Grace Knee is the highly talented chef from Twenty26. Filled with raw talent and a passion for food she wowed guests all season long. Here we find out more about the chef responsible for some of the most impressive cakes we have ever seen!
My road to becoming a chef was not as straight forward as some people!
My first experience of cooking was on my first season as an 18 year old in Meribel on my gap year when I had already secured a place at Manchester University to study English Literature and start a career in fashion journalism. My head chef in Meribel ended up being my best friend so in university summers I kept my hand in cooking by working in villas with her. I also completed another two winter seasons cooking in chalets. After university I started working in fashion PR in London but quickly realised it was not for me. It was the job I kept doing in between training as a journalist that was the thing I actually loved doing the most!
Since becoming a chef full time I have never felt more inspired and fulfilled in the work place.
The main reason I decided to become a chef was creativity.
I am an extremely creative person and working with food is an amazing way to channel that. Food is a way to make people happy and I love the instant gratification that you can receive when people love your food. Food unites people, brings friends and families together and being a chef you can be a part of that and take those experiences for people to another level. Another key element of being a chef for me is the limitless possibility to learn new things. I am a person who constantly needs to be challenged and experiencing new things. Being a chef is never boring, there are always new ways to challenge yourself. For me food is inspiring and is the source for me to create something that both excites the taste buds as well as being visually spectacular.
Before my very first season I completed a 2 weeks chalet chef course at Orchards Cookery School which was a great foundation for that first season.
I worked in a restaurant in London for 6 months which was a great experience and taught me about the organisational side of cooking and that the most important ingredient in a restaurant kitchen is communication. Without team work a restaurant would fail no matter how good the head chef or the food is.
I completed a five day fine dining cookery course at Ashburton Cookery School in Devon, which I can’t recommend highly enough. It’s a great school with amazing chefs and facilities that cater for people of all levels.
Since then I have made a conscious effort to learn as much as possible from other chefs and have taught and pushed myself. The last year felt like a bit of a baptism of fire for me as I feel like I have been playing ‘catch up’ because I only decided to be a chef when I was 25 and so I have been trying to learn as much as possible, as fast as possible, without having to go to any full time cookery schools.
I don’t think I will ever have a favourite ‘dish’.
I am really enjoying cooking Asian style dishes at the moment
and all the guests so far seem to love my Vietnamese Pho soup.
Well I just LOVE baking cakes and eating them, always have and always will! I think it comes back to my creativity again as with baking the possibilities are endless, I love how pretty you can make desserts and cakes look.
One of my dreams is to go to patisserie school one day and have a cake shop!
I love all of the Ottolengi cook books.
My Mum bought me all of them for my birthday last year.
The ingredients he uses are amazing and everything
is more about taste than precise plating.
However, my favourite celebrity chef is
Gizzy Erskine as I love both her food and her style.
One kitchen utensil you couldn’t live without?
A really good peeler
One ingredient all kitchens should have (and why)
Ohhh I couldn’t pick just one, but fresh herbs are a must have for me. Oh and decent olive oil as a combination of good olive oil and fresh herbs can make most things taste nice!
If you were stuck on a desert island for the rest of your life,
what three food items would you take with you?
Eggs, avocados ( I have a massive avocado addiction) and mangos
Biggest kitchen pet hate …
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