British chef Kirk Westaway’s life has always revolved around food, starting at a young age when he would pick fresh produce from his garden in Devon, southwest England with his family. That said, it was no surprise that he developed a natural love for the culinary arts, and enrolled in a local catering college in Exeter, England in 2006. Afterward, he honed his culinary skills at lauded establishments, including one-Michelin-starred Manoir de Lan Kerellec in France, Italian stalwart Tutto Bene in Melbourne, and two-Michelin-starred The Greenhouse in London.
Currently, he is the executive chef of Jaan by Kirk Westaway where he whips up modern British cuisine that shines the spotlight on his English heritage. Having been based in Singapore for 10 years, he can't help but long for his favourite dining places back home.
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When was your last trip to the UK? How did you spend your holiday there?
Kirk Westaway (KW): My last trip to the UK was back in February 2020 for my mother’s 70th birthday. Looking back, I’m immensely thankful that I made it back just before Covid-19 changed our lives and reality. It was a wonderful family get-together to celebrate an incredible woman who continues to be an inspiration to me today. There, I also spent some time visiting new farms and artisanal producers to see what new produce I could bring back to guests at Jaan.
What do you miss most on the food/drink front when you are away from home or haven’t been back for a while?
KW: My mother’s home-cooked meals for sure. She is an excellent cook and her dishes are always so delightful, even with simple ingredients. Food is such an integral part of our family and it’s our tradition to get together to enjoy a Sunday roast at home. I do miss that convivial family meal around the dining table where we indulge in great food, conversations and laughter.
I also miss convenience food such as pies, pasties and scotch eggs from English bakers. These hot, ready-to-eat snacks are so deliciously comforting!