For those who are not familiar, how did you begin your career, Peter?
My mum and dad opened their restaurant in 1999. My dad worked in a restaurant all his life. He was the weekend chef of an Italian restaurant in Bristol. He then opened his own Italian restaurant called Casamia. I was 14 and my brother Jonray was 16 at the time. From then on, we started living above the restaurant. I knew I wanted to become a chef and went straight into catering college after school. Bit by bit, I progressed within the kitchen at Casamia, becoming a commis chef and then the Chef de partie in charge of my own section. One day a chef walked out leaving me in the shit and I took over the 70 covers. I remember my dad came into the kitchen and said “Don’t worry do your best.” My dad had felt that I was ready to take on the kitchen at 18 years old. So, I took a deep breath and carried on.
At this point, my brother, who was front of house, got into cooking and joined me in the kitchen. Together we changed the menu and eventually got picked up by the press. We received a Michelin star in 2009. A lot of people thought we were crazy at the time and that we were taking advantage of our parents when really it was the opposite - we were working our asses off to prove ourselves. We were like naughty schoolboys who left school without a university degree, but we felt we had a bigger point to prove – eventually the Michelin star pushed us forward. It was a pat on our shoulders.
What did the years of cooking with your family teach you?
It’s not just about cooking; it’s about being patient and looking out for each other. It brought us closer together. You go to hell and back, but you become stronger for it.