Three Courses With…Lewis Jackson
Lewis Jackson has worked his way through the ranks to head up the kitchen at the two-AA-rosetted Mulberry Tree in Boughton Monchelsea, near Maidstone. He trained at East Kent College and then worked at Hempstead House Hotel, before starting as Chef de Partie at the Mulberry Tree. Under two experienced head chefs he learned to focus on top-quality local ingredients and he has maintained the rosettes and Michelin listing. Under his stewardship the Mulberry Tree was a finalist in the 2017 Taste of Kent Awards. We caught up with Lewis for three courses…
What first got you into food and who were your early influences?
My passion started with my own liking for anything to do with food. Consequently, I used to spend a lot of time in the kitchen with my mother who trained as a chef and makes the most amazing wedding cakes. My parents encouraged me to do something that I enjoyed as a career, hence I went to Thanet College to train as a chef.
Tell us about the most memorable meal you’ve ever had.
I went to a family run hotel in the Tuscan Hills, Al Vecchio Convento, on a week's work experience and I had some of the most memorable meals I have ever had during that time. The style was typically Italian: rustic, yet with a modern twist. The two sons of the family have worked all over the world in Michelin-starred establishments. The mother and her sister have passed on family recipes to the sons, giving a very down to earth family feel to the food, yet with flair and a current twist. Everything is sourced locally and in most cases actually grown by the hotel in their own fields. I even went out truffle hunting in the woods by the hotel! The flavours and taste combinations were sensational.
We’re sending you on an all-expenses paid trip to a restaurant of your choice anywhere in the world. Where are you going and why?
I have always wanted to visit Alinea in Chicago. The passion and philosophy behind the chef is awe-inspiring with his having had chemotherapy and lost all his taste buds and to then achieve the ultimate culinary excellence of 3 Michelin stars. The food is innovative, unique and completely inspiring.