We’re proud as punch of Gary Foulkes and his Angler team, following the news that we’ve retained our Michelin star for a fourth consecutive year. We managed to get a few moments with Gary for his thoughts on the challenging task of retaining that hard-earned Michelin star, and his plans for the future…
What are the main challenges a restaurant faces when retaining a Michelin star as the years go on?
It’s all about keeping consistency and intensity at the highest level, whilst not becoming stale. You absolutely can’t rest on your laurels and become complacent, because Michelin will suss you out, and you’ll lose the star as quickly as you won it. The restaurant world is fast-paced, and keeping your offering progressive is key too.
How do you ensure your team doesn’t become complacent, when things are going well?
Keeping the team grounded is vital. I’m a humble guy and know that it takes more than one person to deliver what we do. Yesterday was a great day, but this morning it’s business as usual – we’re back in the kitchen delivering the product. For every success you celebrate, there’s another goal on the horizon.
You’ve been at Angler for six months now, and have already put your own stamp on it. Were you nervous that making changes would jeopardise the Michelin-star?
No – as a Chef you can’t be afraid to make changes. I had to pursue my own vision to make it a success, and I didn’t come in to replicate what was already being delivered. Every Chef has their own ideas, perspective and vision of what they want to cook. I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made so far but there is always room for improvement and progression… so we go again!
To what extent is winning a Michelin star ‘box ticking’? What is the difference between cooking for stars, and for customers?
If you start cooking for accolades, that’s when you get in trouble. It’s best to cook food you truly believe in, and if you do that to a high standard, more often than not the awards come as a result.
What is your vision for Angler in the next six months? Two years?
In the short term, to continue to improve and develop what we offer. I want the food to be an organic growth, and not forced, and that takes time.
And long term? I’ve got my sights set on two Michelin stars…