast at 18.
WHEN DID YOU FIRST GET INTO COOKING AND WHAT INSPIRED YOU?
I got into cooking from a young age at home but professionally at 18. I was inspired by TV Chefs who fuelled in me a determination to be as good as I could be.
DID YOU STUDY HOSPITALITY AT COLLEGE?
I started college in Belfast before gaining a job in DEANES, then the only Michelin Star restaurant in NI.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.
The Terrace Hotel in my hometown was where I was given my first opportunity. I fell in love with the kitchen environment and adopted the drive I would need later in my career.
I moved onto Deanes Restaurant in Belfast working with the, then, Head Chef Derek Creagh. I really started to learn how to organise, work, cook and taste there. Then I went off to England to test my ambition doing a week’s trial in Mid Summer House before starting a two and a half year stint in the 2 Michelin Starred The Hand & Flowers as a Chef de Partie. This was where I learned the refinement of cooking and the determination needed to succeed. I was exposed to ingredients and techniques which have shaped the way I cook now.
I came home from England again to work in Harry’s Shack as Head Chef, which at the time was an exciting opportunity, before returning to Deanes in 2016 to work with Danni Barry in Deanes Eipic. I am now Head Chef in Deanes Meatlocker. My style of cooking is heavily influenced by my time at The Hand & Flowers and Deanes but I draw on recipes and dishes from my entire career for inspiration.
WERE THERE ANY PEOPLE WHO PARTICULARLY INSPIRED YOU THROUGHOUT YOUR CAREER?
I was always overawed by Michelin Star Chefs and in particular Michael Deane at the start of my career. I’m inspired by my family who grafted and worked for everything we had.
WHEN DID YOU JOIN DEANES MEAT LOCKER?
WHAT STYLE OF COOKING DO YOU DO THERE?
Modern British cooking.
WHERE DO YOU SOURCE YOUR FOOD FROM?
I use a variety of suppliers using local where produce is better; Hannan Meats being outstanding local produce but I’m not ashamed to say that not everything local is best and providing the customer with the best possible produce is my priority.
WHAT SIZE OF STAFF DO YOU HAVE?
I have around six/seven chefs working in Deanes Meatlocker alongside three kitchen porters. I also collaborate with the Head Chef in Deanes Love Fish which is next door to The Meatlocker.
DO YOU EVER TRAIN IN OTHER VENUES/KITCHENS AND, IF SO, WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNT AND BROUGHT BACK FROM THEM?
Previously I staged in Midsummer House and Le Manoir learning in both places new cooking techniques
ARE THERE ANY FAMOUS FIGURES IN THE CHEFING WORLD WHO INSPIRE YOU?
Mainly the two chefs I owe my career to are Michael Deane and Tom Kerridge, both are amazing chefs, business men and people. Also Raymond Blanc who taught me the importance of having a happy and healthy working environment.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO OUTSIDE OF WORK?
I like to travel and see live music where possible and spend time with my girlfriend which isn’t easy in this job. I’m currently living in Belfast and would like to say thanks to my family, friends and girlfriend for putting up with the hours and strange days off!
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