Head Chef, Michael Roper
Explain your role at The Deck?
As Head Chef for The Deck Restaurant, I develop the seasonal menus and manage a team of five chefs. Essentially I’m responsible for any food that leaves the kitchen, from conception to execution and I thoroughly enjoy mentoring my team to produce quality food.
Who inspired you to make a career as a Chef?
My brother is a chef and I used to go and stay with him and help him out. There was always so much going on in the kitchen. With plenty of other chefs, kitchen porters, wait staff and a very lively atmosphere I realised this is the type of environment I wanted to work in. I really enjoyed the challenge of learning how to work with so many different ingredients – it’s an ongoing learning process.
Has your approach to cooking changed throughout your career?
Definitely! I have a more balanced and calmer approach these days. It’s more about mentoring and teaching at this stage in my career, but it’s still good to get on the pans.
Who are some of the biggest influences on your career to date?
My wife has definitely had the biggest influence on my career. She’s a great sounding board, and also a very good chef herself, and we’ve worked together in quite a few different countries. Michelle Garnaut, the Owner of M On The Bund Restaurant in Shanghai, is another major influence. She is an extremely well-travelled person with a wealth of food knowledge she was always only too happy to share with me.
What is your favourite dish to make and why?
I love curries, and I love biriyani, especially goat biriyani. The spices, rice, goat and garlic, cooked for a few hours until nicely caramelised is my favourite dish to make.
Who is your favourite Chef right now and why?
Andrew McConnell – having worked with him previously, it’s been lovely watching his restaurant group grow steadily, and with such a diverse range of styles and cuisines.