In 2004, Drake jumped at the chance to buy his own restaurant in Ripley, a village in Surrey; the result was Drake’s, which has won a Michelin star every year since 2003, as well as three AA rosettes.
In addition to having a kitchen and a Michelin star of his very own, Drake’s has his early years to thank for one of the most impressive cooking pedigrees in the UK, if not the world – he’s worked with Marc Veyrat, Nico Ladenis, Marco Pierre White at the Oak Room, the Roux brothers and fellow Great British Chefs Tom Aikens and William Drabble.
Speaking to The AA, Drake called his food ‘artisan cooking’, and his multifaceted influences show through in the complexity and imagination of his dishes. He told The Staff Canteen that his own style consists of concentrated flavours; ‘I try not to complicate the food too much… but then I do want to show off a little bit.’
For Drake, showing off can come in the form of surprising concoctions like the cocoa gnocchi he serves with venison or his beetroot sorbet, or it can simply mean making perfect use out of stubborn ingredients, like the blade of beef that he likes to poach in a warm water bath until it becomes temptingly tender.
To eat a meal from Steve Drake is to witness what the AA calls ‘an eclectic mind at work.’