Great Chefs

Meet some of our Great Chefs

  • David Bell
    Head of Development

    David began the first ten years of his chef career in Michelin-starred and fine dining restaurants across the North West UK, London, America and Australia. At the same time he was also completing a Culinary Arts degree. For the past nine years he’s been working in food development for Bakkavor, allowing him to put his culinary skills to the test on a large scale.

    What do you like best about your job?

    I love the fact that TAFC always puts taste first. We have a big team of chefs here, all working to create authentic dishes. It means we produce really great quality food.

    What's your favourite dish?

    Any butter chicken or Makhani. I just love the indulgence and depth of flavour that these dishes deliver!

  • Rakesh Sharma
    Senior Development Chef

    Rakesh’s impressive career has taken him around the globe. He honed his skills at the Hyatt Regency in Delhi, spending ten years working his way up from apprentice chef and developing his expertise in Indian Cuisine.

    What do you like best about your job?

    Developing food recipes from around the world for big brands.

    What’s your favourite dish?

    Roasted Tandoori lamb leg with a jewelled rice.

  • Kapil Uppal
    Development Chef

    Kapil graduated from the Mumbai Institute of Hotel Management and joined Oberoni Hotels and Resorts with responsibilities for numerous restaurants and cuisines as varied as Mexican, Indian and Mediterranean.

    What do you like best about your job?

    I get a buzz out of creating something magical with an abundance of spices and I have a passion for creating new recipes. Here I don’t limit my imagination to one cuisine it’s much more about the discovery of new global flavours. This freedom to create great, authentic foods is what drives me - I get to fulfil my dream as a creative chef.

    What’s your favourite dish?

    Kori gaasi (Mangoleran chicken curry) with neer dosa and crispy okra.

  • Catherine Leahy
    Development Chef

    Catherine's enjoyed a variety of roles in her career, including running her own successful catering business for nine years. Before joining The Authentic Food Co Catherine was Head Chef at Arley Hall, running the restaurant and managing the weddings and functions side of the business.

    What do you like best about your job?

    Getting to try all the amazing dishes that are created in the NPD kitchen.

    What's your favourite dish?

    A classic Thai dish, chicken penang and Thai sticky rice.

  • Matt Stevens
    Development Chef

    Matt has worked in some of the best restaurants and hotels in North West UK, including the 4 AA Rosettes Manchester House working for Aiden Byrne, and The Wayfarer, that was awarded the Top Brassiere in Stafford. After studying professional cookery Matt was employed in the restaurants of Simon Rogan, Michael Caines and Andrew Keeling.

    What do you like best about your job?

    Following the whole journey our products take - from receiving a customer brief and seeing the new raw materials arrive, to experimenting with combinations and cooking methods, assembling a dish and seeing the final, quality product leave the factory.

    What’s your favourite dish?

    Duck breast with cauliflower and vanilla puree, charred spring onion and a red wine vinegar caramel.

  • Jay Jayaraman
    Senior Development Chef

    Jay is a chemistry undergraduate whose passion for cooking saw him move to a career in catering. He now has over 20 years’ experience in the catering industry, in multi-national hotel chains, restaurants and food manufacturing. He’s worked in three countries and with a diversity of cuisines, from American to Asian, Italian to Indian and Mexican to Middle Eastern. Consequently Jay is well-versed in a multitude of cooking styles and flavours!

    What do you like best about your job?

    At TAFC each day is different and brings in a new challenge, which keeps me motivated to do my best. The chef in me loves the way we work with quality ingredients and authentic cooking techniques - it makes TAFC stand out amongst rivals.

    What’s your favourite dish?

    Avial - a vegetarian stew seasoned with coconut oil and curry leaves that originates from South India.

  • Victor Yu
    Consultant Chef - Oriental

    Since 2010 we have worked closely with the magnificent Victor Yu and his family on our portfolio of Chinese dishes. The Yu family’s restaurant in the Ribble Valley scooped the award for the best Chinese in the UK as selected by Gordon Ramsey. Victor is passionate about taking Chinese cuisine to the next level – using the best ingredients and elevating them using both traditional and modern methods of cooking. From helping us select the best ingredients to working with us in our kitchen on new recipes, Victor helps us achieve vibrant authentic flavours and textures in our dishes. The awards have continued and Victor’s latest venture in Alderly Edge with brother Vinny (Yu Alderly) has recently secured a 3-star legacy of taste award and the Cheshire Life Restaurant Of The Year 2016 accolade.

    OUR FAVOURITE DISH PREPARED BY VICTOR

    The famous Wok seared Wagu Beef Fillet with Sweet Soy & Lime of course!

  • Paul Heathcote
    Consultant Chef - British & Italian

    As our range has extended we have had the pleasure of working closely with the mighty Paul Heathcote MBE to help us hone our British & Italian dishes. Paul is an industry giant and his career has spanned stints in Switzerland, Sharrow Bay Hotel, Ullswater, The Connaught in Mayfair, London and Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons. In 1994 Paul was awarded his second star from Michelin making him the only chef in the North West to achieve such heights. Paul is regularly in our kitchen advising us on anything from the best cuts of meat and butchery through to how to make the perfect mash. Paul is also as at home on the golf course as he is on the kitchen so he occasionally gets a call to help us out on this front too in industry competitions!

    OUR FAVOURITE DISH PREPARED BY PAUL

    Quite simply Paul’s Black Pudding with anything is exquisite!

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