Here at Lexington, we’re big believers in supporting young talent so we were delighted to attend the 2015 YBFs (Young British Foodie) Awards, at Tate Britain, in September. Fast forward a few months & here we are catching up with Phil Walther, who was named YBfs 2015 Veg Chef of the Year, to find out more about him and how he’s become so successful at the tender age of 22.
Michelin starred chefs Simon Rogan and Claude Bosi, who awarded him the gong said they were blown away by the young flavour visionary, who has recently been busy with his pop up, Croft Kitchen, on Holloway Road.
Phil said, “I was stoked when they asked me to enter the YBFs. It made me so happy that people were enjoying what we were doing. Meeting and cooking for Simon and Claude was great, and the fact two chefs of that calibre liked my food honoured me very much. To get that kind of recognition for something I’m so passionate about is simply amazing.”
When asked what made him want to be a chef Phil explained he had always wanted to work with food. He wanted to work with his hands, and the combination of working with nature and the process of creating something was very appealing to him.
He describes his family as real ‘foodies’. He says, “My family is full of really good cooks, especially my grandma. Food, was what every day circled around, during breakfast we’d already be talking about what to have for lunch and tea. It was very important that we could all come together at the table at least once a day.”
Like us, here at Lexington, Phil focuses on keeping things simple and he is super passionate about sourcing local, seasonal, produce and where possible growing your own.
We asked the Veg Chef of the Year about his fascination with vegetables. He says, “It’s simply a personal preference. To me the world of vegetables offers an array of tastes, textures and colours that no protein could ever give me.
Don’t get me wrong I love eating meat and fish but vegetables are infinite, there are so many things out there that we have forgotten about. I find that exciting. Also they just make me feel good. And they’re pretty.”
He plans to spend the next year travelling around a bit, honing his craft but his longer term plan is to open a restaurant with a garden attached, where he can grow all of his own produce: a place where you order a salad and watch it get picked just before it’s served.
We look forward to visiting his future establishment!