Life In The Kitchen - CHEF BEN CRIPWELL

the front room café

Just in time for a busy season experienced Pâtissier Ben Cripwell and his equally experienced front of house business partner Ken Higgins, have taken on the front room cafe in Mumbles, and already they are becoming a go-to venue. Here we catch up with Ben and discover a few things you didn't know!

What was the first meal you ever cooked?
The first meal that I can remember cooking was during my teenage years. I was trying to lose a little weight at that time so I decided to become vegetarian. This was long before my passion for cooking, so I would have to say that it would have had to have been a very simple pasta dish with vegetables and a tomato passata.

What's your favourite meal to cook for yourself/your family?
This is a hard question to answer because I like eating almost everything. It has to be Britain's favourite food. No not curry. Sandwiches! I love bread and stuff in-between bread is even better! Tuna mayo is my favourite. With a load of salad. My girlfriend likes beans on toast... so I have to make that a lot too.

Do you have a favourite ingredient with which to cook?
It may sound boring but I love using eggs. Most of the time in my career has been as a pastry chef so eggs and sugar are the basis of most desserts and are very versatile. I also love mustard. |It goes on everything I eat at home. First it was English. Then I thought it was Dijon. But now I know its American. Sorry it wins.

Anything you really dislike cooking, or cooking with?
Offal! It's rough. I Have worked in many places where it's considered manly and cool to cook with it. Don’t get me wrong I am all for nose to tail eating and I will force it down if I have to but I just don’t like it. Anyway, everyone is vegan these days so... #winning.

What's the most popular item on your menu at the moment?
The harissa mackerel burger is a big hit at the moment. I lived in Cornwall for a few years and fish burgers are everywhere down there. I am a big fish eater myself and really wanted to put a mackerel burger on our menu.

When you are not working, where else in Swansea do you enjoy eating out?
Ooo tough question. I love eating... everything! However, when I'm not in work and I do like a good curry and would recommend the Anarkali on St Helen's road. I had the fish xec xec last time. It was noice!

What's the best thing about being a chef?
There isn't much I like about this industry but I love cooking. The best thing about being a chef is the fact that I get to do something that I enjoy and am passionate about every day. Oh, and the free food of course.

Finally, if you weren't a chef, what would you be doing? 

Before I pursued my passion for cooking I came to Swansea to do an art degree. I wanted to be an animator and work in the video gaming industry (I'm a massive nerd!) I hope I would be doing something to do with that. Probably not though. I would more likely be working in a toy shop, decorating the Lego window display of course!