Hide, the three-storey Mayfair restaurant that has been the talk of the town since it opened, is Michelin-starred Chef Ollie Dabbous’ newest venture. Teaming up with backer Yevgeny Chichvarkin, Russian entrepreneur and owner of wildly successful Hedonism Wines, Chef Ollie’s been cooking full steam ahead and with great pay-offs – Hide was awarded a Michelin star just 6 months after opening.
Chef Ollie’s creative dishes combine seasonal ingredients, carefully sourced ingredients of the highest quality, and surprising combinations of flavours and textures that have become his signature.
We wanted to learn a little bit more about this star chef, so peppered him with a few questions, which he answered below!
For the full restaurant experience, hop over to our review here.
Please provide a brief summary of your career to date.
I trained at Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons in Oxfordshire, starting at the bottom of the kitchen and working my way up. It was tough but gave me the best possible education. I also staged at Pierre Gagnaire, WD-50, Noma, L’ Astrance, and The Fat Duck, then worked at Hibiscus and Mugaritz before returning to London to help set up Texture.
After 2 years, I left to finally set up my own restaurant: Dabbous. That just exploded; we were fully booked for 5 years, but I ultimately felt I had taken a small site and finite resources as far as I could. I relocated to set up Hide, where I am today.
Your purpose as a chef – why were you put on this planet?
To make food taste as good as it possibly can, by respecting the integrity of the ingredient through a style of cooking that is organic but refined.
Your audience is…
Anyone and everyone. I enjoy cooking for a broad demographic.
Cooking is such a personal thing. You obviously need a thick skin to work in this industry but now everyone’s a critic. How do you deal with this?
Quite simply, I know what we create and serve here at Hide on a daily basis. I am confident in my cooking and my team, our organization and the quality of our ingredients. The personal tastes of diners can vary so much, you can’t worry about some level of criticism. You don’t work at this level and not back yourself!
Are there any “oops” moments in your career that you still remember to this day? (Whether as a serious learning lesson or a funny dinner table anecdote).
No major disasters. The worst moment was when some builders above us at Dabbous ripped out our phone lines and internet access on our very first day of opening. That felt like a body blow. We had almost no working capital and suddenly there was no way for anyone to make a reservation!
From Dabbous and Barnyard to now Hide – what have been your biggest takeaways from each restaurant?
There isn’t too much I would have done differently, as I am happy where I have ended up. There is definitely an economy of scale these days to consider, especially in London. I think the most important principles are the simplest: offer a great product, offer value, and do so with a smile. Not rocket science. The fun bit is on all the attention to detail and individuality. I’d like to think each of those restaurants offered something unique in their own way. I have never stopped to think if the customer would like something or not or diluted an idea for fear of being polarizing.
How do you attract and retain key talent in a highly competitive market?
Very simply, I want every chef that comes to Hide to leave as a better version of themselves: palate, creativity, organization, composure. We also have quite a unique style of cooking that people can learn from, a great working culture and a beautiful kitchen and tableware.
What advice would you give to someone looking to succeed in the culinary world?
Give everything, taste everything, question everything.
What’s your cooking style at home? Do you use that time to play with new ideas or is it more about cooking comfort food and staple dishes?
Non-existent. I won’t pick up a pan if I can avoid it!
Most underrated ingredient in cooking?
A cuisine you’d love to learn more about and why?
There are so many! Maybe Indian?
What’s the best meal you’ve had in the world (apart from yours)?
I guess the most memorable is the very first meal I had at Le Manoir when I was 18. In a singular moment I was awoken to just how good food could actually taste.
What are some of your favourite restaurants?
Best location in the world to hang out?
The English countryside in the summer!
Your mantra is…
I don’t have one. I just try to do my best everyday.
Most admired chef(s) and why?
Anyone who has set up their own restaurant. It can be brutal and unforgiving.
Who/where should we visit next?
Wherever you like! My work means I am largely in the kitchen rather than out and about. I often just end up at my usual favorite spots rather than checking out the latest places.
85 Piccadilly, London, W1J 7NB