The Wordrobe talks inspiration, tradition and the importance of culinary passion with Omar Allibhoy, Head Chef and founder of Tapas Revolution
What inspired you to become a chef?
I was always interested in food since I was a little boy and helped my mum in the kitchen. With time it grew into a passion and I wanted to become a chef, I’ve followed that desire all my life.
Where did you train? Tell us more about your culinary background…
I started off cooking at home with my Mum and then enrolled in an evening cookery class which I went to after school.
I worked in various restaurants, gaining experience, but it really took off when I trained under three Michelin-starred chef Ferran Adria – that was the real making of my career, learning from a chef who is so meticulous and passionate.
Do you have any role models?
Ferran Adria, he took Spanish gastronomy to a new level with his ground-breaking ideas, deconstruction, sous vide, foams – things we’d never seen before. I also really admire Jamie Oliver and what he does; influencing young people to eat better.
What does hospitality mean to you?
Serve people graciously, feed them well and make sure the time they take from their busy lives to spend in my restaurant has a positive impact on their day.
Name us three of your favourite restaurants
The Ledbury – every dish is exquisite, Galvin at Windows – the views, food and service are always really good and Tapas Revolution because it transports you to Spain – but I am biased!
What does it take to become a successful chef?
Dedication, hard work, passion and creativity.
Describe your cooking style in three words
Spanish, personal and traditional.
What’s your favourite spring ingredient?
I love Jersey Royal Potatoes because of their texture and flavour. I like to make Ensaladilla Rusa, which is the Russian version of the classic potato salad.
The original recipe includes pheasant and caviar, in Spain we managed to create a more cost effective recipe replacing the meat and caviar with tinned tuna, peas or carrots. I like to eat it as a starter or as a tapa with toast.
What’s next on the cards?
We are on the lookout for great sites throughout the UK to continue bringing great tapas to the people. We have the capacity to do more sites as we have a fantastic team that are keen to grow.
We want to continue to develop our people and a great incentive for them is to see more Tapas Revolution. We are looking for the right site in the right town and we have a long list of places where we think we could work well.
Find out more at TapasRevolution.com