My Life in Food: Chris Wheeler, head chef, Stoke Park, Buckinghamshire - Features - Food + Drink - The Independent

My Life in Food: Chris Wheeler, head chef, Stoke Park, Buckinghamshire

'You can't beat a classic english sandwich. I couldn't live without my cheese and marmite'

After leaving Bournemouth catering college in 1993, Wheeler straight away landed a job with Jean-Christophe Novelli. He worked at various restaurants owned by Novelli, including Le Province, Gordleton Mill and the Four Seasons. In 2003, he branched out on his own, becoming head chef at Stoke Park's restaurant Humphry's, which has since won three AA rosettes. On 21 April he will mark his decade in the kitchen by carrying a 5.5kg stockpot on a 26-mile run through Buckinghamshire in aid of Capital FM's charity, Help a London Child.

What are your most and least used pieces of kitchen kit?

Apart from knives, my most used piece of kitchen kit is a Thermomix. It's very versatile and is brilliant for making purées and mousses. You can also use it as a blender and cook in it, too, it's great for things like hollandaise sauce. My least used thing? Kitchen tongs. I'm an old-fashioned chef, I like to use a palette knife or my fingers. I don't suffer from burns.

If you only had £10 to spend on food, where would you spend it and on what?

I would go to our local farm shop, Pinewood Nurseries in Stoke Poges. It's where all the local farmers bring their vegetables to sell. They also have some wonderful local bread and "Greek" yogurt, which is made just down the road, but apparently by people with Greek ancestors.

What do you eat for comfort?

Pizza. There's a fantastic restaurant in Notting Hill, called Pizza Metro Pizza where you order it by the metre. The kids love it and so do I.

If you could only eat bread or potatoes for the rest of your life, which would you choose?

I'm going to say bread. You can't beat a classic English sandwich with a nice crusty loaf, some ham and piccalilli. Or maybe cheese and marmite. I couldn't live without cheese and marmite sandwiches, or a crusty roll for my soup or eggs on toast, for that matter. And if I did want to cheat, then I could always get some potato bread.

What's your desert island recipe?

The restaurant's roast lamb loin with mini Shepherd's pie. We cook the mincemeat with garlic, celery, carrots and onion and add a rich lamb jus to it with a big glass of red wine. Then we add julienne of mint into the mashed potatoes and serve it on a bed of local root vegetables.

What's your favourite restaurant?

Ealing Park Tavern. It serves the best Sunday roast. It does these spicy dauphinoise potatoes, which are amazing, and really massive Yorkshire puddings.

What's your favourite cookbook?

White Heat by Marco Pierre White. It's Marco at his best. The recipes are amazing and it tells the whole story, from how he started from nothing, begging to get a job, to becoming one of the best chefs in town.

Who taught you to cook?

I got into cooking at school. I was a bit naughty and it was the only subject I really paid attention to. It was taught by a lady called Mrs Widdecombe. She was passionate about food and made sure we tasted and understood different flavours. Then I really got into the professional side of things when I was taught by Jean-Christophe Novelli.

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week