Chef patron of 1921, in Bury St Edmunds, Zack Deakins gives us an insight into his life ahead of his appearance at the Bury St Edmunds Food & Drink Festival
Zack Deakins, award-winning Chef Patron at independent fine-dining restaurant 1921 Angel Hill, will be demonstrating his culinary expertise in the Stoves Cookery Theatre at midday on Sunday, August 25. Zack, who has clinched the Suffolk Food and Drink Awards Best Restaurant title and Best Customer Service award in 2018, tells us why he is so passionate about his profession.
Where did you train to be a chef?
I have worked in a few restaurants but the three key places would have to be Lola’s in Islington, London, with Elisha Carter; Martin Wishart’s in Leith, Edinburgh; and The Bildeston Crown, Suffolk, with Chris Lee.
What led you to 1921 Angel Hill?
When I moved back to Suffolk the aim was always to eventually set up my own restaurant. When Paul Bailey gave me the opportunity at 1921 it seemed like the perfect time and place.
I love Bury St Edmunds and the building we are in is just beautiful. Fortunately, I have a very understanding wife in Annie, so we just went for it.
Tell us your favourite dishes at the restaurant and at home. . .
I love fish, cooking and eating it. We have a turbot dish on at the moment with pickled artichokes, iberico ham and pistachio, which I am very fond of. I also love working with shellfish. Lobster, langoustines, scallops and crab always get me excited.
As for home I have to be honest and say I don’t cook much. We live above the restaurant so Annie always says upstairs is her kitchen and downstairs is mine. Luckily, she is a great cook, so I don’t complain.
I do enjoy cooking a roast chicken dinner at home though. It is food that I find very comforting and I suppose that is because it is a different style of cooking to the restaurant.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Cooking first and foremost, but I love to be busy – and living and working in a restaurant certainly means I am. Also, my amazing staff keep me going and ensure no day is boring.
What plans do you have for the restaurant?
To keep growing and improving, to keep pushing forward. I am extremely proud of how far we have come, but you can never relax. There’s always room for improvement.
Who is your hero chef and why?
All the chefs I have worked for have been inspiring and also many of those I have worked with. Anyone creative; they don’t have to be famous, just proud of their product and good at making it. I admire creativity and dedication more than anything.
How do you spend your spare time?
With Annie and our two daughters. We have Charlotte who is 2½ and Evelyn who is almost 1, so they keep us more than busy!
1921, Angel Hill, Bury St Edmunds