Five minutes with… Steve Groves

The head chef at Roux at Parliament Square talks about the Roux family, pork crackling and Bobby Robson

Food and Drink 17 Sep 2019

Steve Groves, head chef at Roux at Parliament Square
Roux at Parliament Square

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

In terms of my career it was definitely the advice to run my own race.

 Who is your role model?

Professionally it’s the Roux family. They are always on top of their game and set the benchmark for London restaurants and what people want to achieve. They are really inspiring. Personally it would be my mother and how much her calm and consideration influenced my personality.

What ingredient can you not live without?

Pork, it’s so versatile. Apart from the meat itself, there’s charcuterie and also how much flavour it can bring to dishes as a stock or by using the fat. I like to use meat in my cooking as a support part on a dish that is more vegetable based and pork is great for that. The crackling, for example, can add so much texture.

What do you always take with you when you travel?

It’s obvious but my phone is always with me. Google Maps is a lifesaver.

Where are your favourite places to eat out in London?

The Ledbury is exceptional and Brett Graham’s food is the way I love food to be. It’s not fussy or contrived and uses classical techniques but is very modern. One of my favourite dishes there is the mackerel with cucumber. It’s one of the only two-Michelin star restaurants I will go back to again and again and I’m not going to just to tick it off a list of places I should try.

What do you do on a day off?

I have two young kids aged three and five so I run around after them and play pretend a lot of the time. I also have some hobbies but they all seem to come back to food. I really enjoy food photography and woodwork but I always seem to end up making some kind of serving implement.

What are your passions outside of cooking?

Learning new skills – including the photography and woodwork. YouTube is really great for the research and learning, it has completely changed how you can teach yourself new skills.

Who, living or dead, would you most like to invite to a dinner party?

Bobby Robson, who was not only one of the most successful managers but was also a really nice guy and very classy. I’d love to pick his brains about his life and career. I’d cook him a football-themed menu including posh pies.