Powered by passion, Liam Dillon is the award-winning chef-owner of The Boatfield in Staffordshire with a love for hospitality and seasonal ingredients. The Wordrobe talks inspiration, lockdown and the balancing act of 2020
What inspired you to become a chef?
Like many other chefs my age, I was inspired by my nana who would constantly be cooking stews and braises for when my parents would get home from work.
Where did you train?
I trained at the college of food in Birmingham where I completed my NVQ1-3 and also a Culinary Arts Management foundation degree.
What’s been your biggest career highlight to date?
Having my own restaurant before I was 30 was a huge, huge achievement for me.
Tell us about how you spent time during lockdown
Myself and the team spent time on the land surrounding the boat, building a polytunnel, chicken coupe and building a retaining wall at the bottom of the garden.
How have you adapted your restaurant’s setup to adhere to new Covid guidelines?
Adding a one way system and also ensuring temperature checks on arrival, also the staff will be wearing masks.
What does hospitality mean to you?
To put it simply, hospitality is all I know and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
What gives you inspiration for your dishes?
My team and the season give me the most inspiration. Working closely with as many local suppliers as possible too.
Do you have a favourite autumnal ingredient?
This time of year I love working with venison & squash.
Do you have any role models?
Anyone that is building their business, putting in the hours. It’s very difficult to balance everything, even more so at the moment!
What advice would you offer to aspiring chefs, especially in these tough times?
Work hard as you can, it isn’t easy but also, don’t rush the journey and enjoy it.
What do you think will be 2021’s biggest food trend?
I think plant-based dishes will be more popular moving into the new year.
Try Liam’s dishes for yourself
The Boat Inn, Walsall Road, Lichfield, WS14 0BU