Craig Atchinson

All About The Ingredients



All About The Ingredients

How did you become a Chef?

My interest in food started when I was pretty young. Every Sunday, my Nana used to come for Sunday lunch and demand a chocolate cake for pudding. My mother taught me how to make a basic sponge cake, and I became hooked on trying new things in the kitchen. From then on, I knew I wanted to be in the kitchen and create magic with the array of ingredients available.

How would you express your food?

My food has evolved over the years. I trained at a time when classical food was coming to an end and molecular gastronomy was in the heart of every kitchen. I would define the food in Fletchers as classic British with a modern twist. We use the building blocks of classical dishes and add modern techniques to bring it to the 21st century.

What are your favourite ingredients and criteria for choosing?

There are too many amazing products out there to have one favourite, but, of course, we source from local suppliers where possible and support the local farmers and producers, and we work on seasonality. I am a huge fan of East Coast seafood. I have been fortunate enough to go out with the East Coast fishermen, and it really makes you appreciate the level of work, commitment and the amount of care taken to make sure the seas are not overfished and can be sustained.

What is your signature creation?

I would describe my food as old meets new. Keeping with the classic flavours using modern techniques. I am also a keen forager, so you will always see something on the menu that’s from the Yorkshire countryside or coast. I let the main ingredient shine through, and we never over-manipulate dishes. Good cooking is down to good shopping. The rest is easy.

What professions surround you, and what would you like to pass on to them?

Working in hotels offers immense diversity, and I always ask every member of my team where they see themselves in 5 years. With a multi-outlet kitchen, junior chefs get the best experience, ranging from a sandwich to fine dining. They gather these skills over a period which opens many more doors for their future. Some chose Michelin stars or country pubs but my aim is to prepare them for anything then the world is their oyster.