While studying part time, Glen began his career as a trainee chef at the former Opal Lounge in 2009. It was while working here that he discovered an unexpected passion for pastry.
By December 2010 he had begun his journey at La Colombe under then pastry chef, Ingrid Betton. In 2011, at the age of 21, he was promoted to Pastry Chef.
In 2012 he was awarded the Rising Star Award for emerging talent. It was around this time that the first idea of Foxcroft was born. With the realisation of Foxcroft coming to life, Glen is handing over the reigns at La Colombe to star pupil, Andrea Bruce.
We interviewed Glen to find out about life as a chef and about his new restaurant, Foxcroft, which won the 2016 Eat Out Retail Capital New Restaurant of the Year Award at the Eat Out Awards this past weekend.
Source Food (SF): What is your philosophy when it comes to your food and your restaurant?
Glen Foxcroft Williams (GFW): At Foxcroft, we aim to cook with the same intensity and thoughtfulness as fine dining but in a more casual and approachable format. As a cook, deliciousness must come first and anything not actively contributing to that must be removed.
SF: What is it that you enjoy about food?
GFW: As a medium, food has limitless potential for creativity. Almost any ingredients can be paired, it just comes down to how you manipulate them.
SF: What made you realise that you wanted to become a chef?
GFW: I did a lot of cooking growing up, with my father teaching me from a young age. It was always on the list of possible careers but it wasn’t until the end of high school that I decided that it was what I truly wanted to persue as a career.
SF: What advice would you give to a young chef starting out in the industry?
GFW: Take jobs based on what they can do for you long term, not how much they pay. Be prepared to work extremely hard for very little money. View your time and effort as an investment in your future. Never stop questioning yourself and others.
SF: What are your top 3 ingredients to cook with?
GFW: Buttermilk, good quality vinegar, anything fermented
SF: What are your top 3 worst ingredients or that you dislike cooking with the most, if any?GFW: Lazy/boring proteins (beef fillet, kingklip, salmon etc); bananas; potatoes
SF: How does it feel to have opened up your own restaurant?
GFW: It’s quite surreal, yet at the same time, it feels like business as usual for the most part.
SF: What is the source of inspiration behind the dishes you create?
GFW: With Foxcroft being more casual, my inspiration has turned more towards what I would like to eat, the ingredients that excite me as a chef.
Also trying to find ways to get different flavours out of ingredients and express them in an unusual way.
SF: Who is the chef that you admire most?
GFW: That is a difficult question, there are too many to mention.
SF: What is your most memorable restaurant or food experience?
GFW: Another difficult one, the pork trotter and cuttlefish dish by nuno mendes at his Taberna do Mercado in London was unforgettable, as was Pierre Herme’s “Tarte vanilla infiniment”. Locally, the best excecuted risotto I ever ate was by Chris Erasmus when he was at La Motte and the Foie gras, quail and quince dish I had during my first ever meal at La Colombe is burned into my memory.
SF: Your last weekend on earth, what city or restaurant would we find you eating in?
GFW: While I have never been, I would probably want to be eating at a night market in Taiwan, it’s the next thing on my bucket list!
SF: What is your go-to meal to cook at home?
GFW: Pork neck chops with veggies from the garden, New Zealand spinach is a favourite.