Locals, tourists, celebrities and many more travel from afar and nearby to taste his dishes: Jeremy Bloor, Head Chef at OXO, has made it to the culinary top and continues to steal hearts with his cutting edge cooking techniques. We personally sat down with the mastermind himself to find out how you make it to the top and why he would not want to work anywhere else.
What’s your role all about?
I oversee the bar and restaurant, heading up a team of 50, and I am in charge of all the dishes on the menu. I do anything from creating and writing menus, coming up with events, helping the guys with purchasing to doing service in the restaurant for lunch. It’s varied and I do lots of different things. The day goes enormously fast and for a Chef I have brilliant working hours.
Tell us about your background?
My father is a Chef and I got a buzz from working in the kitchen from a young age. I moved to London in 1996 and worked in the 5th floor restaurant of HN as a Chef de Partie at age 24. I decided to come back to Harvey Nichols, to OXO Tower, in the year 2000 and have been here ever since. From Senior Sous Chef I have now worked my way up to Head Chef.
How would you describe OXO’s food style?
The thing about food is that it works in cycles. We once were into fine dining with clean lines, we then moved away into Asian style food and then we went through a bistro style phase. We’ve now finally found our own rhythm: it’s about British ingredients with French and classic cooking techniques.
How do you create a menu and how do you stay inspired?
My inspiration comes from my previous experience, but I also look for new ingredients and seasonal inspiration. I use Instagram and pictures as a source of inspiration. Building a menu is also about colour and visual appeal. The food needs to be on par with the view of OXO Tower. You’re always looking for that X-factor.
What is the most rewarding and challenging thing about being a Head Chef?
Most rewarding is the creative side. When I come up with a dish that’s creative and innovative and people are enjoying it I get real pleasure from that. Most challenging is staying positive whilst a lot of people have an opinion about you and your food on social media. But I like challenges: if it’s easy, you’re doing it wrong!
What top 3 skills do you need to succeed as a Chef?
1. You need to have an amazing level of common sense. You need to be able to think on your feet, solve problems, and stick to deadlines every 5 to 10 minutes (each table is a deadline). But that’s why we do it: that feeling of adrenaline, that buzz that keeps you going in the kitchen.
2. You need to be helfpul. The way chefs are portrayed on TV is that they are always shouting and angry, but there’s more to life than behaving like that. If someone chops a chive that’s not perfectly chopped it’s not the end of the world no one’s going to die.
3. Trust your first instinct and impulse. Think that what you’re doing is right. Don’t let people give you a lot of negativity, you need to be positive. You can think about negative feedback on Tripadvisor, but taste in food is subjective.
What’s your favourite dish on the menu?
The spinach soup with slow-cooked pheasant egg, smoked garlic cream and lemon-thyme sourdough croutons. It’s lovely! Another concept I like is our “not afternoon tea”, consisting of desserts paired with cocktails.
What makes OXO worth visiting?
It’s one of those places you need to go in life: everyone knows it. We seem to be sinking into the Thames cause all the buildings around us seem to get bigger than us, but at the end of the day we’re still here and as popular as we ever were.
What are your plans for the future?
I don’t see myself going anywhere else. At Harvey Nichols you feel part of something special. It’s a unique brand with an established name that you can be really creative with. Everyone is so friendly and so brilliant, I feel very lucky to be in charge of all these amazing people. I feel like I need to protect them all – they are my family.