0 Items

Meet The Team: Chef Steven Hill, Head of F&B

Meet The Team: Chef Steven Hill, Head of F&B

Nov 1, 2022

 

I meet Chef Steven Hill at LATITUDE Bistro, as he flits around chatting with Members, team briefings and WhatsApp calls. The Club’s Head of F&B joined just a couple of months ago, but going by the vibe, he is as settled in as his team is comfortable with him.

 

Chef Hill grew up in the hotel industry, literally, as his parents dabbled in the hospitality industry. It’s no surprise then that he chose to make his career in culinary arts, cutting his teeth at some of the top kitchens in the UK including that of Chef Marco Pierre White at his London restaurant Titanic. His expat journey, which began in his 20s took him to the West Indies, Middle East—where he worked at a marina owned by the crown prince of Saudi Arabia— before moving to Asia, first to Maldives, then Indonesia and Thailand, where he was with Banyan Tree Resorts, before coming to our shores.

 

The father of three is far from home and his family, but he says that thoughts of his beautiful daughters, Daisy, Rose and Blossom, keep him going. Here, he takes a few minutes off his busy schedule to chat about himself, his work and personality.

 

What do you love most about your job?

I love the prospect of meeting new people and building long term relationships with them. Through my career, I have worked with probably the same team for about 15 years—they have followed me around different jobs in the Maldives and Mauritius. We’re not just colleagues, we are close friends; like family. Having that bond is very important to me.

 

Building and developing the culinary team, watching junior chefs grow and advance in their careers is equally close to my heart. Those days of chef tantrums are gone. For me, it’s all about love and a happy team, and that just evolves and comes out in the food they cook.

 

Tell us about your experience with different cuisines.

Having worked pretty much all around the globe I am well versed in diverse cuisines, from the Caribbean to the Middle East, Europe to Asia and South Asia. I have spent a long time in Thailand and Indonesia, so I would say, they are my favourite cuisines. I love the spice levels. But then I live to learn every day. I am at WOK°15 Kitchen watching the chefs preparing the dishes. The other day, I made mooncakes for the first time. They are not easy to make, but the whole experience was very interesting. I learn something new every day.

 

What can we look forward to in the Club’s menus?

There’s so much we have planned for—at LATITUDE Bistro, WOK°15 Kitchen and Boaters’ Bar. From September, we have a healthy vegan salad—bringing in the farm-to-table element with the greens and herbs from the wall that Grobrix designed for us. I want to incorporate few interactive cooking ideas. I plan to introduce something I had done in the Maldives, called hot rocks, where we put steak, seafood, and others on a charcoal heated plate. The guests actually cook it themselves to their taste and liking. That’s just adding in a bit of theatre and some interaction.

 

The Club has also planned a major refurbishment for next year — and we are going towards a light, fresh and vibrant nautical feel for LATITUDE Bistro. We are also looking at creating a Members’ bar at the barbecue area—I think an exclusive Members-only bar is key to a Club of this stature. I’ve done some artistic drawings of my vision—to include a 12-seater bar with drinks on tap and some tapas on the menu.

 

If not a chef, what would you have been?

Sportsman, perhaps. I was on a sports scholarship in school. I played football, rugby and cricket—the latter two for the county. Growing up, sports was a passion as well, just like food.

 

What is it that makes you tick with others?

I think it’s my energy and passion—they keep me going. I am 50 odd years old, but I am mentally 12—but my body thinks it’s 75 [laughs]. Hopefully, my mindset will permeate through the whole team. I am also someone who likes to look after people and be there for them as the person to go to when they have issues and problems.

 

What gets you up in the morning?

I wake up happy and my mood remains constant through the day—it has always been like that. I walk to work and tell myself ‘today’s going to be great day’. Once you put yourself in that frame of mind, usually things are really positive. The glass is always half full, never half empty, for me. Challenges are a part of life, but we will get through, always find a solution. I do have a couple of crazy rituals on my walk to work or to the train station. If the traffic lights are on green, and I get straight across, it’s going to be a really good day. If it’s on red, then I hold back a little bit—but it is still going to be a good day.

 

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?

My parents. They took a massive step to move away from the West Midlands area to open a hotel in Devon in the ’70s. They put pretty much everything on the line. I grew up in the hotel industry as my parents ran various hotels and country clubs. My mother was a catering college lecturer prior to that—which was unheard of for a woman then—and her passion and knowledge of food ignited my own passion for cooking. My parents have always tried to push me in the right direction in life and to be a good, kind and caring person.

 

What advice would you give your younger self?

If I was 17 years old again, I would push myself to invest in property. Get a nice little portfolio of two or three houses, and then you’re set for life.