Meet the chef: The Goring Hotel’s Shay Cooper talks food with Georgie Bentley-Buckle
Before he was even out of the classroom it was clear Shay Cooper had potential to be amongst the most ultra-talented chefs with Michelin pedigree. A rich and dynamic background in some of England’s finest kitchens, Shay started out at Juniper in Altrincham and Stockcross’s The Vineyard before being named Head Chef at the Endsleigh Hotel, where he thereby gained three AA rosettes for culinary talent.
Adding to his AA rosettes he moved swiftly forward impressing The Bingham in Richmond where he gained his Michelin star. Today Shay holds the role of Executive Chef at one of London’s finest establishments – The Dining Room at the Goring Hotel.
Solely sourcing the highest quality ingredients from local and trusted suppliers across the UK, The Dining Room is a champion of London for fine dining and holds a reputation to a royal standard. The very finest gourmet British dishes full of stories of tradition, Shay endeavours to offer a setting wrapped in glamour with faultless service for a fun and certainly unforgettable meal.
We spoke further to Shay to find out more surrounding his inspiration in the kitchen and how he’s got to where he is today:
Q: What inspires you about British food and cooking?
A: British cookery has a really rich and fascinating history which I find really interesting. I also enjoy the challenge of looking back to older, colloquial English dishes and trying to rework them into something that’s a little more appealing to the modern palate.
Q: What or who inspired you to become a chef?
A: For as long as I can remember I have always been excited and interested when trying new flavours and ingredients. I love absolutely everything about being a chef and couldn’t ever see myself doing anything else.
Q: What does a Michelin star mean to you?
A: The Michelin star is something we are all really proud of achieving here at The Goring. It is still seen as a very valid, strong recommendation of good food which given the guidebooks history is a huge honour.
Q: Tell us about your favourite ingredient that you like to work with?
A: It would be impossible to pick only one; however I adore all varieties of shellfish, oysters probably being my favourite.
Q: What would you say is your signature dish?
A: Eggs Drumkilbo has become synonymous with The Goring over the years although it was originally created for the Queen Mother by a chef in one of the royal households. The version we currently serve at The Goring is a more refined, elegant take on it that hopefully still captures the essence of the original dish.
Q: What’s your favourite restaurant in the world?
A: Le Petit Nice in Marseille, France
Q: What is the single most important thing you have learnt about food?
A: The very best food will always be the very best ingredients handled with care.
Q: What would be your food heaven and hell?
A: Heaven – bouillabaisse
Hell – blancmange
Address: The Goring Hotel, 15 Beeston Pl, London SW1W 0JW, 020 7396 9000, thegoring.com/food-drink/the-dining-room