Interview with Celebrity Chef, Craig Ian McAlpine - Bespoke Cuisine
How did you decide to become a chef?
I’d worked in the trade for many years, whilst still at university doing masters and PhD. I was always a good cook but never aspired to be a chef, but realised I could use it as a good way to begin my first business.
What made you start Bespoke Cuisine?
I’ve worked in restaurants for years through university, and for many years, people had encouraged me to open my own restaurant. At 20-something, I didn’t really know very much about running restaurants, so continued with academia. I was then on a television programme, Come Dine with Me, which I won. On the back of that, a lot of people who saw the programme asked me to come and cook for them, and I quickly realised there might be a good business in it. Over the years, I’ve grown Bespoke Cuisine into the full-scale catering company that it is now. We provide both corporate and private catering, with a variety of products and services.
What’s your most popular recipe?
It’s an old favourite, but our beef Wellington is always popular. Clients seem to love it. We do it rather really well, and it is a show-stopping dish to put on a plate.
What makes Bespoke Cuisine different from other catering companies?
We pride ourselves on being small and personal. Our service is bespoke, so clients can request most things; and we like to be able to tailor things to their exact requirements and budgets. People come to us because they love my cooking. We also use the finest freshest seasonal ingredients, and make pretty much everything from scratch. I cook with a lot of passion and creativity and care, and I think that shows through in the food.
If you were to cook something to impress a date, what would you make?
I’d figure out what sort of things she likes first, some girls are funny about fish and lamb (and sometimes red meat too). I’d keep the dish quite light and simple, but sexy, even something as simple as a very good piece of fillet steak with homemade chips, and a crisp green salad. Most girls love chips (even if they protest) and to finish… something sexy and chocolaty, preferably gooey, and slightly sticky. Of course, good drinks are an essential accompaniment… cocktails or champagne to start, and a nice juicy red with the steak. And probably Champagne to retire with beside a log fire.
Could you share a recipe with us?
Here’s a video link to a recipe demonstration:
Tell us a little about your team at Bespoke Cuisine?
I have a pool of casual event chefs, a prep chef, based at our prep kitchen, an event/office manager, and a pool of casual waiting staff.
When do you plan to launch your next cookbook?
I’m hoping to start making serious groundwork on a cookbook by the autumn.
How many types of cuisines and menus you offer?
We can provide quite a range. Our mainstay is modern British/European; however, we have clients who want Italian, Mexican, Asian, Spanish, Greek, and even Swedish. I’m versatile and capable.
What are the essential ingredients you can’t live without?
Sea salt, olive oil, bay leaves, garlic, lemon – with those, one can do most things, and cook wonderful food.
Which do you think is the best event you have catered so far?
We’ve done so many… from fantastic private dinners with fun guests, to large banquets with famous and important people, to challenging events, like cooking a BBQ on the beach for 80 people.
What according to you makes or breaks an event?
Good planning and preparation, with plenty of provisions is the making of the event (behind the scenes, certainly). Out front… a good crowd, in a great venue, with good lighting and fantastic atmosphere. I think the crowd/guests have the biggest impact on an event – even with the finest food, the best wine, a fantastic venue and great settings, a dull crowd breaks the event. There needs to be an atmosphere; electricity; a buzz.
Thanks for the Interview. How can our readers get in touch with you?
Craig Ian McAlpine
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