Newly appointed head chef Michael Carr of refined-dining Fenchurch on level 37 of Sky Garden in London, at only 29 years old, brings over 14 years of culinary excellence gleaned in some of London and Yorkshire’s best Michelin-starred restaurants with him to the destination restaurant.
Showcasing his gastronomic flair, the former Great British Menu contestant’s new menu brings beautiful, clean, fresh, and experimental dishes with explosive flavour combinations to the table, keeping in line with Fenchurch’s ethos of delivering contemporary modern British dishes driven by flavour and seasonal ingredients.
Michael has a wealth of experience in fine dining with a focus on modern British dishes. He joins from the then Michelin-starred The Box Tree in North Yorkshire where he served as head chef and manager. Prior to The Box Tree, Michael spent a number of years as proprietor and head chef of Restaurant92 in Harrogate and has also worked at Gordon Ramsay Group and Northcote Manor.
He was part of the team that gained a Michelin-star at Driftwood Hotel in Cornwall; and has also worked alongside Alyn Williams at The Westbury supporting the achievement and maintenance of the restaurant’s Michelin-star.
We caught up with the young chef to find out about his career, family influences and why you can’t go wrong with rhubarb and asparagus.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, including where you are today, professionally, and what got you here?
I started as a trainee chef in a local pub in Harrogate and basically fell in love with food! The head chef in Rudding Park in Harrogate found me and noticed I had a talent. She pushed me to work for the Michelin-starred restaurants in and around Yorkshire. From there I moved to Cornwall, then to London, and then back in Harrogate I set up my own restaurant. Finally, I landed in Fenchurch.
What, or who, inspired you to become a chef?
The total love of food, particularly in my family. My Grandma’s sister cooked for the Queen and we come from a family of farmers. We were always told that what grows and is on the land you nurture, cook, eat and use.
Who has been your biggest influence to get you to where you are today?
My father. He was incredibly hard working and a massive influence on my work ethic. He taught me that hard work overcomes talent and you need to be dedicated to your work and push yourself.
What are the most important considerations when crafting your menu?
Seasonality, British produce and knowing where it has come from. The reinvention of old classics with modern twists and techniques.
How would you describe your cooking style?
I like to reinvent old classics with modern twists and techniques. My menu brings beautiful, clean, fresh, and experimental dishes with explosive flavour combinations to the table, keeping in line with Fenchurch’s ethos of delivering contemporary modern British dishes driven by flavour and seasonal ingredients.
Do you have a favourite time of year or set of ingredients that you look forward to working with?
Rhubarb season and asparagus season. Being from Yorkshire, they are ingredients I grew up around.
What is your favourite ingredient to create with?
Surprisingly rhubarb and asparagus! Fresh flavour, aesthetically pleasing, taste great!
What would you be doing if you weren’t a chef?
Professional boxer, joining the forces or a fireman.
What is your favourite dish to cook at home?
Jerk chicken, rice.
When are you happiest?
In the kitchen.
What’s your favourite takeaway or comfort food?
Dumpling shack. Asian flavours.
What do you think is the most over-hyped food trend?
Vegan and vegetarianism.
How have the lockdown restrictions affected your work?
Shut the restaurant. Career stopped for a year, but we are back now and I’m thrilled to be and excited to officially launch Fenchurch with all my new menus.