Our Head Chef at Colbert
With a background in classic French cuisine and a wealth of experience at various notable restaurants around London, Adam Middleton came to Colbert having most recently worked at Brasserie Zédel in Piccadilly. Now, one year on, we thought it timely to ask him a few questions about what makes him tick and what he’s most enjoyed about his time on Sloane Square so far…
Tell us a little about your background?
I was classically trained in French cuisine, moving around a little early in my career, before starting to work with Italian cuisine at Bocca di Lupo, where I was Sous Chef for 4 years. More recently, I spent 18 months at Brasserie Zédel in Piccadilly before joining Colbert in November 2017.
What made you want to join Corbin & King?
Jeremy and Chris. Simple as that. It's all because of them that I am here. It was my wife who first mentioned Corbin & King to me actually when I felt it was time to move on from my current job and look for a new challenge. I started researching the company, realised they were the pair behind The Wolseley and so on, and it wasn't long before I started at Zédel.
Did you enjoy your time at Zédel?
I loved it. I went there to learn how you serve Bib Gourmand level of food to 1,000+ customers a day and as a team player, I loved working with such a big brigade that had so much energy. Also working with and learning from Charles Hilton (their current head chef) - he was fantastic and taught me so much.
So what drew you over to Colbert?
I liked the mentality they had here - if something's wrong, fix it. Some restaurants just get on with things, but we don't accept mediocre here - everything is done as very best we can. When the opportunity for Head Chef came up, it just felt like the right opportunity in the right kitchen at the right time. When I arrived in November, we were several chefs short and now I'm pleased to say we're good! With the new kitchen and a strong team, it's a very good combination.
Do you enjoy building up a team of chefs around you?
Absolutely. I've been building the team here for the last 9 months. At the moment, we have four new starters and the rest have been here, well, we have 14 people coming up to their one-year anniversaries, which compared with kitchens generally, is amazing. I love building teams and always have. It helps that I've got a great team and great sous chefs here; they're the heart and soul of this place really.
And what kind of a Head Chef are you?
I'd like to think of myself as the talkative, warm, hands-on kind of Head Chef - not the grumpy, shouty sort! I always try to accommodate everyone as best I possibly can… I'm happy to give someone a job for three months if they want it for example, as long as the other members of the team aren't compromised nor our standards. I'm all about being as accommodating as possible while making sure nothing is compromised. There are flare-ups of course in a kitchen but I always try to make sure my chefs are happy. If they're happy, they can do their job well and that in turn it means we can cook great food.
What are you focusing on at the moment for Colbert?
Serving great classics is such a privilege but ensuring the quality of food coming in and then being consistent with what we deliver is what we have to keep achieving. We have one rosette at the moment and it would be great to now make that two. That doesn't mean changing the food at all, just always striving to be better. Keeping my team motivated, happy and making sure we are always pushing for the best, that's all I can ask for.
Finally, tell us something about Colbert that people may not know?
With no formal 'afternoon tea' service at Colbert, it's easy to think pastry isn't our forte, but it's quite the opposite actually. Our pastry and desserts are incredible and that's largely thanks to our extremely talented Pastry Chef, Mirka Mohite. But don't just take my word for it, if you haven't tried them yet, our macaroons are wonderful…