This week’s food/drink shop is Steven Edwards’ Etch restaurant in Hove. Nick Moseley asks the questions
I’m Steven Edwards, 36 years old. I started cooking when I left school at 17 and did a modern apprenticeship at the Burnham Beeches Hotel in Buckinghamshire before moving on to a few different country house hotels such as Stoke Park, Monkey Island and Hartham Park before starting the opportunity in 2008 to work with Matt Gillan at the newly built The Pass restaurant at the South Lodge Hotel.
I worked my way up to Sous Chef and won Sussex Young Chef of the Year in 2010. I then landed my first role as Executive Chef at Camellia Restaurant before winning MasterChef: The Professionals in 2013.
After winning MasterChef, I founded Etch – a company that ran pop-up restaurants across the country. It was here that I honed my cooking style while searching for a permanent venue.
In 2017 the search was over and I started Etch by Steven Edwards on Church Road in Hove. Etch is a tasting menu restaurant offering a weekly changing 5, 7 or 9 course tasting menu. I love how the menu evolves throughout the year and uses a variety of different British ingredients.
In 2020 I opened Steven Edwards at Bingham, a beautiful restaurant on the banks of the River Thames in Richmond, offering an a la carte menu with a similar style that has made Etch so successful.
What drew you to a career in hospitality?
My interest in food started at a young age as I have always enjoyed eating and trying new foods. As I got older I helped out on Sunday lunchtimes and at Christmas. I loved the way food brought people and family together. Since both my parents were in the industry, it was easy to find out about it and get the opportunity to start my career.
Which chefs do you particularly appreciate?
For me, all the chefs I’ve worked with have taken a little bit of what it’s about and obviously shaped and influenced my career. I’ve had the pleasure of directing for Paul Rankin, Gary Rhodes, Michelle Roux Jr. and Pierre Koffman, but working with Matt Gillan and Raymond Blanc has really opened my eyes to how they work and think about food before making a meal create a new dish.
Was MasterChef a turning point in your career?
One hundred percent. Not only did it give me the confidence to open my own restaurant, it gave me the exposure that always helps when starting a new business and believing that it is the difference between success and failure.
Tell us more about Etch
Etch was founded in 2014 to showcase my food. I started with pop-ups and weddings because I wanted a brand that wasn’t just about the food, it was about the entire operation.
We have evolved and transformed as a business and now offer tasting menus in our restaurant that change weekly with the seasons.
Our chef George Boarer and his team are constantly developing and pushing the menu.
I’m also proud of the wine list that our restaurant manager, Sam Weatherill, has put together over the past five years. It truly represents his style of promoting smaller, family-run producers with an emphasis on sustainability, local awareness and terroir.
We also have our speakeasy cocktail bar – Ink – run by bartender Bethany Pogson. Formerly a tattoo parlor, Ink has a dark, intimate decor with flashes of neon in his Ben Slow artwork.
Beth has created a menu that breathes new life into the classics and creates new and original dishes.
Provenance and locality are important to you?
The menu changes completely every four weeks, so we offer 13 menus a year.
We source over 75 per cent of our ingredients from the UK, other ingredients from Western Europe but we are quality conscious and sustainable. We seek the best products within a 500 mile radius.
If we have to get squab pigeons from Anju in France we will do it because they are the best. We also use sustainably caught fish from day boats just down the road in Newhaven and hand-dipped Scottish scallops.
By only having a dish on the table for four weeks, we make sure we don’t overuse an ingredient. I firmly believe that a sustainable diet is a varied diet.
In one sentence, why should guests choose Etch?
We are an exciting destination restaurant offering diners innovative British tasting menus with an extensive unique wine list in a beautiful open kitchen dining room.
Would you like to tell us anything else?
We will be opening our speakeasy cocktail bar Ink to non-guests shortly.
Etch by Steven Edwards is located at 214-216 Church Road, Hove
https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/23046740.hove-chef-reveals-story-behind-successful-career/?ref=rss Hove chef reveals the story behind his successful career