Recently whilst in the Lake District I got the pleasure to dine at Heft, a restaurant that is really making its mark not only in that region but nationally. The 17th century Inn is run by Kevin and Nicola Tickle and features a bar serving a quality beers, carefully selected wines, accompanied by seasonal small plates and snacks, many of which will provide guests with an insight into their restaurant menus and a restaurant serving up Kevin’s unique take on modern British food using a wealth of locally reared and farmed produce in his dishes. Nicola is from a family that have continuously farmed, the fells and valleys, of the Lake District since the 1600s. Kevin, also Cumbrian born, was taught by his father to forage and fish. He understands the rhythms of the lakes, becks, heaths and the sea and this is all reflected in the food they serve. We got to speak to Kevin briefly about his career and what inspires him.
What made you become a Chef?
I enjoyed cooking; I simply chose to do what I love doing.
What inspired you to open Heft?
It’s most chefs dream to one day own their own restaurant and here we are.
Who is the biggest critic of your cooking?
It has to be my daughter Elsie, she has very high standards.
Which ingredients do you have a love/hate relationship with and why?
Parsnips, roasted they taste lovely, boiled they just taste horrible.
What was the best dish you have ever had cooked for you and by whom?
There are far too many to pick one in particular, but there have been some epic ones that’s for sure.
Which person inspires you the most?
I’d have to say my dad, he’s a what you call a proper grafter, nothing phases him and he just gets on with it.
Favourite kitchen utensil/implement?
Spoonula. Such a simple thing but there’s nothing more satisfying than swiping that last little bit of puree out of a bowl until its completely clean.
Favourite junk food?
I’m a big fan of a mucky burger loaded with absolutely everything, but who isn’t?
What would be your best advice to chefs starting out that want to make a
success of themselves as you have done?
Put the graft in now while you’re still young, the hard work you put in the early part of your career will pay off in the years to come.
If you had not been a chef, what would you have done?
I would either have possibly been a fireman or an electrician, they were the two other options I was interested in but I chose to become a chef and here we are.
For more information on heft or to book see online.