Chef Focus

Featured Chef & Recipe

Chef Focus: Terry Laybourne (21 Hospitality)


Terry Laybourne – who was our First chef customer and is our North East chef restaurateur who manages 21 Hospitality Group, which is a group of some of the North East’s well known and highest-regarded restaurants, including Café 21, Caffè Vivo, Café 21 at Fenwick and The Broad Chare in central Newcastle; and Bistro 21 is in Durham. They are all different in style, and with their own personality, all believe in serving honest food, skilfully prepared with a true respect for ingredients.

Terry Laybourne was CARROLL’S HERITAGE POTATOES First Chef Customer in the year 2000, who inspired Lucy and Anthony to realise and grow so many varieties for chefs! They are proud to work him, and his team.

Terry's Perfect Mash

Questions & Answers

Where did your passion for cooking come from?

I guess from the kitchen and the guys around me. It was never my intention to be a chef so I entered the kitchen with zero knowledge of either cooking or kitchen culture.

Where did you learn to cook?

I did a conventional apprenticeship coupled with one day a week at college studying City and Guilds.

Where was your first Chef Job, and what do you remember most about it?

It was at The Swallow Hotel, Newcastle. My most vivid memory is from the very first day. It was 1971 and I’d had my hair cropped, thinking that it was a necessity. My chef de partie was an Alice Cooper look-a-like with a mane of black curls halfway down his back. Needless to say I was somewhat aggrieved. It did grow back though… eventually.

What was your first restaurant?

We opened 21 Queen Street in September 1988.

How many 21 Hospitality Restaurants are there in the North East?

5 Currently

How long have you worked with Carroll's?

It must be 10 years or so

What inspired you to write the Quest For Taste Book?

I was bullied into it by Duncan Davis, a photographer friend who wanted us to do a book together. I told him that “I had nothing to say and that the real creatives were the farmers, producers and fishermen” Duncan’s immediate response was “great, so let’s do a book that champions them.

You visited us in 2009 with a group organised with EAT Festival together with Mr Potts Dawson a Slow Food Chef, and student chefs from the North East. Please tell me what you all gained from this trip?

I visited the farm, cooked with all the varieties, and I believe the real art, real craft, and real flavour is achieved by people like the Carroll’s. Understanding where the food comes from, and how it is cared for is paramount to successful cooking.

Tell me about one of the varieties that you cook with?

YUKON GOLD is one of my favourites

Will you share a recipe with us?


What advice would you give a young person considering a career in hospitality?

Approach it with an open mind and an open heart; listen well, learn well, work hard and treat your workmates with respect… The rewards will follow.