Meet The Waterfront Head Chef: Elliott Webster
What lead you to become a chef?
I was inspired to become a chef by my Granny. She has always had a different approach to cooking which I have admired from a young age. She’s a talented cook and I still enjoy her food; in fact I should probably cook for her more often as it’s usually the other way around! Along side this I was always a more practical child than academic so when I went to college to study cooking it came more easily to me than anything else I had studied before.
The thing that drives me now are my family. My fiancé and I share an intense enthusiasm for food and we enjoy eating out at lots of different styles of restaurants from fine dining to our local pub. I also have a teenage son who has a comparatively plain palette but he’s my main motivation. My aim is to make them proud of me.
Where did you train?
I trained at South Kent college in Folkestone, so I am a local boy. I have worked with some incredibly talented chefs over the years that have not just inspired my cooking abilities but also taught me about building and running a business. I can’t say I have worked for any notable chefs or in any notable kitchens, but I am grateful for all the guidance I have received form all my mentors and employers. I believe what I may lack in what is seen as fine dining experience only drives me more. I have run the kitchen that I work in for over a decade and have steered the business through changes of owners, management and multiple menus.
As I have mentioned, I grew up in Kent and so have been privileged to work with Kent’s prestigious bounty of produce for my entire career. As the head chef of a seaside restaurant I am in awe of the quality and range of fish and selfish that we receive from our excellent suppliers. We are currently in the process of expanding our menu to showcase some of our delicious local shellfish available to us.
Tell us about the dishes and the menu you have created…
I am incredibly proud of our current and previous menus. I strongly believe in utilising the skills and talents of my team and am pleased to say that our menus are a group effort.
Our menus are designed around the seasons. Our spring and summer menus have a lighter eating style as we aim to compliment proteins in their prime, like sweet and soft Hake with seasonable english country-side vegetables. Similarly, in the colder seasons we like to ramp up our roast dinners and make the most of our local winter root veg and team it with slowly, braised beef shoulder and a warming red wine jus.
What’s your signature or favourite dish from the menu?
My favourite dish to eat and make is the rich and hearty lamb ragu. It has multiple elements and requires different techniques to complete. I love that within one dish you can enjoy a tender, lamb leg which we braise over-night and an intensely rich lamb bolognaise that we combine with linguini, top with a crunchy crumb and serve with home-made garlic bread.
What is your Guilty Pleasure?
I’m sure some chef’s and non-chefs would think I should be ashamed of this but for anyone who knows me would not be surprised that my guilty pleasure is a decent donner kebab, with chips and classic burger sauce. I do have some class though and like to combine this with a creamy and well rounded Simpson’s Chardonnay.