This April, we met the Head of Food Development at Giraffe, Andrew Hazel, for our Meet the Chef series. He got into the nitty gritty about his role as well as telling us a bit more about his history with cooking and his foodie favourites…

Life at Giraffe

Summed up by Andrew, Giraffe’s all about “Big flavours. Positive vibes. Family friendly. Happy people.” Creating delish dishes since 1998, he tells us they plate up “feel good food”, taking inspiration from all around the world.

As Head of Food Development, every day’s different for Andrew. Find him working through various menu briefs, preparing for food shows, meeting with existing and potential suppliers or travelling abroad to work with franchise partners. But one big part of his day to day is brainstorming new food development ideas with the marketing team. He says: “We’re continuously innovating to ensure a great variety of choice for everyone”. And this beams through in their diverse menu, meaning there’s something for every kind of foodie: “We have gluten free, vegan and vegetarian options”.

Alongside catering to veggies, vegans and gluten-free foodies, Giraffe also feature a wide variety of kid’s meals on their menu, including healthy options like the Sunshine Salad. Providing little ones with activity packs, featuring a different film or book partnership every month, Giraffe’s got a real family-friendly atmosphere about it.

As well as delish food, Giraffe, and Andrew, also take pride in their coffee: “We love our Union Coffee, it’s all we use”. Ethically-sourced, Union Coffee work directly with smallholder farmers. Hand-roasted in small batches, it’s bursting with the finest quality and taste. Well, we like the sound of that.

So, wanna try Giraffe? With 2 for 1 on starters, mains and desserts available 7 days a week with tastecard, you’ve got even more reason. And with 2 for 1 available across kids’ meals everyday too, even little mouths are kept happy.

To get to know Andrew a little better, we put our Meet the Chef questions to him…

Meet Andrew

What’s your first cooking memory?

“Baking with my mum most weekends. Scones, pizzas, fresh pasta, stews, cakes, roasts. Ma Hazel was a pretty sensational home cook.”

What inspired you to get into cooking?

“Obviously with the above, I grew up around good food and a sense of fresh cooking. Celebrity wise, Keith Floyd was quite adventurous and ahead of his time creatively. And also, a bit extrovert and wise on vino which are both big ticks.”

5 ingredients you can’t live without?

“Smoked garlic, shallots, birds eye chillies, fresh eggs from my chickens (Pablo and Eggsmarelda) and well, a good red wine.”

Most-ordered dish at Giraffe?

“Thai Duck Stir Fry. This dish captures the feel-good ‘bowls for the soul’ with its shredded duck and noodles with sweet chilli jam and an Asian slaw in a teriyaki sauce.”

If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

“Grilled sausage sandwich with HP sauce and fried onions!”

Strangest ingredient you’ve ever cooked with? How did it turn out?

“BBQ chicken feet, or better known as chicken steppers on menus. I used it to highlight zero wastage by using the entire bird from feet to beak. People either loved it or hated it, but as a table talker there was a huge amount of positive noise.”

If you could share a meal with anyone, who would it be, and what would you eat?

“Quite honestly my wife. With two little ones and busy work lives, it’s just nice to spend time finding new places and cuisines. She’s also an insanely good chef, so we chat food and ideas all the time.”

Favourite Giraffe dish to eat?

“For breakfast you can’t go past the Bigger Brunch – the perfect way to start your day! Another favourite is our vegan Jackfruit Curry, loaded with flavour and served with jasmine rice, our guests have really loved it.”

Describe dining at Giraffe in 5 words

“Family friendly, credible choice for all, big flavours, feel-good food.”

Favourite music to cook to?

“Any kind of country music. A guilty pleasure admittedly, but you can’t beat a bit of Dolly Parton’s, Jolene! Dolly, you legend!”

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