Local Hero

Chef Bruce Poole talks to Tony Kane about his Michelin-starred restaurant, food obsessions and his love of a good ham and cheese sandwich

Chez Bruce celebrated its 21st birthday early this year and is still a staunch favourite with foodies. Owner Bruce Poole and head chef Matt Christmas have worked closely together for more than ten years, sharing a very similar approach to both cooking and food in general – the menu is therefore a collaborative effort from both chefs. The Wandsworth restaurant is recognised as being one of the best eateries in London. The prices are reasonable (you can get a three-course lunch for £29.50), the food unpretentious but consistently good and wine list excellent. ‘We only cook what we like ourselves,’ says Bruce.

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Describe your cooking style?
Mostly modern British with some French cuisine.

What’s the best advice you have received?
Always try to improve, never rest on your laurels.

What’s the best advice you have given?
Work hard and try to learn you craft. Head down and constantly learning.

You have worked with many young chefs. Who do you consider your protégé?
I wouldn’t like to pick one person out. We have had some excellent young chefs who have gone on to great things.

What is your current food obsession?
There are more vegetables in our diet nowadays and I love it. We serve much less meat.

What is your signature dish?
I like simple plain food. My favourite dish is crème brûlée

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What would be your desert island dish?
I love freshly made ham and cheese sandwiches, made with Montgomery cheddar.

What food and wine would you travel miles for?
My favourite wines are French. Possibly the best come from Alsace in north east France.

What is your must-have cooking implement?
I’m not a great gadget man. A sharp knife and a potato peeler are my favourite tools.

What’s a great seasonal dinner to cook at home?
Asparagus is excellent at this time of the year with melted butter and sea salt. Cut the woody ends off, peel the top skin with a potato peeler and put in a pan of boiling water, treat as other vegetables.

Chez Bruce, 2 Bellevue Road, Wandsworth Common
020 8672 0114, www.chezbruce.co.uk

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