Many chefs aspire to work for super chefs. What lessons do these lucky chefs have to share? What is it like to work for a super chef?
Super Chef: You have worked for not one, but three super chefs. How would you compare their influence on you?
Gareth Evans: I started out with Gordon nine years ago in 2003. I was a youngster strait out of college. He taught me discipline and consistency in the kitchen. I learned more from Thomas as a person. Thomas was a mentor for me. He was more comfortable talking food and learning dishes. I didn’t see much of Joel; I worked with his two head chefs. Joel wasn’t much in the kitchen. I saw him six times in two years.
Thomas is so approachable. He has so much time for anyone. He was more hands-on for me then Gordon was. He’ll spend an hour to cook for you. Gordon trusts his chefs who run his restaurants so much. His chefs have been with him for at least 5 years.
Super Chef: After working with these three chefs, what is your style at The London?
Gareth Evans: I take Joel’s very traditional French methods, and add very fresh ingredients, and the new methods at Per Se, like sous vide. I work closely with the pastry section. I use new chemicals to make different textures. I mix old style techniques with new techniques.
Super Chef: How much do you see Gordon Ramsay?
Gareth Evans: When he films in NYC he comes in to see us. He wants to build up communications between Melbourne, London and New York. He wants the whole Maze concept. He wants communications between the restaurants. He gives his opinions, but once you have worked with Gordon and been promoted, he puts a lot of trust in you. He lets his chefs do their things.
Super Chef: Is Gordon publicizing his chefs, is he helping you?
Gareth Evans: I think Gordon gives lot of opportunities to his chefs ¬– the environment you are provided and the kitchens stand you in good stead for the future. If you want to get promoted and get your name out there, they will cooperate and find a way.
Super Chef: Do you want to be a super chef – multiple restaurants, TV shows, and global presence?
Gareth Evans: It is not one of my goals. I am very happy to work for these people, put in the hours and create food. I do not want to have the rest.
I see myself with a little restaurant with the same sort of thing, the same work ethic- but in a more relaxed environment. I am not interested in branching out.
For me, I am a chef that likes to do a lot, have eyes on everything that goes out there. If I had a couple of restaurants, I would not being able to be in both all the time. I like to be in the kitchen when the first person gets there and when the last leaves. I don’t let anything slip through my fingers.
Super Chef: When the time comes, would you open in New York City?
Gareth Evans: It is huge to open in NY, when you can get investors. The market is so competitive. I want to open where I want to live. I am not in it to make money from the restaurant. I want to be happy and have a nice life style, not to make so many thousands a week so I can pay back investors and pay the rent.
What I want is a small brigade with a couple of chefs. I don’t mind the hours and working hard. It is just finding the right place and the right situation.