Chef of Chef Works: Alan Knott 2023
Chef: Alan Knott.
Restaurant/Kitchen: Badminton House.
Location: Badminton, South Gloucestershire, UK.
Social Media: @chefalan.knott - Instagram
This month we had the chance to visit Chef Works wearer, Alan Knott – Personal Chef to the Duke and Duchess of Beaufort at the beautiful Badminton House in Gloucestershire. Steeped in history, this 17th century listed building is now the home of the 12th iteration of the Beaufort’s and Chef Alan is on hand to cater to their needs. From daily dining to gala events, learn more about Alan’s life catering to royalty and what inspires his cooking…
1. Describe your restaurant / role:
I'm the Personal Chef to the Duke and Duchess of Beaufort.
2. Describe your kitchen and team:
The kitchen is in the heart of the house, it’s used by the Duke and Duchess and their guests, so it is not commercial, but we have access to a full range of equipment and space.
3. An average day in your life as a Private Chef:
An average day for me consists of cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner for the Duke and Duchess, as well as planning for upcoming functions, dinner parties and events. I am also responsible for ordering and speaking to suppliers.
A decadent caramelised Peach Tart Tatin.
4. Favourite Chef Works item and why?
The new sustainable Tulum Chefs Coat. I love the fit and the modern style. It’s extremely comfortable and breathable so I can keep cool in a hot kitchen.
5. First job?
I was a professional football player for Portsmouth FC.
6. Favourite cookbook and why?
The Pie Room by Calum Franklin. I love the way that pies have been reinvented and made into a very high standard food now. Using old copper moulds and the care and detail that go onto Calum's pies. The book is a masterclass in pastry and beautiful recipes.
Centuries of cooking for the great and the good in a kitchen steeped in history.
7. Career highlights and awards:
Cooking for members of the Royal Family.
8. Your cooking inspiration:
I do not have one person in particular, growing up I came from a family of home cooks, my mum and gran were always in the kitchen. I love what Tom Kerridge does, as well as Calum Franklin for his pastry and Heston Blumenthal for his sheer genius and science with food.
9. Your speciality dish and what makes it so special?
Again I don’t have one in particular, I’m very lucky to be able to source and use the best ingredients I can find and we have an amazing team of gardeners who produce fresh vegetables and fruit for me to use all year round. The taste and quality are so good, so in answer to your question - any home produced ingredient I add to a dish is what makes it special.
Whole roasted Sea Bass with sundried tomatoes, olives and a squeeze of lemon .
10. Favourite dish to eat and why?
I have an obsession with street food at the moment. Burgers and wraps in particular. I love the vibe and authenticity of flavours!
11. Weirdest thing you ever ate?
12. Favourite ice cream flavour and what do you pair it with?
Pistachio with miso and almond tuile.
13. Favourite family recipe?
My mum used to make a delicious brown bread ice cream.
Chef Alan in his contemporary sustainable Tulum Chef Coat surrounded by history.
14. Favourite wine – any specific ones in particular?
I don’t like wine, but I do love Pol Roger Champagne.
15. Who would you most like to cook for and why?
My father. He passed away some years ago but I never got to cook for him. I would have loved to, followed by sharing a nice bottle of port or two!
16. And who would you least like to cook for?
Also my dad, because I know we would have ended up blind drunk before I’d finished cooking and it would have turned out burnt!
17. Favourite things to do when not cooking:
I work a lot of hours so the simple pleasures of spending it with my wife and children. Going on holiday and enjoying a beer in the pub.
18. Favourite city, any particular highlights?
London, I love the atmosphere, the history and the food scene. My wife Laura took me away there for my 50th birthday, we visited Fallow for lunch, dinner at The Savoy and the next day, on the way home, we had lunch at The Hand and Flowers in Marlow. All three were on my culinary bucket list and I felt rather full for about a week!
A fresh hand-picked salad of apricots, Parma ham, grilled haloumi and toasted pinenuts.
19. Your greatest food indulgence?
Bread, I love the different tastes, smells and textures.
20. And finally, your all-time best culinary tip?
I have a few! Professionally don’t be afraid to make mistakes, I believe it’s the only way to truly learn. Also pick a good mentor to work under, someone who you can talk to and ask for advice – you need to feel valued under their leadership. As a home cook, just enjoy the process of cooking, from sourcing the ingredients, cooking them and enjoying the way it brings people together.
Photography: Jason Moore, food courtesy of @chefalan.knott