Chef Q&A: Zak Perrin, Head Chef, The Falcon Inn at Fotheringhay

Zak Perrin started cooking for others at a young age and is now bringing delicious new flavour combinations to Fotheringhay’s Falcon Inn...

What is your earliest childhood food memory?
“One that stands out, is baking flapjacks from a copy of My First Cookbook under the careful supervision of my mum! We worked through every recipe in that book. It was always nice cooking a meal before my dad would arrive home from work and presenting both parents with that day’s conquered recipe (Cowboy Pie was incredibly popular!).”

What is your favourite dish to cook for friends and family?
“I like to try out new flavour profiles and combinations, or new local produce, and use my guests as guinea pigs before it makes it to a menu. Most recently I cooked tagliatelle with wild garlic and White Wytch cheese from Sacrewell Farm for myself and my partner Madison.”

Who influenced your cooking most?
“My parents were both always a big influence in food growing up. We rarely ate junk food, and we were always exposed to new foods and really encouraged to try them with an open mind.”

Zak’s presentation is flawless

Is there a chef you admire most?
“I would have to say Frederic and Rika Bau. They gave me the opportunity of a lifetime, to work in France, to learn a different way of life, to really hone my skills as a young chef.”

What is your favourite ingredient and why?
“The humble onion; the backbone of classic cuisine and used in just about everything. I’ve also recently discovered Jeye’s Northamptonshire Sauce through the Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards, which has replaced Lea & Perrins in our cupboard at home and is slowly finding its way into more and more dinners (and recipes at The Falcon Inn).”

Do you have a favourite cuisine?
“I’m quite open with food so picking a favourite cuisine is a difficult task! I feel that the further into my career I get, the more respect I have for the French classics. That said, I love the different perspective and emotion that a more Asian-style plate can bring!”

Do you have a favourite restaurant?
“It’s hard to pick a favourite restaurant; we’re very blessed to have so many great eateries in the area! We have always loved dining at The Olive Branch in Clipsham and we’re always made to feel very welcome there! It was also our last meal out, before the first lockdown!”

Food on a Plate or Slate?
“Food definitely belongs on a plate. I went through a slate phase, and as nice as it looks it’s the dull scrape when cutlery drags across it that puts me off!”

Marmite, love or hate?
“Marmite is a love from me! I used to hate it as a child, but now it features in a few recipes here at The Falcon Inn, from sauces to brioche!”

What would your last meal be?
“I think my last meal would be a traditional beef roast dinner. There’s nothing more comforting than a good old family Sunday roast with everybody around the dinner table, which I have fond memories of.”

The author:

Matt lives in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire. He is passionate about the independent food & drink sector and founded Great Food Club in 2010 after being inspired by local producers near his home town.