“The beauty of this job is that you’re always learning. Every day is a chance to try something different or evolve and refine a dish to make it better.” A rising star in the industry and one of the UK’s most exciting young chefs, The Wordrobe meets Callum Graham, Head Chef at Bohemia, the only Michelin-starred restaurant in Jersey
With over a decade of experience under his belt and influenced by his classical training in Michelin-starred restaurants spanning London, Paris and Geneva, Callum’s ambitious menus are an exercise in elegance and flavour, turning local ingredients into culinary works of art.
Bohemia offers delicious modern European fare using the finest fresh, high-quality and seasonal ingredients available in Jersey and surrounding islands, and under Callum’s reign, has recently been awarded four AA Rosette’s in the 2022 AA Hospitality Awards and in November 2021, the restaurant was ranked amongst the top ‘1000 Restaurants in the World’ by LA LISTE 2022.
Undeniably one of the UK’s most exciting young chefs, Callum Graham is now Head Chef at Bohemia, the only Michelin-starred restaurant in Jersey located within The Club Hotel & Spa in St. Helier.
What inspired you to become a chef?
My passion for food started at home, my dad would always make home cooked meals and eventually that inspired me to get into cooking myself as I began to learn more and more from my dad. I then started reading about it, watching cooking shows for inspiration and from there I’ve never looked back
Where did you train? Tell us more about your culinary background
I went to college at Milton Keynes College and was very fortune to have three fantastic lecturers who really cared about the industry and developing new talent. I studied there for three years. Since then, I have gone on to work in 5* hotels in London & Geneva and Michelin starred Restaurants in Geneva, Paris & Jersey. The beauty of this job is that you’re always learning. Every day is a chance to try something different or evolve and refine a dish to make it better.
What are some of the best local ingredients that can be found in Jersey?
We prioritise using fresh, local, and high-quality seasonal ingredients to create exciting, modern European dishes, with a range of menus to suit all occasions. We’re fortunate to have great independent local suppliers, farmers and fisherman that can source incredible ingredients to use within the dishes at Bohemia. For example, depending on the season, we can forage for unique sea herbs such as sea beet, bronze fennel, sea purslane and sea bean on out coastal walks. There are also fish and shellfish from our waters such as oysters, ormers, clams, lobsters and crabs which arrive to our kitchen door within an hour of them landing on the fishing boats, and not forgetting the world-famous Jersey Royals!
What’s your favourite spring dish?
A favourite spring time dish of mine would have to be lamb with green asparagus, black garlic morels and a beautiful sauce with a dash of wild garlic. Good honest cooking where you let the ingredients do the hard work for you and sing together on the plate.
What can guests expect from a meal at Bohemia?
At Bohemia, you can expect an engaged and passionate team who are invested in delighting our guests, whether that’s with an interesting cocktail, new dish or a fantastic wine.
We offer fantastic ingredient led lunches and tasting menus for dinner. We’ve recently created a “Bohemia four course menu” which is essentially like a mini tasting menu where you have a lot more choice. It’s designed for when you want a terrific meal but don’t have the time to do a two or three hour sitting. You can choose from two amuse-bouche, four starters, four mains and three dessert options.
Describe your cooking style in three words.
Natural, Balanced, Playful
What does hospitality mean to you?
To me, hospitality is a smile and a warm welcome from the moment you walk where a business and team is striving to delight their guests and leave them with fond memories that they will remember for years to come and hopefully will continue to want to return to.
Name your three favourite restaurants.
Chapter one in Dublin, it’s absolutely sublime and everything a fine dining restaurant should be – it epitomizes class. Ynyshir- is everything you get told a restaurant shouldn’t be but it is absolutely fantastic and works so well. Lastly, the Ledbury. Again a restaurant that is run extremely well, the front of house is brilliant and the kitchen is knocking out some really exciting food.
What advice would you offer to aspiring chefs?
My advice would be to consider whether this is really something you want to do, as its not an easy journey but it is worth it! You have to push yourself every day, treat every day as a learning day, and sacrifice certain aspects of your personal life at times. Realistically, you aren’t going to get weekends or birthdays off, and you will miss many social gatherings due to the hours, but if you’re passionate about food it makes everything worth it. I think knife skills can always be practiced and perfected. Start by learning classic techniques, as I don’t think young chefs starting out realise just how important it is to perfect the classics and what a difference this will make to your cooking in the long run. Finally, always have a notebook in your back pocket – never stop learning and taking notes.
What do you think will be 2023’s biggest food trend?
I think we will see “less is more” coming back. A bigger focus on getting hold of the best quality ingredient possible and just showing it some love and getting the full potential from it.
Finally, what’s next on the cards?
Refinement in everything that we do and just making sure we keep pushing forward and continuing to improve the experience for our guests so they have a wonderful time when they dine.
Try Callum’s cooking for yourself: www.bohemiajersey.com