Meet the Cellar Door Dining Team: Andrew Abell

Meet the Cellar Door Dining Team: Andrew Abell

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name’s Andrew, I was born and raised in Portsmouth, where I still live now. I’ve been a chef now for almost 10 years. In this time I've worked in various restaurants around Portsmouth, most notably Restaurant 27 and The Briny, I also spent time in Oxford working at Le Manior aux quat’saisons where I first met Chef Nick.

Outside of work I enjoy watching and playing football. When I'm not working or watching football my partner Lily and I enjoy going out to eat together as well as cooking at home after a little drink at the local pub.  I also have a keen interest in playing competitive video games on my computer, with friends I met from around the world during the covid-19 lockdowns.

What is your role at our Cellar Door Dining Experience?

I’m one of the Junior Sous Chefs at CDD, my role is to man the stoves and assist in any job around the kitchen, on top of which I make it my personal goal to grow and develop my cooking knowledge, which is easy when I’m working with such talented chefs day in day out!

What made you want to become a chef?

When in secondary school I was given the opportunity to go offsite once a week to do some cooking, it was after the first week I had realised I not only enjoyed what we were asked to do but I was pretty good at it, for a 12/13-year-old that is. With this newfound enjoyment, I had my heart set on going to South Downs College, now Havant and South Downs College, where I recently returned with the CDD team to do an evening with the students headed up by Chef Nick. I studied catering and hospitality for three years and my enjoyment and enthusiasm for the industry only grew, the rest as they say is history, I now couldn’t see myself in any other career, there's a special sense of satisfaction I get when cooking for other people and they enjoy it, nothing I can think of comes close to that feeling!  

What is your signature dish?

I wouldn’t say that I had a signature dish at all! I would say however that I really enjoy preparing and cooking fish and shellfish. I also really enjoy working with fresh pasta, I could eat my body weight in pasta! Outside of work I really enjoy cooking good comforting food, that's enjoyable to eat.

What or who do you get inspiration from?

I’ve had to find this one quite recently having been given the opportunity to come up with a menu for CDD with guidance from Chef Nick. I’ve gotten my inspiration from past restaurants and books mainly, techniques that I’ve learnt during my time as a chef, or an ingredient I love to use and eat myself. Also from my own food memories, tastes that stick in my mind that have strong connections to memories.