I'm very excited about this interview and i hope everyone else is too. I was lucky enough to visit Pont St at Belgraves last year and was given a food lesson from Head Chef Sophie Michell. Too add to my luck Sophie has agreed to an interview- i trust everyone now knows the drill.
So please do read on.
Hailing from a lineage of avid foodies and professional cooks, Sophie Michell’s first encounters with cooking were with her grandmother aged 4. Showing incredible potential so early on, by the young age of 15 she was already running services in a Somerset gastropub and a career in the food industry was already decided upon.
Sophie went on to train at the respected Butler's Wharf Chef School in London, while working at reputable and glamorous restaurants La Gavroche, Michelin-starred Greenhouse, the Lanesborough and the Embassy. At the age of 19, Sophie had been nominated ‘Young Chef of the Year’ by the prestigious Craft Guild of Chefs.
Sophie’s gastronomic interests have always centred on eclectic cuisines, quality ingredients and nutritional virtue. Her taste for adventure and appreciation of both classic and avantgarde fare have led her to be the private Chef for international super model Claudia Schiffer for two years. Sophie developed her interest in healthy eating and has worked privately for other starry clients such as Leonardo DiCaprio. She has also continued to cater for high profile events and most recently was executive chef for The Royal Polo for Prince William and Prince Harry at Lord Lloyd Webber’s estate.
Perhaps her biggest challenge to date was becoming the UK’s youngest female Executive Chef at London’s chic Belgraves Hotel; a title she is immensely proud of. She completely overhauled the food offering after Mark Hix’s departure at the luxury boutique hotel in Belgravia, which has had a superb response, numerous good reviews and a growing fan base since the hotel's restaurant, Pont St, was re-launched in 2013.
As part of Heathrow Airport's growth of Terminal 2 as a destination for food, fashion and lifestyle, Michell is part of the team behind The Gorgeous Kitchen, an exciting brand new contemporary restaurant providing passengers with a delicious menu worthy of any of the capital's top restaurants.
Sophie has a successful career out of the kitchen as a TV presenter and food writer. She was part of C4's smash hit cooking show, 'Cook Yourself Thin', and also co-wrote the book of the same name which went on to sell hundreds of thousands of copies. Other TV highlights include Sky Taste, Market Kitchen, Comic Relief, Iron Chef USA and Masterchef.
She has also worked with many big British and global brands a brand ambassador and consultant including Ocado, Total Yoghurt, Herbal Essences, HaagenDazs, Danone, Tefal and Lindemann. She has had columns and contributed to titles such as Grazia, Healthy Magazine, Eat Me, and broadsheets including The Telegraph and The Independent, The Mirror, The Sun, The Times, The Guardian Weekend Magazine, Stella, YOU magazine, The Mail and Observer Food Monthly.
Sophie joined the specialist judging panel for the renowned Smith Hotel Awards last November and the‘Young National Chef of the Year’ awards. She was also invited by the editor of Sunday Times Style to join a talk with designer of the moment, Emilia Wickstead, at the prestigious Cheltenham Literature Festival about the relationship between fashion and food. Sophie had the pleasure of designing the menu and hosting a lunch for 200 recently in October
As a published author, she has released three further books ‘Irresistible’, 'Fabulous Food', and 'Love Good Food.' Sophie released two new books last year, ‘The Gorgeous Kitchen’ and a book in collaboration with Total Greek Yoghurt.
- Who would be your ideal chef to cook for you?
Micheal Roux Junior, amaaaaaazing chef
- What do you see yourself doing in 5 years time?
Living on somewhere similar to Necker Island with the funds to cover it. Failing that, in a kitchen. Possibly with a few more projects side by side.
- When did you first realise you wanted to be a chef?
When I was 14 and I realised that I could make money out of what until then had been a passion and obsession. I left school within the year and became a full time chef.
- Where would you go for a burger?
Pont St. Not joking, our burgers are great. We have a fancy one, but I like the classic burger on our menu, daily, freshly made Brioche, sesame topped buns, gourmet burger sauce (abit like a Big Mac sauce made with amazing ingredients and from scratch) Oglesheild cheese (has a great melting consistency) and my 'fairground' onions, onions that are reminiscent of the onions you get with hot dogs at the fairground. Charred and aromatic.
- Why London?
It's the best city in the world.
- Which dish is your go to dish on a lazy day?
Cheese on toast with masses of pickles or cheese on crackers with homemade chutney (my grandmas recipe) on a really bad day its Prawn cocktail Crisps.
WOW- just WOW.
thank you Sophie for the amazing food and now this interview. there aren't too many perks to this blogging gig, but meeting Sophie and doing this is definitely one.