Chef of Chef Works: Aiden Byrne AUGUST 2022
Chef: Aiden Byrne, Chef Proprietor.
Restaurant/Kitchen: The Church Green.
Location: Lymm, Cheshire, UK.
Social Media: @chefaidenbyrne / @thechurchgreen (Instagram)
This month we are delighted to introduce Chef Proprietor of The Church Green – Aiden Byrne. An award-winning chef, Aiden is passionate about home cooking and inspiring hospitality's next generation of culinary talent. Get to know Chef Aiden’s culinary tips and much more in our August edition…
1. Your restaurant/role:
Chef Proprietor of The Church Green, Lymm. I’ve held this role since 2008 having recently celebrated our 14th birthday.
2. Describe your kitchen:
Where passion and creativity meet – we are a small, but experienced kitchen brigade with big friendly personalities.
The Church Green is a family owned pub, deli and event space in the heart of Cheshire. We are a hard-working, dedicated kitchen and service team, offering a one-of-a-kind food experience, be it for pleasure or business, events and weddings or simple home cooked food.
The Deli at Church Green in the beautiful village of Lymm, Cheshire.
3. Favourite Chef Works item and why?
The jacket I’m wearing! It's a Bristol Chef Coat and is always my uniform of choice - it’s cool and robust, yet formal enough to be smart in front of guests.
4. What was your first job?
My first hospitality job was at the Michelin Star restaurant in the Chester Grosvenor, where I actually worked for free until they gave me a job. It was such an invaluable experience and led me to my first paid position as a Commis Chef under the guidance of Head Chef Paul Reid.
5. Favourite cookbook and why? (we love recommendations)!
With numerous TV guest appearances under my belt, including MasterChef, The Great British Menu and Restaurant Wars – The Battle for Manchester, I was proud to author my own cook book: Made in Great Britain - 150 Recipes using the best of local ingredients. So I would say that this could be my favourite!
However, I have always been influenced by and enjoy reading Larousse Gastronomique, the encyclopaedia of French gastronomy. I love reading about classic French cuisine and cooking techniques.
6. Your awards/career highlights to date?
Winning my first Michelin star was certainly a career highlight, making me the youngest Chef to receive one at just 22. Another achievement I hold close to my heart is winning AA Restaurant of the Year for our family owned pub and restaurant, The Church Green in Lymm, Cheshire.
I am also passionate about supporting and developing the next generation of chefs. I work closely with a number of local colleges, so any opportunity to help young chefs on their journey is always a highlight for me.
Delicious Lobster & Courgette Salad with Apricots and Almonds at Church Green.
7. Your cooking inspiration and why?
I love using fresh, local and seasonal ingredients to create honest, yet playful dishes. My cousin Alan actually inspired me to begin my journey into hospitality, he studied catering at school and I was fascinated – copying everything he did. I owe my career to him.
8. Your speciality dish and what makes it so special (we love tasting notes)?
It isn’t within my personality to stand still, so during the first lockdown in 2020 I honed in on my pie making skills and delivered them to our neighbourhood, resulting in hugely positive and welcoming feedback. The pies quickly became a sensation on the street and provided us with the light bulb moment to utilise an underperforming area at The Church Green and transform it into what we now call The Deli.
Today The Deli is a renowned success with customers visiting from the region to enjoy home made fresh produce including of course the pies that made it all happen!
9. Favourite go-to dish to eat and why?
Everyone always assumes that I would prefer something really fancy, but for me it has to be a roast chicken dinner, because it’s so much more than just a dinner, its actually the luxury of time whilst at home with my family – something that every chef knows is a challenge!
Fig & Lemon Pavlova served with Lemon Sorbet at Church Green.
10. Weirdest thing you ever ate?
Black pudding ice cream – I was privileged to judge the International Food and Wine Society Black Pudding Competition for young and upcoming chefs. I have tasted some absolutely stunning dishes using this under rated ingredient, but within ice cream... I’m still not sure!.
11. Favourite ice cream flavour and what do you pair it with?
You can’t beat a great Vanilla ice cream with a fabulous crumble.
12. Favourite family recipe?
Chorizo Chicken with Roast Potatoes. We enjoy cooking and eating together as a family and this is something that our youngest daughter Bella loves to serve up.
13. Favourite wine – if you could only pick one which would it be?
I’ve not had a drink for just over 4 years, but I used to love and will always recommend a white Rioja from Valencisco.
Chef Aiden in his happy place.
14. Who would you most like to cook for and what would you cook for them?
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, she’s fabulous and such an inspiration.
15. And who would you least like to cook for?
My father in law! He always tells me it’s wrong!
16. Favourite things to do when not cooking:
Time with my family is always precious, so I will take any opportunity to relax with them. I’ve also recently taken up golf and really enjoy a day on the greens!
17. Your latest project at The Church Green?
We’ve got lots in mind for The Church Green. We have invested heavily in the outdoor space. Our most recent addition is The Shack – a new al fresco dining option, serving wood fired pizzas to our customers.
18. Favourite city, what makes it so special to you?
San Sebastian, a Spanish city that is well known for its excellent cuisine. It’s always a fabulous dining experience.
19. Your greatest indulgence?
A family holiday. Switching off and relaxing is so hard for many chefs, especially when you’re a business owner too.
20. And finally, your all-time best culinary tip:
Always use the best ingredients you can afford, and invest time in the youth of hospitality as they will be the future of the industry.
Photography: David Lindsay.