Meet the Team! Head Chef Lampa Mortimer

Lampa Mortimer, Head Chef at Stirrups Hotel

We are rightly proud of our fantastic team here at Stirrups and believe each team member contributes to the ongoing service excellence we pride ourselves on giving to each and every guest.

In the first of a series of interviews with the team, we talk to Head Chef Lampa Mortimer and see what makes her tick!
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What inspired you to become a chef?

I have always loved cooking food since I was a child, helping my mother with cooking at home. After I got married and started my family I was lucky to live in many different countries.  We spent 2 years in Japan where I joined a group of expats who gave cooking lessons to Japanese people. We were all a bunch of foodies from many different countries, passionate about our own food but sharing a wealth of knowledge.

Tell us about your background?

I am Thai, from Nakorn si Thammarat in the South of Thailand. My husband is English and we have 3 children all grown up now and either working or at university. We have lived in many countries all over the world accompanying my husband on his work assignments in Malaysia, England, Ireland, Japan, USA and Singapore.

What gives you the inspiration/ideas for your dishes?

My inspiration comes from a mixture of my own Thai culture, my international travel and British traditional cooking.

Do you source local ingredients? 

Yes, I have a number of great local suppliers especially for meat, cheese and seafood. I find the freshness of local ingredients is a great advantage.

How important is the use of sustainable produce?

Sustainability is very important in today's world. And I find that locally sourced, sustainable produce, organically grown and with consideration for animal welfare, results in tasty dishes.

What advice would you give to young chefs looking to begin their careers?

If you are passionate and enthusiastic about food and cooking, go for it. Its hard work but I love it! Don’t forget it’s never too late to embark on a career in the kitchen.

What made you choose the hospitality industry and hotels?

It’s a great industry, the variety of food and areas covered by Hotels in particular is a plus as well as the opportunities for advancement if you work hard.

In your opinion, how important is the role of food in a successful hotel?

I think food is a game changer for a country hotel. Guests can eat in and packages can be offered as well as the great opportunity to organise functions for large parties, weddings and such like.  But the food has to be great. Any slip ups in this department changes everything,

Best places to visit in the local area?

Windsor Castle is a must and can be visited at any time of year. Royal Ascot in June is obviously an important occasion locally and for our hotel and I’m proud to say we offer the finest experience for our guests. Henley on Thames is also nearby and a visit to the Regatta in summer is recommended. There are also some great attractions on our doorstep for kids with LEGOLAND and Thorpe park close by. And of course, we have all the attractions London has to offer with just a short, convenient journey. There is plenty of choice that’s for sure!

Favourite way to unwind when not working?

Personally, I love nothing better than to relax in front of my favourite cooking shows on the TV or browse my cooking book collection.

What's your favourite dish to cook?

What a difficult question! There are so many... I love to cook any dishes that are new, exciting and different. Fruit carving I find is great for relaxation and passing time. But what I love to cook after a long shift at work is a dish from my own region. A spicy hot jungle curry with seafood. Too hot for most people I'm afraid, but I love it!

So who does the cooking at your place?

I do all the cooking - My husband thinks he can cook, but he can't!

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

When I was younger I was co-founder of a charity for women and girls in Thailand called The Fountain of Life Centre, during that time I met my husband and since then I have travelled the world trying many activities including re-upholstering old furniture and teaching cookery. Whilst living in Ireland I was looking for an activity whilst the kids were at school so I attended a local college to learn DIY skills in electrical and plumbing. My husband often says I should have pursued a career as a lady plumber. He thinks he could have retired and we would have had more time together - But I'm happy as a Chef!

Which chef have you taken most inspiration from?

I love the cooking of Michel Roux and Raymond Blanc... they have great attention for detail but are not afraid to push the boundaries and experiment.

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Lampa has always loved teaching others!  As she says herself:

"It has always been a passion to share my cookery knowledge and passion with likeminded people..."

As such we will be looking to start our very own cooking masterclasses at Stirrups with Lampa on Thursday 23rd  January from 5:30pm - Click here for more details.