Kitchen Re-Porter – Tony Jackson From The Bush

Tony Jackson has been head chef at The Bush in Cockermouth for the past four months. Honing his skills over the last ten years, Tony hopes to one day own his own restaurant and believes staying ahead of the game is the key to culinary success. Serving up homely traditional dishes at The Bush, Tony’s kitchen style is pub grub done properly.

What is your favourite ingredient and why?

I don’t have a favourite as there are so many interesting ingredients out there, but spices play a bit part in my cooking. I like to cook a lot of curries so I’m definitely big on trying out all different spices.

What would be your last supper?

If I had to choose one meal as my last supper it would have to be pizza. Nothing fancy, just a good old takeaway pizza. Or a Sunday roast dinner with all the trimmings – I can’t decide.

Who is your favourite celebrity chef and why?

If I’m honest I don’t really watch a lot of television, as I can’t stand it. I do follow Gordon Ramsey and Marco Pierre White, but most of my friends are chefs so I get a lot of my inspiration from them and they help me to stay ahead of the game.

What is your idea of food hell?

My absolute worst nightmare is fast food, especially McDonalds. I was brought up on proper home cooked food, hotpot and traditional dishes, so even as a child I remember hating McDonalds. I just think it’s disgusting.

What’s the strangest ingredient you have ever come across?
I travelled around Asia six years ago and came across a Dragon Fruit. I’d never seen one before so it was something new to me. I was surprised at the white flesh and black specks inside, but it tasted amazing, so it was a shock really the sight of it and then the taste. I wasn’t expecting it to taste so nice.

Who does all the cooking at home?
I do all the cooking at home, as I live alone. I would usually make something really easy as after a long day at work I don’t really fancy cooking, so would have something simple like a takeaway.

What is your favourite cuisine?
Probably Italian and Chinese are my favourite cuisines. I recently went to Italy and we had really simple dishes from local restaurants, but it was amazing and just completely authentic Italian cooking.

What is your first memory of the kitchen?

My first memory of a working kitchen was when my dad used to take me to work with him. He used to be an agency chef so he took me all over the local areas and he also worked as a chef at Millers Steel Factory in Cockermouth and British Steel in Workington. He’s been my biggest inspiration throughout my career.

What is your ultimate comfort food?
My ultimate comfort food when I’m having a chilled evening would have to be a Chinese.

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