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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

5 Questions - Adam Handling, Head Chef at Caxton Grill, St James Park, London

After starting eight years ago as a small event in Edinburgh, the Foodies Festival has grown into one of Scotland's main food and drink events. Next weekend, the festival returns to Inverleith Park where over 200 artisan producers will be joined by a host of premium brands, pop-up restaurants and cookery demonstrations from some of the countries top chefs.
Adam Handling, who is head chef at London restaurant Caxton Grill , will be headlining the event in Edinburgh. Adam will be familiar to those how tuned in to watch MasterChef - The Professionals, where he was narrowly beaten to the trophy by Steven Edwards. Since then, Adam star has been on the rise as he settles into running his kitchen. The good people at MasterChef have clearly been impressed in his progress as they sent in a team of this years competitors (including eventual winner Ping Coombs) to spend a day under the watchful eye of Adam.
Here's Adam's story;
How did you get started?
I got my love for cooking from my mother, and it was from the age of around 10 that I started to really watch her and learn from her. I then started my official culinary training at 16, as the first ever apprentice chef at Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland. I then went on from there and worked as 1st Commis Chef at Rhodes 24 in London, and then headed up my first brigade as Sous Chef at the Malmaison Hotel, Newcastle. After this I then took up my first Head Chef position at Fairmont St Andrews where I was the youngest ever Head Chef within the Fairmont group. Last year I took part in and got to the final of MasterChef The Professionals. Then, after a year travelling in Asia, I took on my current position as Head Chef at the Caxton Grill in St James’s Park, where I now lead a team of 22 and have recently been awarded BCF Chef of the Year 2014.
What’s the best piece of business advice you could give?
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, but when you make them learn from them and don’t let them happen again.
Where would you like to see your business in 5 years time?
I would like to have my own small restaurant along with a big brasserie in London. I would love for one to have a star!
If you could only cook one of your own products/recipes, what would it be & why?
It would definitely be my Chocolate Orange dessert. It’s the most popular dish amongst my customers and it’s sort of become a signature dish for me now, and one that a lot of people associate with me. I gradually created and perfected this dish as I trained and progressed so it’s special to me on a personal level as well, and I know it will always be on my menus and will never change.
You can invite one person (living or dead) to your last meal – Who would it be and why? …and what’s on the menu?
Michael Jackson, because I have always been a huge fan of his (and he could teach me how to dance!).
I would want us to eat something really innovative and exciting, that I have never seen before. Or, we would go to Sra Bua in Bangkok, as that’s where I had the best meal of my entire life.
As mentioned earlier, Adam will be taking a break from the kitchen to be at The Foodies Festival in Edinburgh over the weekend of 8th-10th August where he will be joined by some of the best chefs in Scotland as well as previous contestants from Great British Bake Off and MasterChef (The Celebrities & The Professionals), who will all be demonstrating their skills to the watching crowds.
So if you're free next weekend, why not buy your tickets and head along to Edinburgh's Inverleith Park and see Adam doing what he does best!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Adam for taking time out to answer 5 Questions and hopefully manage to catch up with him at the show.
Keep up to date with Adam Handling in Facebook and Twitter.

Written by Gerry HaughianWritten by Gerry Haughian