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Chef Michael Carr, The Woolpack Inn, Slad

PUBLISHED: 22:52 28 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:08 20 February 2013

Michael Carr

Michael Carr

Michael Carr keeps his food as true to its roots as the famous pub in which it's served.

Name:Michael Carr

Restaurant:Woolpack Inn

Address:Slad, Gloucestershire, GL6 7QA

Tel: 01452 813429

Tell us about your menu.

Our menu at the Woolpack is local and straight forward, like the pub itself. It has been an Inn for over 350 years and the food is there to complement a local institution and not compete with it. Everything is sourced as much as possible within Gloucestershire - we don't mess with our ingredients too much - what it says on the blackboard is what you will see on the plate. The owner, Dan Chadwick, has kept the pub true to its roots as it provided much of the cider involved in Laurie Lee's 'Cider with Rosie'!

What initiated your interest in cooking?

I started baking at an early age in order to eat the things that kids like to eat; so I suppose gluttony got me into cooking, which is as good a reason as any.

After a period as a struggling photographer in Paris, I returned to London and I got my first professional position at the French House Dining Room in Soho, run by Fergus and Margot Henderson, whose cooking and philosophy on food, has inspired and guided me since.

Where else have you worked?

I started at the above mentioned French House Dining Room and then at Tom Conran's, The Cow Pub on Westbourne Park Road, London, then I moved to Gloucestershire to take over as the head chef at the Village Pub, Barnsley.

What advice would you give to a novice?

Work at the place that excites and inspires you the most. I worked, unpaid, at the French House for one month until a position opened up in the kitchen.

What has been your most memorable (or unusual) meal?

The meal that most sticks in my memory was at a restaurant whose name I cannot even remember in Seville's Old Quarter. Somebody local in our party, knew the owner and what we had was a procession of dishes; each one consumed before the next was brought out, tiny grilled lamb chops, razor clams, steamed garlic shoots, no structure or order to the meal...just an ever-changing feast of fresh, simple specialities that went on very, very late!

What is your favourite local ingredient?

Old Spot streaky bacon made by Butts Farm in Cirencester. I use it in everything that I can, barring the desserts! The chargrilled Old Spot sandwich with home-made bread and watercress is our lunch time staple.

Who would your ideal dining partner be?

Chef hours being what they are, any meal with my partner Helen, who is my greatest champion and greatest critic and our girls Isla and Amber Lili, is something I look forward to and savour.

Do you have a favourite place in the Cotswolds?

As my favourite place is where I live in the Coln Valley, I would have to say a pint at The New Inn at Coln St Aldwyns and Sunday lunch on the terrace with my girls, family and friends.


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