The Michelin-starred Bohemia restaurant in St. Helier, Jersey, has just appointed an exciting new young head chef, Callum Graham. With a focus on showcasing impeccable Jersey produce combined with the highest quality ingredients from France, just 14 miles away, Callum’s food is elegant, refined and full of flavour.
We sat down with the hugely talented chef and discussed everything from his signature dish to his favourite place to dine.
What or who inspired you to become a chef?
I would say I’m part of the generation that grew up when there was a boom in chefs getting more airtime. It was something that has always appealed to me and I was quite good at it during school so went on to catering college and haven’t looked back since.
What’s your signature dish?
I would say my trio of duck. You start with a foie gras cream with madeira jelly and duck fat brioche. The next course is crispy confit duck leg with kohlrabi textures and a smoked duck consommé. Finally, the real showstopper is the duck crown “a la orange” with fennel and spiced duck jus.
What are the most important considerations when crafting your menu?
I always look to create dishes that are filled with interesting and unique flavours and textures. I want guests to be surprised and impressed by my food, and for them to experience something they couldn’t necessarily create for themselves.
Do your personal preferences influence the menu at all?
Sometimes yes, but I try to cook for the customer and ask myself the question ‘would you as the customer enjoy that dish’. I of course want to cook food that I personally love, but we all have different tastes, so there’s definitely a balance to be found between staying true to your style of cooking and also pleasing the customers.
Do you have a favourite time of year or set of ingredients that you look forward to working with?
My favourite time of the year I would say is spring, so much exciting produce becomes available.
What is your favourite ingredient?
Artichokes, they’re such a versatile ingredient and you can create so much from it. One of my favourite things to make is a purée using globe artichoke and Chardonnay vinegar.
What would you do if you weren’t a chef?
I’d be a food critic or inspector.
What is your favourite dish to cook at home?
Spicy roast chicken with pilau rice and broccoli – it’s warm comforting and delicious.
When are you happiest?
I really do enjoy having the kitchen all to myself, either before anyone has arrived or after they have left. It’s the perfect time for me to play around with new ideas.
When you’re not in the kitchen where can you be found?
Relaxing and unwinding. This could be taking my roommate’s dog for a walk or going for a stroll on the beach checking out what can be foraged – St Ouen’s in Jersey is one of my favourites and arguably the best beach on the island.
What’s your favourite takeaway or comfort food?
Where is your favourite place to dine?
Difficult to choose one, I’d say the best meals I’ve had to date are The Greenhouse in Dublin and The Ledbury in London.