5 Minutes With… John Maltby
John Maltby joined the culinary team at Adare Manor in July 2020 as Chef De Cuisine at The Carriage House. Originally from Edinburgh in Scotland, John has worked as a chef for over 21 years. Cooking was always his ambition, having spent his childhood baking with his great-grandmother. By the time he was 13, he knew that he was going to be a chef. At 16 John started working in the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – the Caledonian, learning quickly in a fast paced, five-star environment. He went on to work in a series of four and five-star properties, developing his skills in the kitchen and his knowledge of fine dining.
Before joining the team at Adare Manor, John held the position of Chef De Cuisine at the five-star Trump Turnberry Hotel and brings his experience with luxury properties to his role at The Carriage House. We caught up with John to discuss some of his standout memories since joining the team, his favourite flavour combination and his inspiration behind crafting The Carriage House menu.
When did you join the team at Adare Manor and how has your experience been?
I joined the team at Adare Manor in July 2020. I moved to Adare from the Trump Turnberry Hotel. It was a bit of a tough start with two Covid lockdowns but thankfully I have an amazing team in The Carriage House who really pulled together. I am delighted to say that we are definitely going in the right direction and I’m really looking forward to a successful summer season, working closely with the executive culinary team and my team in the kitchens at The Carriage House.
Who inspired you to become a chef?
My great-grandmother. She used to teach me how to cook when I was little boy.
We used to bake scones and brownies. Later she taught me how to cook fish cakes and ever since then I got the taste to be in a kitchen.
Who or what inspires your cooking today?
I like to keep up to date with the food industry/what chefs are doing on social media. Sometimes I take inspiration from their ideas and methods but always adapt it in some way to my own style of cooking. I don’t like to copy and paste other chef’s ideas. I prefer to do my own thing and trust what I have learnt over the last 21 years of working in kitchens.
Where did you train to become a chef?
I started to train as a chef when I was 16. I didn’t really have an interest in school but I had always wanted to be a chef since I was 13 years old. I started in a hotel called the Caledonian Waldorf Hotel. I worked there for around 3 years and it taught me so much. I had hard training even at that young age. I am probably the last generation of chefs that will have been taught by old school disciplined chefs.
What is your main inspiration for the current Spring menu in The Carriage House?
My main inspiration when creating menus for The Carriage House is using the fantastic produce that Ireland has to offer. There is so much quality produce to choose from. Ireland is similar to Scotland in terms of weather and quality produce, so I found it easy to incorporate Irish ingredients into my style of cooking. The key for me when creating dishes is to have fresh ingredients, handled with some love and care, bringing key flavours together nicely. And most importantly that the dish tastes good!
What are the most important considerations when crafting your menu?
There are a couple of key considerations when crafting a menu for example depending on where you are, you need to look at your market and ask yourself – who you are as a restaurant and where do you want to go? A big factor for me is also considering will this menu help my chefs learn, develop and stay inspired. That is one of the most important things as if you have a settled team that are constantly challenged and inspired then everything else falls into place. Consistency is key.
Do you have a favourite dish on the menu to prepare?
A favourite of mine is the Duo of Spring Lamb with seared lamb rump, lamb shoulder & potato terrine, braised carrot, pea purée, soy-glazed hispi cabbage and basil jus. It has a few different components going on, plates well and is tasty!
Can you tell us more about the cuisine in The Carriage House?
Our philosophy is simple, great food sourced from local suppliers, cooked with care and exceptional attention to detail. Our menu is varied and we always try cater to our guests’ dietary requirements. I would describe the style of cuisine in The Carriage House as very high-end steakhouse / brasserie food.
What is one ingredient you could not live without?
Garlic is definitely my favourite and most used ingredient – I love it!
What advice would you give to people aspiring to be in your position one day?
I would say be driven, but patient – too many young chefs want to rush up the ladder. I think it is important to really take the time to learn your trade first. Becoming a good chef requires dedication and loyalty. Learn as much as you can and work in restaurants/ food operations that challenge you.
What is the best advice you ever got?
Work as hard as you can and be the best person you can be.
‘Look after your team and your team will look after you’ is also some professional advice I live by.
Are there any standout moments you have experienced since joining The Carriage House?
Developing the menu to where it is today. Since joining Adare Manor, I wanted to elevate The Carriage House offering. I think that my team and I have definitely achieved that.
Another standout for me would be building a fantastic team while keeping 5 of the original core team members. I am very privileged and honoured to have such a talented and driven team, that’s always striving to push to the next level. A highlight has been helping them develop and watching my team grow into the chefs they want to become.
What is your favourite dish to cook at home?
Probably a Sunday roast for my girlfriend. I also enjoy making a nice homemade curry or lasagne. I’m happy to cook for friends and family at home as long as I am not doing the dishes!
Do you have a favourite flavour combination?
My favourite would have to be parsnip and white chocolate and tonka bean. It’s amazing with scallops or game, venison etc. Another favourite combination would be tarragon and strawberry.
Do you have a favourite time of the year to cook?
If I had to choose, I would probably prefer cooking in the wintertime as I really enjoy the variety of the ingredients that is in season and the game that is available at the time.
What is your signature dish?
I would say saffron poached monkfish, smoked lobster and vanilla risotto, watercress foam, braised baby leeks.
Another popular dish among guests in The Carriage House is my handmade granola. We use a large variety of nuts and seeds including walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts and almonds, pistachios, chia seeds, and sunflower seeds – so it will definitely give you energy for the day ahead.
How would you describe your style of cooking in 3 words?
Flavoursome – creative – experimental.
JOIN THE TEAM
Try our Handmade Granola created by John and his team.