Chef Claire owns Claire Market Chef and has been in the food industry since 2005. She’s here for all your private catering needs…

MORNING CLAIRE – TELL US, HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN PART OF THE CATERING WORLD?

I actually used to work in tech sales! Unfortunately I was made redundant at which point I took over our family cafe in New Smithfield Market.

THAT’S DEFINITELY A CAREER SWITCH-UP! HOW DID YOU FIND THAT?

Well, alongside managing the cafe, I used the opportunity as a career break to write a novel, but I ended up finding a real love for what I thought initially was just a greasy spoon. I loved using the local, fresh produce found on the market to create dishes for the cafe. I am completely self-taught and the market helped me to learn about meat and fish, and the seasonality of food. I learnt a lot about different cuisines too.

DO YOU SPECIALISE IN A PARTICULAR CUISINE NOW?

Not at all, each menu is bespoke and I am led by the customer. I don’t offer set menus, I like to work with my clients to create fantastic events for them and the people they love, serving dishes and food they enjoy or that brings back memories for them.

TELL US MORE ABOUT CLAIRE MARKET CHEF…

The cafe sadly closed back in 2018 due to an increase in rent, and I went back to a sales job. It was during lockdown that I decided to go back to what I loved – food. I started off making pies and delivering meals to people in lockdown, and I also offered ‘dinners in’ with instructions. I built an online shop and got so many orders, everything just built and built from there! Post lockdown, at the start, some people were still worried about venturing out, which is where the private dining element started and has been going strong ever since.

 

YOU MUST HAVE SOME MEMORABLE MOMENTS AND ACHIEVEMENTS?

In terms of achievements, I’m currently on the preferred supplier list for Torr Vale Mill wedding venue which is great, and memories well wow, I’ve made so many! But one of note was a funeral for a dear client’s mum. I made an afternoon tea incorporating all of her mother’s favourite foods, including lemon cakes with her mum’s personal lemon curd recipe. We decorated using vintage china and pink and purple flowers; her mum’s favourite. I had a lovely conversation with a lady there who was so impressed with the spread she mentioned that she wanted me to cater her funeral when the time came. Fast forward a year and I got a phone call from her son. She’d left my business card in a box with all her funeral plans. I still get goosebumps thinking about it now.

THAT’S A BEAUTIFUL STORY. SO WAS EVERYTHING THE SAME?

We added some cheese and pineapple, and sausage rolls, to make it more retro at her son’s request, but she loved the food so much originally that it was all pretty much the same.

SO SWEET! WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE THING TO COOK AT THE MOMENT?

Definitely Korean BBQ pork skewers – they’re so sticky and delicious. They’re going down a treat with everyone.

AND WHAT TICKLES YOUR TASTE BUDS WHEN IT COMES TO FOOD FOR YOURSELF?

I love a really good steak cooked medium-rare with blue cheese and good old chips. You can’t go wrong with a chicken dinner either. I enjoy it in all its forms and all its versions – winner winner chicken dinner!

 

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