By Sophie Ritchie, Editor
The Wordrobe gets up close and professional with Steve Smith, Head Chef of Bohemia in Jersey
Relentlessly striving for excellence, Steve’s Michelin-starred mouthfuls continue to impress and inspire.
After gaining his first Michelin star at the tender age of 24, he has continued to receive Michelin accolades throughout his time at top restaurants – including the picturesque Burlington restaurant in Yorkshire, with prior success at Holbeck Ghyll, Guellers and Seaham Hall.
We caught up with him to talk favourite dishes, seasonal heroes and why being a tough self-critic is key to improvement.
What inspired you to become a chef?
I’ve always liked food – I loved eating food as a child. I became really curious and interested in it… and it went from there. Having that deeply rooted interest led me to follow it as a profession.
I was fortunate that my first job was working for Jean-Christophe Novelli. At the time, he was one of the best chefs in the UK. His restaurant was constantly winning awards – picking up accolades from Michelin and the AA, even Restaurant of the Year.
It inspired me so much – I was so lucky to go into a kitchen wth a chef that was a little bit mad, but crazy in a good way. He constantly wanted to change and improve. As a young chef, I picked up on that desire to constantly get better. It’s still something we apply at Bohemia.
You’ve worked for some inspiring people. Do you have any role models?
I think you take elements from those you’ve worked with and once you become a Head Chef, you work out a way of rearranging that information and coming up with your own formula.
You develop something that works for you. You try to be creative and fit it in with your own ideas.
Describe your cooking style in three words.
How did you celebrate winning a Michelin star?
To be honest, I think we just went out for a few drinks! I’ve held a star for 21 years – I think the best piece of advice I could offer to a newly-awarded star holder would be to just work even harder at what you do. Take nothing for granted.
What advice would you offer to aspiring chefs?
You don’t need a star to be successful chef. It’s not the be all and end all – it’s important but everyone has their own paths and dreams.
The best advice I could offer is this – always be your harshest self-critic. And eat everything you produce to get a better understanding of how it works in front of a customer.
Do you have any favourite autumn/winter dishes?
Venison is fantastic. We’re serving it with a roasted cauliflower and almond puree – it’s gorgeous, paired with figs and a little chocolate.
Top 3 restaurants
1 El Celler de Can Roca, Catalonia
2 The Ledbury, London
3 Cafe Spice, Jersey
We’ll be chipping away to continue improving and getting better at what we do.
Try Steve’s dishes for yourself at Bohemia, Jersey
Green St, St Helier, Jersey JE2 4UH