I’m Ben Bullen, head chef at the newly-opened Magnolia Brasserie at Sudbury House Hotel in Faringdon.

My passion for cooking started in my mum’s kitchen. There were no two questions when it came to choosing a career. Being a chef was the way forward without a doubt. I went to college to build my foundations and from there onwards it was straight into the industry, working with some phenomenal people sharing the same passion for food.

I have been working at Sudbury House Hotel for 13 months as head chef of Magnolia Brasserie.

My cooking style is very relaxed and slightly rustic. I truly believe in simple bold flavours created by only a few ingredients to maintain the maximum flavour of the main ingredient of the dish. I like to use locally sourced British ingredients and add a twist of Spanish, Italian and French influences into it.

I would have to say my guilty pleasure is to go for a curry with my wife. A night off from cooking is the perfect excuse for a good curry and a couple of G&T’s. I love The Rickety Press in Jericho, Gee’s restaurant in Oxford and Jacobs Inn, Wolvercote.

Sea urchin would be the strangest thing I’ve eaten and to be honest I didn’t really like it.

Wood roasted poussin, white bean and chorizo cassoulet, gremolata

100g rock salt
100g sugar
10g cracked black peppercorns
4 poussin

Mix the salt, pepper and sugar together. Take the back bone out of the poussin by using scissors, you cut either side of each leg so the breasts and legs are still in tact. Then salt the bird for 24 hours. Next wash the bird and soak for 20 minutes, this will help take out any excess salt. In the kitchen we vacuum pack the bird and waterbath at 65c for one hour. At home you could simply bring to the boil and leave to cool. Then roast the bird in a high heat oven at 200C for eight minutes, this will get the skin nice and crispy. Leave to rest for five minutes and then serve. 

For the white beans:

400g haricot beans
1 carrot
1 leek
1 celery stick
1 bulb of garlic

Soak 400g of haricot beans in water for one hour. Cover the white beans with water and a stock cube of your choice, then cut the carrot, celery and leek into large chunks, cut the garlic in half and add the thyme. Bring up to the boil and leave to cook gently until the beans are nice and tender. Strain and leave to cool. Next sweat down 200g of chorizo, let the fats and flavour come out of the meat and then add 300ml of double cream, let the cream reduce, add the juice of one lemon and season to taste.

For the gremolata:

½ bunch of flat leaf parsley
1 lemon zest and juice
1 clove of garlic
Olive oil
Sea salt & pepper

Chop the parsley until coarse, add the zest and juice of the lemon, chop the garlic until fine, then add a small amount of salt to the garlic and use the back of the knife to mush the garlic into a paste. Mix together with the parsley and lemon, add enough olive oil to resemble a loose dressing and then season to taste.