Interview: Tim Kearse (Head Chef) @ Olive Tree Bude
Set in the small seaside town of Bude (North Cornwall), The Olive Tree Bude boasts the perfect spot to eat fine food while soaking up the area’s coastal delights. Making the most of regional and Cornish produce, The Olive Tree Bude continues to successfully tantalise the taste buds of loyal locals and travelling tourists alike.
Much of the restaurant’s recent success is down to the talents and passion that can be found within the kitchen, none more so than the restaurant’s head chef, Tim Kearse. Simply Kitchens caught up with Tim to talk food, being a chef and what it means to work in a busy kitchen. So, with no further ado, let’s tuck in…
Was a career in the kitchen always your dream?
It had never really crossed my mind until I started washing dishes at a local pub/restaurant. I began to take more and more of an interest, so I suppose that my passion for food began there.
What is your favourite food to prepare or cook?
My favourite food to prepare and cook would have to be Turbot. Personally, it’s my favourite fish to eat! I feel it needs to have that crispy skin though, as it gives a great texture to compliment the delicate flesh.
Is there any food you really don’t like preparing or cooking?
Popping broad beans out of their shell. It’s a very time consuming and tedious job.
Are you inspired by a specific chef or style of cooking?
Growing up, TV chefs were in an abundance! Gordon Ramsey was a great inspiration. My favourite style of cooking would have to be Modern British. The British cuisine has really improved over the last 10 years, and keeps on doing so.
What’s the best thing about being a head chef?
A few things! I enjoy writing menus and putting my stamp on things. I also really love to see young chefs develop, it’s great to watch them grow as a person as well as a chef with a career ahead of them. Lastly, I must say that having a great team is brilliant, they can really help you to achieve your goals in serving the ‘perfect dish’ – then again, no dish is ever perfect.
What are the most challenging aspects of being a head chef?
I’d say working with allergens, even more so now than when I first started. It’s obviously essential that we do this but it can take up a lot of your time as a chef. I spend hours looking through hundreds of spec sheets from suppliers, seeking out ingredients, or noting food that’s been produced at a particular factory and in a particular way.
What should people be cooking in their house this summer?
I love vegetables! We have such a glut of amazing English vegetables at our front doors. Runner beans, broad beans, courgettes – you name it, and the best thing is that most of them go really well with other local food, such as Cornish line-caught Cod. For instance, a meal including Cornish Cod Fillet, Sauteed New Potatoes, Baby Roasted Courgette, Runner Beans & Tomato Salsa is a killer!
What would your perfect kitchen be like?
Having always worked in small kitchens, for me, storage space is everything! At the same time, you don’t want everything to be too far away because when it’s busy you will need things to be quickly accessible.
As for the arrangement, you commonly need four different sections, all laid out behind a big pass (heated plating area): Starters & Cold section, Fish, Meat & Desserts. Must have facilities? I’d say a water bath for Sous Vide Cooking, as well as a Combi Oven and a Vacuum Packing Machine.
If there was one thing that you would like to see introduced into the kitchen, what would it be?
A ‘nano garden’. You can’t beat the freshest herbs and vegetables, picked moments before you use them! While a lot of places have herb gardens, where I am, we have no garden or growing space – something I’d love to implement if I could.
If there was one kitchen utensil or gadget that every home owner should have, what should it be?
A knife sharpener! The most frustrating thing is using blunt knives. It makes life a whole lot easier when you’ve got sharpened knives.
Do too many cooks really spoil the broth?
Such a hard question to answer. A lot of chefs rely on a team, hence why we have a hierarchical structure in the kitchen! In this industry, you can have great ideas but you’ll never be able to turn them into a reality without having an excellent team behind you.