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Revelations: Ben Orpwood, executive chef, Issho, Leeds

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Revelations: Ben Orpwood, executive chef, Issho, Leeds

What was your best subject at school?
Believe it or not, drama. It was a bit of a doss, but it was my highest GCSE grade

What was your first job?
I made my name as a paper boy – always delivered before 7am

What was your first job in catering?
An apprentice at Queens’ College in Cambridge

What do you do to relax?
Walk my dogs with my wife, spin the wheels of steel (listen to records) and I am an avid cricket fan, either playing or watching

What is your favourite restaurant?
Elystan Street or J Sheekey in London or Maru Aoyama in Tokyo

What’s your favourite hotel?
Park Hyatt Tokyo

What is your favourite drink?
A Yamazaki highball

Which ingredient do you hate the most?
Japanese seaweed salad mix

Are there any foods/ingredients that you refuse to cook with?
Japanese seaweed salad mix – it tastes like plastic. Everyone has it on their menus and I hate it

What flavour combinations do you detest?
I have had a few savoury desserts recently – including Jerusalem artichoke – and I don’t get them

Which person in catering have you most admired?
Tim Hughes, chef-director of Caprice Holdings

Which person gave you the greatest inspiration?
Colin Clague, executive chef for Rüya Dubai, and my wife, Nilar

Cast away on a desert island, what luxury would you take?
An ice-cream machine and a lifetime’s supply of milk and eggs

If not yourself, who would you rather have been?
Paul Weller

If you had not gone into catering, where do you think you would be now?
Struggling, I would think

Tell us a secret…
I am a tofu freak. I will get you to eat it in the restaurant and you will not even know

What irritates you most about the industry?
The work-life balance that commis chefs come in looking for. A lot of young ‘chefs’ want it all without putting the work in. They want it all by the age of 25

What’s your favourite film?
Withnail and I

What is your favourite prepared product?
Japanese smoked sausages

If you had more time, what would you do?
Talk to my wife…

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