“Simplicity done well is always best with food.” The Wordrobe chats the secrets to creating excellent dishes with chef Wolfe Conyngham, the man behind the menu at Pomona’s in Notting Hill
What inspired you to become a chef?
I grew up with a restaurant at my home and was always making excuses to get into the kitchen. I love the process of getting a raw ingredient, breaking it apart and then putting it back together. What inspired me most about becoming a chef was the opportunity to use all of my senses collectively which no other job offers.
What’s your favourite part of your job?
I love to eat, it’s a great passion of mine! It is also very rewarding when one sees satisfied and happy customers who appreciate all of the love we have put into the dishes.
What can guests expect from the menu at Pomona’s?
They can expect really tasty food that is well executed and focuses on great produce. The menu is eclectic and is ever evolving with the seasons. I have tried to mix up the choices as much as possible so that there is something for everyone without trying to complicate things.
My philosophy is that simplicity done well is always best with food, there is no need to complicate things, as good produce should speak for itself.
What advice would you offer to aspiring chefs?
Always taste as you work. Seasoning is hugely important and remember that once you add salt to something, you can’t take it out. Always keep a tidy site and clean your section as you work. Communication with your team is vital so that the timings of sending out the food are perfect.
Be prepared to work very long hours, it’s hard work and you will need to stay focused. If you can, I would encourage you to eat out as much as you can to check what other chefs are cooking to get inspiration. There is always something to be getting on with, I would suggest buying a really good knife, a sharp knife is a safe knife! Always stay calm in a busy service – panic is your worst enemy.
Name us three of your favorite restaurants.
I think The River Café (London), Fogo de Chao (Brazil) and The French Laundry (USA) are all exceptional and have inspired me enormously.
What does Californian cuisine mean to you?
The thing about California is that it’s a very cosmopolitan place and has vast mix of different cultures. What you get there is the same as London which is basically every type of cuisine available. Like London, there is so much choice out there. The only difference is that they’re in a sunshine state and we’re not.
What’s next on the cards?
Well, there is lots going on right now moving forward we are feeling really excited. The new spring menu is going live at the beginning of April. It is always my favourite time of the year to be a chef as it showcases British produce at its best.
We are also planning on utilising our amazing Bertha oven (which runs on wood and charcoal) to start doing a weekly steak night. We will also be opening up our garden which is a sublime space to have in London, not to mention a fantastic suntrap also!
PLUS: The Wordrobe has teamed up with Pomona’s to treat one lucky reader to dinner for two. Click HERE to enter.