My name is Jay Halford and I’m on a mission to take people back to eating the way we all used to – getting us back to those times before the world went crazy for over-processed, fast and convenience food!
I’m a chef, a teacher and a foodie and over the past 10 years of being a chef, I have changed my diet completely; the way I eat, my views around food and what food has become.
The way I eat and cook for both business and pleasure is hugely inspired by nature and the impact on our planet. My main inspiration comes from my grandad who still, to this day, grows almost every single piece of fruit and veg that he eats. I was raised by him telling me that my potatoes or the carrots that I was eating came from his garden, or that he had just picked them before we had arrived. As a kid I used to love helping him out on his allotment and picking the produce – they tasted even better for knowing that they had come from his own garden.
Unfortunately, these days it is a rare occurrence for people to live and eat this way. We rely on supermarkets for our “fresh produce” and convenience meals, but why? People’s lives are incredibly busy and full of stress; this generation has completely lost touch with real food, where it comes from and what we should actually be eating.
My background as a chef and my time in the catering world has meant that taste always comes first. I believe that you should recognise every ingredient that is used and how they are best combined to create the ultimate taste. To make “healthy” food, a lot of people often believe that they need to fill their recipes with every superfood and powder they can find. However, you’re not going to enjoy it if it doesn’t taste good. This trend has become far too common online, I mean, the first place people go for healthy recipes is the internet, right? There are way too many food bloggers (many who aren’t properly informed) doing this and I find that it can often have the opposite affect on people.
Where did my journey begin?
Aside from being inspired by my grandad, my decision to become a chef came about when I was only 13. I began to work in a busy Italian restaurant, washing pots for what can only be described as a nutcase of a chef, with a huge passion for food – it was here that I decided that once I left school I would complete an apprenticeship and become a chef. I kept my promise to myself and did exactly that. I soon began to work at Lords of the Manor, which was the closest restaurant to my home to hold a Michelin Star. I wanted to get the best training possible and did everything I could to get a job there.
It was there that I met a chef called Mark. Mark’s work ethic was impressive and infectious – he demonstrated his dedication to food, the hard work it entailed and proved that a chef didn’t have to fall into the general stereotype of being unhealthy and overweight. Instead, he inspired me to realise that a chef could also be healthy. That’s the chef I wanted to become.
I had three dreams when I was a kid:
- To be the best at whatever I did
- To travel the world
- To run my own business – as fast as possible!
So that’s exactly what I did.
As soon as I thought that I had received all the training I needed from Lords of the Manor, I set off travelling and working for 2.5 years and opened my own business upon my return.
Once I was home, I knew it was time to incorporate my new way of thinking into my life. It was around this time that a personal trainer friend of mine introduced me to raw food and clean living. I was instantly hooked. Adopting juicing and raw, clean eating into my life had a profound affect and I wanted to share this with the world. It was at this point that ‘The Core in Cheltenham‘ was born. My passion was infectious, my business was flourishing and most importantly, I saw the effect of re-educating my customers. They felt proud of themselves, they knew what they were nourishing their bodies with and were hungry (pun intended!) for more.
For me, food isn’t about calories, rules and restrictions. It’s far more than that. Food is nourishment; it’s about giving people the knowledge they may not have access to so easily, and getting them back to the way they should be eating. I’m not a nutritionist, by any means, but I am a chef, and nourishment, flavour and enjoyment comes first.
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By re-educating myself and those around me, I know I can combine my passion and knowledge and change the way people are eating for the better of themselves and the planet.
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