Meet Our Chef
David Wardle is our very own JLA development chef, providing help and advice for our catering customers on a regular basis. Our unique all-inclusive Total Care package for the JLA’s range of Combi Ovens even includes a one to one session with David, who can help you get the most out of your equipment.
Here we get to know a little more about him...
David, can you tell us a little more about your career?
I have been a chef for over 34 years and I’m a proud member of the British Culinary Federation and the Craft Guild of Chefs.
I’ve had the great pleasure of working in a many areas of catering and foodservice across both public and private sector over the years - from my role as a chef in large 5 star hotels and restaurants, to working as Culinary Advisor for the Department for Education and the Children’s Food Trust. That’s in addition to running my own event catering business, as well as providing consultant services to some well-known food brands.
As JLA’s development chef, I am on hand to ensure customers know how to use their new equipment and provide tips and advice tailored to their own business. This has meant I’ve worked closely with care homes, hotels, hospitals, schools and many more.
What is your favourite piece of kitchen equipment?
There is no competition - it’s the combi oven. It’s such a versatile piece of equipment while also giving you the ability to create dishes again and again at the same high quality standard. Consistency is key for so many businesses that this is invaluable. Not to mention that it can save you so much time.
The moisture settings are often the one feature that kitchen staff are afraid to use or don’t have the knowledge to set correctly – but it’s the one that makes the biggest difference to the results. It’s so easy to do and I spend time with customers helping them master this.
What is your favourite dish to cook and why?
I love food from around the world but my all-time, favourite thing would always be a roast dinner – especially lamb. Nothing beats the taste of a properly roasted piece of meat – it’s such an easy thing to get right with the right equipment – and as it’s a joint it’s great for sharing.
What one tip would you give to a business to improve things in their kitchen?
Cook with fresh ingredients as much as possible – it always brings that truly home-made taste and it’s usually cheaper if a menu is planned in the right way.
Also make sure you have the right equipment for the job – you can waste a lot of time and money doing things inefficiently.
What cooking myth do you have to dispel a lot in your work?
There is a myth that you can’t use the combi oven to cooked breaded or coated foods – you absolutely can! The fantastic thing is you can change the amount of moisture to get a moist centre while also achieving a crispy or crunchy coating. I help JLA’s customers pre-set these types of settings when they have one of our combis installed so it’s as easy as the touch of a button for them.
What kitchen-related question do you get asked the most?
When I’m talking to customers about the combi and all its benefits, I’m often asked how long it will take to roast – as this is often one of the most painstakingly drawn out processes in a busy kitchen. The answer is much quicker than the traditional oven! It will also give you a better tasting, safer result. An example of this is a 3kg whole chicken could take nearly 2 hours but in a combi oven, set correctly with the appropriate amount of moisture this would be reduced to around 45 minutes.