10 Radius by Les Nkansah

Exactly a week ago, the wife and I were invited to 10 Radius launch dinner for the media and food bloggers. As for today, I heard that it was a success, which I’m very pleased to hear!

I’m not gonna write a review or critique of how it went because that’s not my thing, instead, I asked a few questions to Les Nkansah, the mastermind chef behind 10 Radius to find out his story and what inspired him to do 10 Radius.

Photography by Xavier D. Buendia

The following Q&A is illustrated by pictures from last Monday’s launch dinner.

Les, thank you for taking the time to answer these questions; tell me, what is your background and where did you train as a chef?

I grew up in White City, London in a very loving Ghanian family with my Mum, Dad and three brothers. I went to University in Cheltenham to study Hotel, Catering & Institutional Management and as part of my course, completed work experience at Mezzo in Soho, which was then ran by John Torode. At the time it was the largest restaurant in Europe.   At full capacity it was amazing!

After my course, they offered me an apprenticeship, which I was so happy about. It was a pretty impressive operation and I fell in love with the industry, food and how the kitchen worked.

WEB-10R-01
10 Radius Menu
WEB-10R-02
French 75
WEB-10R-03
Arrival cocktail

Wow, that’s impressive! So how would you describe your style of cooking?

I enjoy cooking a whole spectrum of cuisines. I suppose my style is modern European, primarily I love cooking good quality, seasonal produce. I always try and experiment with my ingredients; trying new things to see how they taste and combine with other ingredients.

I developed my style of cooking through working with incredible chefs in amazing restaurants. In particular, Shane Osbourne, Henry Harris and David Laris have all had a major impact on me in the way I cook, the techniques I use and the way I like to plate my dishes.

WEB-10R-04
Canapes

What is 10 Radius and the philosophy behind it?

10 Radius is a celebration of local produce cooked with love and to perfection. We feel it is essential to enjoy what we have growing and living around us. We are lucky in Brighton to have the countryside and the sea on our doorstep, so this is the perfect place to be for a chef. I am passionate about being able to state where your ingredients are from and knowing the care and effort that has gone into producing quality local produce. I am also very keen to build and nourish a relationship with local suppliers to grow and maintain thriving local food production.

 

WEB-10R-05
Tomato Beetroot Cucumber

 

That’s pretty exciting and makes perfect sense to me. So tell me, how does that passion and interest for local produce turned into a fine dining, 7 course pop-up?

It was a very natural process. I had just come back to the UK after 4 years away, running restaurants in Verbier and as a Private Chef on chartered yachts, and wanted to work for myself, turning my dreams into reality.

Ideally, I wanted to put into practice all the things I have learnt over the 20 years I have been a chef.

My best friend Martin lives in Brighton and he told me about the Brighton food scene. His wife Kerry also expressed how Brighton was a foodie heaven, so myself and Kerry put our heads together, and with her marketing background and my passion for cooking, and the amazing local produce around us, we came up with 10 Radius. It’s a way of showcasing the great local produce and making it accessible and delicious for all.

WEB-10R-06
Sea Trout, Lentils, Leeks
WEB-10R-07
Wine, Elderflower, Mint

Indeed, Brighton is a pretty cool place and a great spot for food, but why Brighton? 

Having my best friend living here for 15 years with his family was the main reason I moved here. During visits, I fell in love with the quirkiness of the city. People are really friendly here in comparison to London and there is a real sense of fun and adventure in the air. I love that feeling and it made me confident enough to go it alone and start 10 Radius. As a chef, you work very long hours so it is very important to live somewhere you are happy to be so you can enjoy and appreciate your downtime. I also have a son who lives in London so I wanted to be close to him.

WEB-10R-09
Beef, Oxtail, Watercress

I’m with you on that, you can have the most amazing job but if you’re in the wrong place, it can be very difficult. Finally, tell me what’s next after this first pop-up?

I’m hoping that this pop up is successful and we can build on that success by running a few more, either in central Brighton or the local surrounding areas. The long-term goal is to open a 10 Radius restaurant. That would be my ultimate goal and I hope I can achieve it. The food scene in Brighton is really growing with so many people wanting to experience new food and eateries: hopefully, this will allow 10 Radius to grow and promote local produce and suppliers too.

WEB-10R-10
Petit fours

Creme Fraiche, Citrus fruit

That’s awesome, Les, can’t wait to see what’s next!

The final plating looks slightly different from the marketing shots we did in June. Plating is a bit more refined for service and food, in general, looks a lot more fun and exciting, just look at that beef!

Light was a bit of a challenge being at a very dark place surrounded by wooden panels, I was well aware of what other food bloggers were doing so didn’t want to get any shots similar to theirs and the biggest challenge was dealing with the heat, it was melting things away so quick.

Until next time.