Meet Ian Howard, Virgin Stars of The Year Award nominee
- By Helen Craig -
- Dec 07, 2011
Name: Ian Howard
Company: Virgin Limited Edition
Role: Head Chef
Length of working: Almost 3 years
Hates: Rush hour on the tube
Recommends: Buy as many ingredients of your shopping basket from local producers, at least from your own country.
What do you do at Virgin Limited Edition?
I am the Head Chef at Babylon Restaurant at Roof Gardens.
Congratulations for being nominated as a finalist for the Special Award for the Environment at this year’s Virgin Stars of The Year Awards. What had you been doing to get nominated?
I was nominated for purchasing many of my ingredients for the restaurant from sustainable sources that have traceability.
Who at Virgin Limited Edition helped you along the way?
I have had loads of help and support from the management team at the Roof Gardens and also all my staff in the kitchen who have been crucial to make it happen.
Which change are you most proud of?
I will not use endangered species of fish, such as blue fin tuna, this alone is a huge principle of mine.
What was the reaction when you first started making changes?
Positive within Virgin, but changing the general public’s opinion on these issues has been hard and still is. Mainly because the general public has fallen in love with the same species of fish that Great Britain has been consuming for a long time and change is hard for a lot of people.
Have there been any challenges and how have you overcome them?
Costs have been a challenge. Some alternative fish species are cheaper but a lot of other ingredients cost a lot more. For example using a good quality free range chicken is very expensive and some people don’t appreciate that. Buying food for its quality and how it is farmed does come at a price.
You appeared in the Secret Roof Gardens film, what was that like?
Good fun, but I think it sends a strong message also that we are trying to make a change at the Roof Gardens but also have a lot more we can do.
What is the next thing you will be looking at implementing?
I have been trying to have a supply of terrific free range eggs from a farm called Clarence Court in the south west of England. They have been at full production all year and unable to supply me. However I have been pestering them for so long that I am now having an account set up to supply me. The best thing about them is that they have a wide range of different bred chicken eggs, quail and even pheasant. They also have full traceability right down to the food they are fed.
What is your favourite dish at Babylon?
A slow braised free range pork belly, with pear puree and truffle scented beans topped with crispy pigs ears.
If you could recycle one thing what would it be?
It would be great to be able to harness the excess energy given off by the ovens and stoves in the kitchen as they generate so much heat.
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