Meet our Head Chef, Denis Zominy
May 23, 2017
Once a month we profile someone from our team and introduce them to you so that you can get to know us better. This month, it is our head chef’s turn.
What was your first job?
When I was 14 I worked on a farm in the Drome region in France for the summer holidays. I was far away from home and spent the day picking cherries, apricot, and peaches for a local farmer. We started work at 7am and finished at about 5pm. It was hard work but it was always fun! I have so many great memory of this and I was able to buy my first motorbike at the end of the summer. I’ve always had a great sense of achievement from it.
What are the highlights of your career so far?
I have so many highlights, I don’t really count them anymore. I have done so many great things! From catering for the royal family and a royal wedding to creating something special at the request of a young child, I’ve done everything. I’ve also seen some pretty amazing wedding cakes, worked for a Karl Lagerfeld event and driven many miles to special events. My work is not always easy but it is pack full of memorable moments.
What do you love about your job?
I love the constant change in food trends! There are always new food and flavours to discover. There’s also always something new to learn which is great and keeps me on my toes.
What is your best tip for those who want to learn to cook?
Anyone can learn to cook. You just need to start with what you know then try new and easy recipes to start off and learn from your mistakes. The more mistakes you make, the more you will learn. Do it at your own speed and – most of all – enjoy it.
What are your tips for a successful event?
The golden rule is: be prepared, be prepared and even more prepared. Make sure that there are no loose ends and that everything is planned and thought through. Make sure you’re prepared for all eventualities and if something doesn’t go according to plan – which at this stage shouldn’t happen – be flexible and resourceful.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
In the first restaurant where I worked in France we had a saying: “if you wouldn’t eat it yourself, don’t serve it”. This is so true and I’ve lived by these words ever since.
What’s your favourite place in Edinburgh?
I love many parts of Edinburgh! The city has so much to offer but I really like the old buildings. I have a thing about architecture and in Edinburgh there is so much to please an architectural eye.
What is your most treasured possessions?
Apart from my two beautiful kids, my knives are my most treasured possessions. Some of them I used when I trained to be a chef, so they have sentimental value and I don’t really like other people touching them.
Who would you like to meet?
Music is very important to me but because I work most weekends, I don’t have the chance to go to concerts often. Having said that, I would love to meet Pat Benatar, Bob Marley or Tom Jones. When I was a kid I also loved Laurel and Hardy! I would have loved to appear in one of their films.
What is your favourite treat from the Cafe Hub?
On the current menu, it has to be the Ramen chicken dish; it’s light and fresh with a little bit of spice. It’s a great dish for the summer.