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Hot List...Dale Bainbridge

Next chef to feature on our #HotList is the extremely talented Dale Bainbridge, who reveals what its like being head chef at one of London's most iconic restaurants! 

 Head Chef for the last three-and-a-half years at the iconic Jason Atherton mothership, Pollen Street Social, Dale Bainbridge is absolutely clear that consistent delivery of each dish is what keeps people returning again and again.

With Jason being probably one of the biggest influences in the chefs’ movement, there is understandably a huge but, as Dale is quick to point out ‘a healthy pressure’ to ensure the very high expectations of diners is met each time they visit.

Each chef working in the far-flung corners of The Social Group is consciously pushing forward, using influences from its diverse collection of restaurants to keep each other up-to-date with what is emerging in world cuisine. It is obviously hugely exciting to Dale and keeps him motivated to work with not only the vision Jason has for the restaurant but also on menu development and the use of new ingredients.

‘It is a real and constant learning experience’ Dale says, ‘for me and for everyone else in the group, we are not only learning more and more about the evolution of food but also about the restaurant business.’

Dale & Jason’s menu development involves finding and experimenting with new ingredients but latterly is also about looking at how to make dishes more simple, making 4 or 5 key flavours really sing out from the dish. Jason’s style has always aimed at achieving the ideal harmony of product, flavour and presentation and how this can be delivered consistently to the highest possible standard again & again. So each dish is worked on until it achieves that harmony and consistency. The Modern British style of Pollen Street’s food constantly evolves to reflect the growing eclectic tastes of today’s diners, with inspiration taken from every culture; obviously including the growing interest in Japanese food, as exemplified by the highly acclaimed Sosharu

Dale is conscious that the teaching element which runs through the Social Group is passed on to the next generation. Social Media makes the influence of all food accessible to every part of the world, so the expectations and knowledge of young chefs increase each year. ‘It is important that we ensure they know the true basics of being able to produce great-tasting food, not just good-looking food. We have to pass on to them how to achieve the highest of standards.

Dale acknowledges how privileged he feels being in a position to pass on that knowledge, in an environment where everything is aimed at the very best you can be.