Interview with Steve Webb, Head Chef, Director Club
Becoming a chef wasn’t on Steve’s radar at first, but after falling into a job that didn’t make him happy, one of his best friends and the awesome head chef, Janet, offered him the opportunity to train with her at a local quality hotel. This was the start of his chef career, where he began as a commis and, after a few years, left there as the Head Chef. This inspired him to progress in his career and become the head chef of other quality establishments in the Cotswolds.. Being a chef can take you far and wide, and you meet some interesting people along the way. The inspiration came from the creativity that cooking brings, and on a good day, it’s a very satisfying job. Read on to find out more.
Is there a chef you admire the most? Who and why?
I am a big fan of Ramsey—his passion, skill, and humour combined create a great mix from a chef’s point of view. I greatly admire what he has achieved, especially considering his backstory.
How involved are you with menu development and overall design?
I have full control of the menu here at Director Club. I strive to keep it seasonal, interesting, and comforting.
Do your personal preferences influence the menu at all?
Absolutely, I always believe that a chef needs to cook the food they enjoy to produce the best dishes possible. Additionally, I aim for a varied and diverse approach to menu design, ensuring our members are fully catered for.
How would you describe your cooking style?
I would describe my style as mainly rustic, yet I always strive to add subtle refinement to all my dishes. In terms of style and approach to food, I would probably liken myself to James Martin—keeping dishes simple, tasty, and well-presented.
What’s your signature dish?
“The 3 Piggies”… This dish, featuring braised pig cheek, roasted pork belly with perfectly rendered crackling, all in a vegetable consommé, it has been a staple on several menus throughout my career. Served as a starter, it’s a delightful introduction and will make occasional appearances here at Director Club.
What differences do you find working with local produce as opposed to non-local produce in terms of what you can create and flavour?
Quite simply, flavour! You have to work less hard to create something that tastes fresh and is packed full of flavour. Essentially, letting the ingredients speak for themselves. From a business point of view, the fresher the ingredients, the longer we have to work with them to reduce food waste – it’s a win-win.
When are you happiest at work?
I take a lot of satisfaction and pride in having full control over what is created and leaves the kitchen. Also, receiving positive feedback from customers who have enjoyed their experience at Director Club.
What is your favourite piece of kitchen equipment?
I enjoy using a water bath. The textures and perfect cooking it can achieve are always satisfying and impressive.
If you could cook for and dine with anyone, who would that be (dead or alive)?
David Jason – not food-related at all, but what a legend he is!
What is your favourite dish to cook at home?
This is a tricky one. With a wife and two young children to please, it always has to be a simple, well-cooked, hearty bolognese. The key at home is just knowing your audience!
You’re having friends over for dinner tonight. What’s on the table?
The dinner with friends would be a sharing board of Camembert, homemade breads, and confit garlic. To follow, a perfectly cooked sous vide, aged ribeye steak with dauphinoise potatoes and tenderstem broccoli. Ending with a chocolate fondant and ice cream.
Why should people visit, tell us a bit about the restaurant/pub
The Director Club is a unique venue in the area, and there really isn’t anywhere else like it locally. If you visit, you’ll know what I mean. It’s a private members club with a stylish cafe, bar, restaurant offering excellent food and drink. As part of the successful film company Sandstorm Films, we naturally have a more interesting edge than most other venues.
Director Club, The Old Diary, Badbury, Swindon
Find out more at www.director-club.com