Interview with Chef Kerth Gumbs
This week we caught up with Chef Kerth Gumbs, to talk about who his biggest inspiration was in becoming a chef, the residency takeover he is planning and much more.
Can you tell us what / who inspired you to become a chef and your journey in becoming a chef?
Cooking was always an interest of mine and it’s my mum who inspired me to pursue a career as a chef. She was a very well-known cook on Anguilla – the tiny Caribbean island where I grew up. At school, I had to decide whether I wanted to do auto mechanics, woodwork or food and I chose food and nutrition.
At the time I was working in a five-star hotel on the island as a waiter, but then I got a scholarship to pursue my passion in track and field and even competed professionally in 2002. Ultimately the scholarship fell through, and I had to look at other alternatives, so I spoke to my father about pursuing a career in cooking. I flew to London in 2004 to study at Le Cordon Bleu culinary school, where I obtained a grand diploma in French cuisine and patisserie, before joining some notable kitchens such as Tom Aikens at his Elystan street Michelin-starred restaurant, followed by L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon which gained two Michelin stars.
For those who haven’t eaten your incredible food at Fenchurch, Sky Garden, how would you describe it?
I would describe my food as vibrant, playful and flavour forward. My Caribbean-inspired tasting menu at Fenchurch showcases a contemporary approach to this, in everything from the Johnny Cake starter, served with pickled crab, scotch bonnet mayo and roe to my take on an Anguillan specialty – a Conkie dumpling-inspired ducana cake featuring sweetened sweet potato, caramelised white chocolate, coconut and salted milk ice cream.
Do you have any culinary heroes?
My culinary heroes are chefs of both the past and present who have made a big impact and contribution to the world’s food scene, whether it be through sharing new techniques, knowledge or their signature pure lustful food. Some of my culinary heroes include chefs such as Bjorn Franzten, Joël Robuchon, Grant Achatz but really there are too many for me to name.
Incredible to see you as a judge on Young MasterChef, what’s it like being a judge on the show?
It was awesome being on the show and there was lots to learn about, not only presenting, but also how to use your feedback to inspire the contestants. One of the things which I realised is that you never really get a second chance to conjure up 100% authenticity again if you’ve forgotten something or stumbled on your words so it was a great new experience for me too. It also meant I got a chance to experience both sides, from behind the scenes as well as in front, to going from a competitor to a host.
Is there anything you are currently working on that you can spill the beans on?
I’m currently planning a residency takeover at the Four Seasons on my home island for a couple of weeks which I am so excited about.
If you had a free day in London to do what you want, where would you go?
On a day off, I like to spend time watching movies with my kids. Or I like to visit either Ladbroke Grove Market, Camden Market or Spitalfields. Then I like to take a walk with the kids from London Bridge along the South Bank before heading onto Covent Garden.
To book a table at Fenchurch visit https://skygarden.london/restaurants/fenchurch