He is not only creative in the kitchen; he also organises and manages his workplace and staff extremely effectively, priding himself on treating his brigade with 'honesty, respect and consistency', really understanding their strengths and weaknesses. Describing his management style as 'leading from the front', he makes a point of not asking his team to do something he isn’t prepared to do. This approach has paid off, with staff that have 'a tendency to stay with me from one kitchen to the next.'
Adam Gray is devoted to nurturing young talent and in 2003 set up a Chef’s Academy in Northamptonshire College which offers work experience placements to gifted students, some of which have gone onto full-time employment in Rhodes Twenty Four. In 2012, Northamptonshire University awarded him an Honorary Master of Science, in recognition of this commitment to development and training.
But it is not only young people entering the world of work that Adam Gray is focused on – he is also keen to pass on his passion for food to children, starting with his own young son. He believes in getting children to talk about food – to touch, feel and taste everything – while learning valuable lessons about the importance of a healthy diet. 'Children’s palates develop very quickly,' says Adam, stressing the importance of making sure 'they try different things as they grow up'. As a member of The Academy of Culinary Arts, he is also involved in their ‘Adopt a School’ programme – a national charity tackling health inequalities and a lack of knowledge about food and healthy eating in schools in deprived areas with a high percentage of free school meals.
Eating healthily and staying fit is extremely important to Adam Gray and he is one of the fittest chefs out there, finding time in his already punishing schedule to compete in competitions such as Tough Mudder and Vertical Rush (a race to the top of Tower 42). 'I have to keep fit every day,' he explains. 'I train, I cycle, I swim and I do Krav Maga (Israeli unarmed combat)'.
A diet that will keep him going through these incredibly busy, physically demanding days is paramount and Adam Gray champions highly nutritious foods, using complex carbohydrates, natural sugars and healthy fats where at all possible. This is not to say that he sacrifices taste, however, rather that he believes in sensible, healthy substitutions and making nutritious food taste great. He has been an Eat Fit feature writer for Men’s Fitness magazine since 2012 and is also a judge on the Coeliac UK Gluten Free Chef of the Year competition.
He credits his success to hard work – working harder than others and staying focused – coupled with a strong desire to 'be the best…whatever you put in you will be able to take out and reap the rewards'.
In 2015, Adam left his position at Skylon to take up the job as executive chef of the Bourne and Hollingsworth group, where he lets the ingredients do the talking and serves them in a relaxed setting.
Adam's hero is Sir Ranulph Fiennes, the explorer. He would cook him braised pork cheeks, peppered carrots and turnip gratin.
One of Adam's favourite restaurants for a relaxed meal out is The Painted Heron in Cheyne Walk, London. It serves innovative and contemporary Indian cuisine.
Adam's top cooking tip is to be organised when you cook, have everything ready and constantly taste things while they're cooking, as flavours change throughout the process.