Chef Stuart Gillies, British-born and Scottish by heritage, discovered his passion for cooking in the kitchens of Rome, New York and Stockholm. Back home, after working at celebrity haunt Le Caprice and the Connaught alongside Michelin-starred Angela Hartnett, Gordon Ramsay chose him to run the Boxwood Café in Knightsbridge, and oversee Plane Food at Terminal 5 and the reopening of The Savoy Grill. His television appearances have brought him public attention – and not before time. In an era of big-name egos, Gillies is one passionate, highly accomplished chef you'd be glad to have living next door.
Keith Floyd died not long ago. Was he a hero of yours?
Funnily enough in an interview years ago I mentioned Keith as one of my food heroes even back then. His programmes were way ahead of their time for entertainment value and I think he brought out the best in food culture and made the whole process fun. He was one of a kind.
Who else inspired you to take your cooking to a higher level?
My time in Rome was a huge inspiration – working there taught me to love food. Working at Daniel (world-famous, three-Michelin-starred restaurant) in New York took my cooking to a more ambitious level.
What's the most amazing thing you've ever eaten?
Probably Ferran Adria's olive spheres. They are liquid, but look like green olives in a jar of olive oil. The moment the sphere bursts in your mouth when you try to bite it is just incredible, you can't help laughing.
You opened the Boxwood Café with one of the most famously high-energy, perfectionist chefs in the world – Gordon Ramsay. Are you a great match?
Are Gordon and I a great match? I'd like to think so! My background and style of cooking are much more relaxed than Gordon's and this combination makes for a good relationship.
You're the father of three boys. Do you take them to restaurants? Do you cook for them at home?
They love going to Chinatown for crispy duck – it's such an experience for them! At home we all cook together. This weekend we made nettle and potato soup, which they love as they picked the nettles with me. Their favourite thing to make is honeycomb, which we turn out on to paper and they stand beside me blowing it to cool it down quicker!
Say a toptable diner is coming to the Boxwood Café this evening. What should they absolutely be sure to order?
The sales of aged rib eye on the bone with beef marrowbone and shallots us taking us all by surprise. So if you ask my manager then rib eye. Me, I'd say the foie gras burger.
To book a table at the Boxwood Cafe, click here.