Quick Questions with Chris
Chris McQuitty has been the Head Chef at the Salthouse since 2013. Since then, the Salthouse Eaterie has continued to dominate the Suffolk food scene and has been awarded 2 AA Rosettes.
You’ve been at the Salthouse for over 4 years – how have you found it?
It's like a second home to me now, and the 4 years have flown by! I'm fortunate enough to work as part of a great team, alongside colleagues that I can also call good friends. The staff have a really strong bond here and I always look forward to coming to work.
How would you describe your food?
Modern British cuisine, with elements of European influences. Generally, I like to cook food that I enjoy eating myself so there are a lot of my personal favourites on the menu currently. I tend to keep track of whatever food is in season and look to incorporate that where I can because fresh food is always more enjoyable to cook, and the most rewarding to serve.
What impresses you most about Suffolk's food?
The variety of food on our doorstep is so impressive, from smokehouse meats to fresh fish sourced from the coast. Within 1 or 2 phone calls, I can source the best quality produce in the area and in some cases have it served in the restaurant on the same day. There is also a great appreciation amongst the customers for local food, and a passion from the people that supply us, with everyone working towards a common goal of supporting Suffolk.
Have you always worked in Suffolk?
No, I've worked throughout the UK in Essex, Cambridgeshire and Surrey, and also abroad. I worked in Australia for a while and got to see an agricultural side to catering, which opened my eyes to the importance of fresh ingredients. It was great to work somewhere with such an appreciation for local quality produce, and I think it's influenced the way I work now.
Who are you biggest food influences?
I really like Tom Kerridge, particularly his 'no fuss' attitude to English cooking which I think is a breath of fresh air. Daniel Clifford is always someone I like to keep an eye on due to his out of the box thinking, as well as Tom Aikens who always seems to do something interesting with the food he cooks.
What's your favourite meal to cook?
I'd have to say cooking fish is probably one of my favourite things to do, mainly because to do it right takes a certain amount of skill. It's also really satisfying to source the fish myself from the local area, prepare it in the kitchen, and then serve it in the restaurant.
What's your favourite restaurant to eat in?
My favourite would have to be The Ledbury in Notting Hill. It was the first Michelin Star restaurant I ate at and I was blown away by it. Locally I love the Company Shed in Mersea because it’s simplistic and doesn’t overcomplicate the cooking. On a summer's day you can't get in, which is always a good sign!
What’s your proudest achievement?
Becoming Head Chef here at the age of 23 was a massive personal achievement for me and also a big challenge that I was raring to get started with. Also, building a successful team around me that can get positive feedback like we did with the AA report makes me proud of our collective efforts.