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What’s cooking? Tristan Welch, Parker’s Tavern, Cambridge

Our favourite chefs spill all about their work, lives and top tips. Dishing it this week: Tristan Welch from Parker's Tavern, Cambridge

Tristan Welch is head chef at Parker’s Tavern, arguably one of the coolest, and most-loved, new (it opened in 2018) restaurants in Cambridge. This busy and creative chef hasn’t exactly been putting his feet up during the lockdowns. He’s the culinary brains behind brilliant initiatives like Parker’s On The Piece (pizzas and ice cream served al fresco last summer) as well as a Gourmet Drive Thru in the autumn and winter lockdown – I sampled both and can confirm they were delish.

Tristan Welch

In normal times, he runs a slick service in the main restaurant, creating hearty British dishes like Honey and Thyme Slow Roast Norfolk Duck and Wiltshire Truffle Risotto (you have to try this dish, it is out of this world) to reflect the modern British interiors and history of The University Arms Hotel. We caught up with Tristan to get a flavour of the restaurant and the passions behind it with our quick-fire feature focusing on the best chefs and their foodie passions. Ready Tristan? Annnd, go!

Parker's Tavern

How did you become a chef? I fell in love with cooking from a young age. What I really liked about it is that you could create something with your hands that made people really happy.  

What was your first job? Working with Gary Rhodes in London. He became my mentor and a hero of mine.

What has been your career highlight so far? There’s been so many, from winning awards and working in Paris and in Michelin-Starred restaurants to meeting my wife in the kitchen. 

How would you describe your cooking style/ philosophy? Simplistic and deliciously cooked using local and seasonal ingredients.

Tristan Welch dessert

Most memorable work moment? Again, there are a few including kicking Mick Jagger’s dog that walked through the kitchen and Bon Jovi walking past as I was cooking to meeting my beautiful wife.

Have you ever cooked for a VIP or someone famous? I never kiss and tell!

Who’s your favourite chef? Keith Floyd.

What’s your favourite type of cuisine? I’m passionate about food that’s not travelled. As long as it’s local and delicious I’m happy.

Tristan welch chef

What do you whip up for dinner when you’re tired after a day at work? 
Extra mature cheddar on sourdough crackers with a little chilli jam.

What’s your favourite place to eat in Cambridge? 
Other than Parker’s Tavern, Vanderlyle restaurant in Cambridge is one of my favourite places.

What’s your favourite ingredient and why? 
That’s a bit like choosing a favourite child! For me, it’s about seasonal ingredients, so right now Cep mushrooms and game are my favourite, however, in the spring it will change to different herbs.

Tristan Welch spaghetti bolognnaise

What’s the best dish you’re serving at the moment? Our delicious Parker’s Tavern classic, spaghetti Bolognese. Find the recipe here.

Tell us your best ever cooking tip…! Before you start to cook for someone make a deal that they will wash up afterwards.

Find more ideas here

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