Martin Ng, Head Chef
Martin is Head Chef at Thistle Cheltenham and has worked his way up through the ranks. As Head Chef, he manages the kitchen team and ensures they are delivering our guests with the highest quality dishes possible.
Martin has been a chef for 18 years. “Cooking has always been my passion. I come from three generations of chefs and even when I was growing up, I was always around people cooking”, Martin states.
Here are our questions for him:
Which tasks form part of your daily routine as Head Chef?
As Head Chef, I am more an orchestrator of operations in the kitchen then solely a creator of dishes. Stock control, ordering, food safety issues, hygiene, wages, allocating the right manpower – all of those tasks form part of my daily routines. On normal days in my kitchen, I have 9 chefs and 4 kitchen boys, all of who need to be managed and looked after. Our kitchen gets very busy, especially for functions. Thistle Cheltenham is capable of hosting a sit-down-dinner for 350 people. That really requires a lot of preparation and concentration on the day.
What do you love most about your job?
One of the things I enjoy most about my job is that adrenaline buzz and euphoric feeling after you’ve fed a full house of people. You may have cooked for 300 guests in the function suite and 90 people in the restaurant and co-coordinating all this and then seeing clean plates coming back and happy faces generates a feeling like no other!
What are some of the daily challenges you are faced with?
One challenge that is always present is making sure that my own and Thistle’s standards are being met as my name is on every plate that leaves the kitchen, which makes me always accountable. So it is not only the food quality but also the presentation: making sure no sauce has dropped on the plate’s rim etc.
What is the most memorable moment you have experienced in your career / What has been the most challenging day/event?
I once cooked for a very high-profile event with 5 courses for 175 people. There were several really good chefs and more experienced than I was at that stage. Yet, nobody had wanted to take care of the main course but rather did the starter or the soufflé desert etc. So then I took on the challenge – it was the greatest challenge for me so far and I was very nervous despite lots of preparation, planning and practicing. The event went well and afterwards I was very happy to have had the courage to do it.
What do you like doing in when you’re not at work?
I love nothing better than to unwind and delve into my DVD collection of approximately 2,500 films and TV series.
My top tips for creating the perfect romantic meal?
- Cook from the heart and more importantly with passion
- Use foods that you both like and incorporate that into your menu
- The best food is not necessarily about presentation but what is on the plate. Ask yourself -would you eat it?
- Finish the meal with a chocolate dessert – a good all-round finish to any menu