Jamie Shears is the executive chef at 45 Park Lane Hotel, taking charge of Wolfgang Puck’s famed restaurant CUT at 45 Park Lane and all other culinary delights at 45 Park Lane.
We caught up with Jamie to talk about all things gastronomy.
How did it all start?
I started as a kitchen porter aged 14 at a coastal hotel in a small town in Torquay, where I grew up. When the kitchen was really busy the head chef would hand me a chef’s jacket and I would help him with basic tasks like peeling potatoes and slicing carrots. I loved everything that came with working in a fast paced kitchen environment. From that experience I decided a career in the kitchen was for me and I started my journey as a chef.
My first experience as a chef was straight after I finished school aged 16 when I followed the footsteps of my uncle and joined the Army. It was the perfect start for me as a young chef, it really did give me the best attributes that are also needed in a busy kitchen. The Army isn’t known for its culinary delights but it did teach me how to carry myself, to be disciplined, punctual, hardworking and work with a ‘can do’ attitude. And not to mention the importance of working as a team!
What is the best thing about working at 45 Park Lane?
Everyone was so welcoming when I started especially my general manager John Scanlon, as we have similar ambitions and we are both driven to be the best we can be and deliver a memorable experience for our hotel guests and diners in CUT. Also coming to work for a house hold name like Wolfgang Puck is a dream come true, to join a restaurant that is already established with the support from the main man himself pushing me to introduce new dishes, ideas and menus is the perfect set up.
What inspiration do you take from your West Country roots into your cooking at 45 Park Lane?
When I was growing up my dad had a fishing boat which was moored up in Torquay harbour, we used to get out most weekends in the summer and catch fresh mackerel, which we would enjoy ourselves and give to our neighbours. My fish supplier at 45 Park Lane are Flying Fish who are a day boat only operation focusing on the freshest fish from the coast of Devon and Cornwall.
Tell us about your British Wagyu beef at 45 Park Lane. Is it really as good as the Japanese stuff?
We serve the best beef we can get our hands on in Japanese A5 wagyu, USDA prime beef and a very exclusive dry aged British wagyu from Suffolk. I have introduced a raw section on the menu too as my thought process was if you’re coming for a big steak, what better way to start your meal with a lighter option such as oysters from Cornwall or a sea bass ceviche dish which I source from Devon.
I love the Japanese beef we serve too as it really is a treat. We offer three different cuts of rib-eye, fillet and sirloin, however the English wagyu we serve is something else. The flavour profile is so different to the Japanese wagyu, being grass fed and also that it has been dry aged for that extra dimension of flavour. It really is exclusive as only around 150 cattle a year are produced so we are lucky to have this on our menu.
Top 3 Jamie Shears tips to cook any steak perfectly?
1. The main factor when cooking steak is that it has to be good quality so go to your local butchers and they will explain the best cuts, whether it’s a lean fillet steak or a dry aged rib-eye full of marbling.
2. Always cook at room temperature so take the meat out of the fridge 30-40 minutes before hand as this enables even cooking throughout.
3. Always let your meat rest. You should let it rest for the same time as you cooked it.
What will be the future of in room dining at luxury hotels?
I think when people are staying in a hotel it’s all about creating a home away from home and giving the guest what they want. Our in-room dining menu is quite broad and has something for everyone. We also offer our full à la carte menu from CUT at 45 Park Lane, so you can have a simple salad or maybe some Cornish salted caviar with mini savoury doughnuts for an extra special treat.
What future signature dishes are you currently working on?
I wouldn’t say signature as I like to think our menus change quite often especially around the seasons and our current set lunch menu changes on a monthly basis also. One of the dishes I would say is a new signature is my saffron risotto with braised oxtail, smoked bone marrow and gremolata.
What do you like to cook at home?
I usually don’t get home until quite late so I usually just make something quick and easy like beans on toast or a toasted cheese and ham sandwich. On a Sunday I love to have friends and family over, have the football on in the background whilst cooking the best Sunday roast. I have had rave reviews for my leek and cauliflower gratin! A little tip: Cauliflower can be quite bland so when making your white sauce use a strong mature cheddar, a teaspoon of wholegrain mustard and a good splash of Worcester sauce – trust me it’s amazing.
Top 3 restaurants in London?
Kiln, Elystan Street and Maison Francois.
If you could award a Michelin star to someone right now, who would it be to and why?
Ben Marks at Perilla, which is well over due a star. You can see in his style that Ben is not cooking for accolades. His approach is to focus on Nordic and seasonal cooking with no fuss. The menu is second to none and I think it’s a matter of time before Michelin will pick up on this.
To discover more and taste Jamie’s creations, visit: dorchestercollection.com
All imagery courtesy of The Dorchester Collection.
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