The 3 AA Rosette Hotel, St Ermin’s have appointed new executive chef Alexander Boyd. Working in his first Michelin Star restaurant at just a mere age of 16, Alex has had an extremely successful career, having owned his own restaurant in Hong Kong to working in The Mansion House, we can only expect that Alex is going to bring big things from his strong culinary experience to the London-based Hotel. We’ve sat down with the talented chef for an exclusive look into his career and his plans for St Ermin’s.
St Ermin’s couldn’t be more of a perfect hotel to stay at if you’re visiting London; right in the centre of Westminster, just a short walk from St James Park, the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey you have London’s biggest landmarks right on your doorstep. It’s beautiful traditional English exterior coupled with an Executive chef that has previously served high profile clients including the British Royal Family, you have the perfect combination for a great British Hotel.
The Caxton Grill has a beautiful warm and homely feel to it; the cosy interior with delicate candle-like lighting is perfect for a casual dining experience where you can almost forget that you’re in a 3 AA Rosette restaurant, and more like your friend’s house. This restaurant welcomes guests with open arms, with the invitation to stay all night.
It seems as though Alex has taken over from MasterChef Professional Adam Handling – who previously run the restaurant – extremely smoothly, which is tough as he had big shoes to fill; – “It didn’t bother me at all, as I’m coming in with a whole different concept rather than trying to keep it the same. Over the course of 3 years he was awarded 3 AA Rosettes for his work in the restaurant which is amazing – however, we realised the style of food he was doing is not want the hotel wants; guests weren’t using the restaurant, and instead were going somewhere with a menu less fancy.
The restaurant is now back as ‘The Caxton Grill’, with all menus re-designed including a new room service, banqueting and bar menu. I think London has outgrown the tasting menus and Michelin stars, and now customers demands have turned to casual dining, so having a more relaxed menu will definitely help in catering for our guests”
How would you describe your style of cooking? – “I like to use modern technique; gels, foams I enjoy that, but you’ve got to cook for your customer at the end of the day and it’s just simple but really good food. The whole tasting menu in London I think is done, now people just want to eat really good food and want casual dining and that’s exactly what I’m doing”
St Ermin’s have created their own garden on the roof so that they can grow their own seasonal vegetables, fruit and herbs to go into their dishes. You couldn’t get fresher and local produce on your plate at St Ermin’s if you tried.
“We also have a ‘bee & bee’ hotel which holds around 350,000 bees and we use this to produce our own honey! It’s a great little feature for the hotel as we offer beekeeping lessons on a Sunday morning for kids which is great”
What is your favourite dish to cook off the menu that you would also recommend for your guests? “I would recommend everything! Our slow cooked Pork belly dish is delicious, and that’s done with berries, wild mushrooms, cauliflower puree and a pork jus. We have a really nice sea bream done with purple cauliflower and mussels, cauliflower puree and lemon powder.
If you’re a steak fan then our beef we serve is from a farm down in Sussex which is aged for a minimum of 25 days which makes it a beautiful taste. For those visiting abroad wanting our classic fish and chips, I’m proud to say that I always use sustainable fish rather than cod. Fish like Hake and sole that are caught in our British waters that normally end up in Spanish restaurants”
You’ve mentored quite a few people throughout the years of your career, you started at an early age of 16 with your career; do you have any words of advice for young individuals who are starting out in the industry? – “stick at it, don’t give up if you love what you do, it’s not all about fine dining anymore so just cook with love. There are some great places out there like gastro pubs, casual dining restaurants that are doing really good food.
Work hard; you can’t succeed without working hard and always ask loads of questions I used to bug my chef de parties just constantly asking questions because you need to know what you’re doing. It’s a great industry and gives me a lot of satisfaction; I’m lucky enough to have had a great career, but it doesn’t come without work and dedication”
Who has been your biggest influence as a chef? – “It’s got to be Pierre Koffman; when you’re at college, you start to think about the chefs you’d like to work for when you leave and being given the opportunity to go and work straight away for Pier Koffman was amazing, and it really set me the standard I wanted to work at. He set me on my way but he’s always one that’s stayed in my mind. The guys a machine! 70 years old and he’s just about to open a new restaurant”
Our ability to sit down with Alex has been possible due to Berkeley Scott’s cooperation in recruiting for St Ermin’s. Alex has dealt with our consultants directly; “I’ve known Berkeley Scott for a long time. The temp and perm team always make sure they take care of me, Natalia on the temp side and Matt on the perm side. Matt placing me here was the best thing he could have done for me, it’s absolutely perfect for me here at St Ermin’s, so I’m very happy”.
We are extremely pleased that St Ermin’s has the honour of having Alexander Boyd as their executive chef and we’re very excited for what he has in store for the future of St Ermin’s. Be sure to look out for Alex’s seasonal menus for their afternoon Tea, with a winter wonderland theme to arrive for winter and a gin & ginger inspired afternoon tea for spring 2017. Sounds incredible!