I found my passion for cooking when I was 15 years old. I studied at Westminster College, London, and from there have worked in many fine dining restaurants and hotels from London to Devon and even a kitchen in Greece, until I finally settled in Oxfordshire eight years ago. This was when I fell in love with The Chequers at Burcot.
It’s hard to describe my cooking style, as I have had so many different food influences, but I guess you would put me in the modern British category.
My guilty pleasure has to be tomato soup with cheese dunkers and a large glass of red wine! My local is The Crazy Bear in Stadhampton. I also love the Beetle and Wedge on a summer’s day, Red Star Noodle Bar Cowley Road for great noodles, and for a special occasion it has to be Le Manoir aux Quait’ Saisons.
Whenever I travel I always insist on trying the local cuisine. On a holiday to Portugal with my girlfriend we found ourselves in a traditional restaurant for Sunday lunch. Without seeing a menu we were sat down and told we were eating like the locals do. In front of us was placed a platter of brown cabbage, mushy boiled potatoes, and boiled pigs head, ears, snout, cheek and intestines. It wasn’t great on a hangover (we battled on through so not to be rude).
I would never say I had a signature dish or a favourite cuisine, there are so many different times and moments in your life that call for a certain type of food or cooking. Who could eat a tasting menu every day? We all require comfort foods at some time!
I feel our menus cover both ends of the spectrum. Cooking and creating menus as we do at The Chequers we are governed by suppliers and the best produce available during that month. All the dishes on our menu have had a lot of time and care spent on creating and perfecting them. Heston Blumenthal, Brett Graham, Tom Kerridge, life and most importantly my team inspire me the most.
Serves: 15-20 starter size portions
* A whole side of salmon (1.5-2kg)
* 250g Maldon sea salt
* 375g of Demerara sugar
* 4 star anise
* 1 tbsp coriander seeds
* Zest of 3 oranges
* Zest of 1 lime
* Zest of 1 lemon
Place all of the curing ingredients into a bowl and mix them together.
Cover your salmon in curing mix, wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge for 36-48 hours. Remove from the fridge, wash all curing mix off the fish thoroughly and slice the salmon as and when required.
You can serve this simply with some fresh bread, crème fraiche, salad leaves and a squeeze of lemon. It is also great to have as a sharing platter with family and friends.
Use it as a starter for a barbecue or a dinner party, or just to have as a nibble to go with drinks.
We serve this at The Chequers at Burcot with a horseradish panna cotta, dill syrup, compressed cucumber, pickled radishes and lemon gel.