Confit duck doughnuts? - Royston chef proves pub food doesn’t have to be bland and boring with snazzy new menu

Rob Walls in the new chef in The Boars Head.

Rob Walls in the new chef in The Boars Head. - Credit: Archant

He’s the head honcho in the kitchen, serving up fresh food from scratch every day to scores of hungry punters, but that’s not enough to faze Rob Walls.

All his life Rob, the chef at The Boars Head in Royston’s Market Hill has been interested in new and exciting flavours.

He was savouring shellfish by the age of five and cooking for his entire family every Thursday from the age of 11.

So after leaving Meridian Upper School and working at the town’s Johnson Matthey plant for three years, he decided to pursue that passion.

He said: “Food has always been my thing, so I decided to do a college apprenticeship then worked in The Tally Ho in Barkway. That’s when I really starting learning my stuff. There was no microwave, everything was made to order. I started as an apprentice, then became sous chef.

“The head chef and I had a really good relationship but I decided I wanted a change, as I wasn’t challenged enough.”

Rob, who only has extra help on a Sunday, arrived at The Boars Head in the middle of March, and despite feeling nervous at the beginning that his food wouldn’t impress, he has had brilliant feedback.

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In his younger years, Rob looked up to the likes of the notoriously fiery celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, but says he likes to approach his job with a cool head.

He said: “It’s all about having a good system. I like to stay calm as everyone makes mistakes.”

Rather than serve up predictable pub classics, Rob is testament to the fact that ‘pub food doesn’t have to be boring and bland’ and has added unusual dishes to the menu like confit duck doughnuts.

Customer Laura Hopwood said: “He’s the only chef without a temper.

“I’m a vegetarian and Rob’s food is amazing. There’s always something very different.”

Rob has plans to work in France or Australia – France for the food and Australia for the lifestyle – but for now he will continue doing what he loves and bringing in new dishes for Royston diners.

He said: “I really like Daniel Clifford’s food at Midsummer House in Cambridge.

“I recently went to Morrocco and ate tagine until I was blue in the face.

“On the main road people were cooking these barbecues. That’s another reason I love food – it brings everyone together.”