By Trudy Harper
HARDWORK, a pinch of stubbornness and then fold in a hefty amount of further stubbornness! These are the self-acclaimed ingredients which make up the success of chef Andi Walker whose achievements include being a semi- finalist in the 2015 series of MasterChef professional.
Andi was born in Harlow, attended Passmores School and was working at the Harlow Moat House, now The Park inn, when his talents were recognised. Andi set about building his experience. He travelled, worked in Paris and took advice and lessons from famous chefs. He has worked as a top chef at Kings College, Cambridge.
This week Andi cooked for the press at his pop up restaurant at the Riverside inn in Chelmsford. Guest were treated to six courses which excited the most discerning palette. Humble ingredients like celeriac were turned into delicious dishes and home-made peanut butter ice-cream has to be tasted.
Everyone who attended was enthusiastic and felt the same as Natasha Todd, a lifestyle blogger and Farming transport administrator who said,
‘I was surprised how flavoursome all the food was and how well different ingredients blended together. I would never have considered apple, mustard and pickled onions a good combination but it was amazing. The whole evening, the food, the venue and the company was very enjoyable’
Andi got his inspiration from his grandmother. She was a Harlow lady known to him as Nanny Pickles and managed an allotment in Harlow which encouraged his interest in natural ingredients. He uses his life experiences acquired when travelling, reading and eating out to inspire his menus.
This talented young man is now Executive Chef with the Essex based Blue group who own boutique hotels and contemporary restaurants. The pop up restaurant at the Riverside Inn with Andi in the kitchen has proved a great success with the exciting tasting menu available Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening. In 2018 Andi will open his own restaurant which he hopes customers who have enjoyed the pop up will enjoy. He also hopes to be able to bring a pop up to Harlow.
Andi hasn’t stopped reaching the last stages for accolades. Next month he will find out if he has secured the top place in the Chef of the Year Category at the Essex Food and Drinks Awards. The cooking has already been done and he is one three finalists.
Andi still lives in Harlow and has a 5-year-old son who often helps his Dad and can already make a chocolate torte suitable for customers!
Booking for the Tasting Menu at the Riverside Inn, Chelmsford 01245 266881
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