Name: Jordan Clark
Current Position: Head Chef, Pennygate Lodge, Isle of Mull
Tell us about your current role
I am currently the Head Chef of a brand new restaurant with rooms on the Isle of Mull in Scotland. I am responsible for all aspects of food and training of all staff in the kitchen.
How long have you been cooking professionally?
I have been cooking for six years now including two years at college.
Where did you train to cook?
I started training at Perth College but would say I learned the most at the Michelin starred Number One Restaurant at the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh.
How would you describe your style of cooking?
It’s very ingredient based and seasonal. I like to keep flavours simple but show off all my techniques to enhance a dish. I also like to add a modern twist to classical dishes.
Do you have a “signature dish”, or a favourite dish you enjoy cooking?
I don’t really like the saying ‘signature dish’ but would probably say my take on a Cullen skink. It has transformed a huge amount throughout the last year but it is basically a smoked haddock scotch egg with haddock and mussel chowder with textures of potato, sea herbs and leeks.
Do you have a favourite ingredient?
Venison and scallops.
Do you have a favourite local supplier?
All the suppliers on Mull are amazing so it would be unfair to choose one, they’re all important to what goes on my menu.
Is there another chef you admire?
Tom Kitchin. I love his philosophy about using every part of the animal and not wasting anything.
Who is the best chef you’ve worked with and why?
Scott Swift. He held 3 rosettes on five years at a seafood restaurant in St Andrews but his man management skills were something I really appreciated and something I want to learn from.
What is the one piece of kitchen equipment you could not live without?
A blender. It’s so handy to use for purees, soups, sauces…it really helps you finishing a dish and I really struggle not having a good one.
What is the best restaurant you have eaten at?
Tom Kitchin. I have eaten there twice and it has blown me away both times.
Should customers be made to pay for late cancellations?
It’s a difficult one but I would say yes for my business as we are such a small restaurant that it is a lot of money we lose when people don’t turn up.
What frustrates you most about customers?
I think a lack of knowledge of the food they’re eating and thinking they know better than the chef.
What is your most awkward/demanding customer experience?
I haven’t really had one I don’t think. I’m obviously still too young.
Do you look at TripAdvisor reviews?
Yes I do, if I got ten good and one bad it would be the bad one I remember. I don’t want anyone to leave the restaurant unhappy.
What career advice would you give to your 15-year old self?
Don’t rush into anything, get yourself in to the best restaurant locally and stay there for at least two years.
What would be your “last request” dish?
What is your favourite cook book?
Tom Kitchin from nature to plate.
How do you use social media to help you in your job?
Social media lets me show the world everything that happens in my kitchen and any produce that comes through the door. Also I can see what other chefs are doing.
What is the biggest challenge you face in your job?
Getting staff. Because we are so remote it’s very difficult to attract people to come and work on an island.
What’s the worst kitchen injury you’ve had?
I burned my whole left arm with pork fat cooking staff tea when I worked at Loch Melfort.
And finally, what is your career ambition?
To have my own restaurant.