Favourite Tables

Tag: Oysters Oysters

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At the Chef’s Table with Daniel Kent of Wiltons

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Daniel joined Wiltons in 2011, having previously worked at some of London’s finest restaurants such as Le Café Anglais, Skylon and The Wolseley. He initially went to university with the idea that he would become a Restaurant Manager. However, upon graduating, he fell in love with cooking, having been previously inspired by the many Sunday lunches at his aunt’s house where she would put on a feast of local Yorkshire produce and sherry-laced trifle! He has a firm belief that use of great ingredients and an exceptional team behind him is the perfect recipe for a world-class establishment.  He has enjoyed re-introducing many of Wiltons classic dishes as well as showcasing many of his own creations.


 

 

Question: What would be your last dish (to eat) “the death row question”

Daniel: A cep risotto, it’s a classic but I absolutely love this dish.

Cep_risotto

Question: Before you chose to be a chef did you have another career in mind?

Daniel: I loved History at school and I had a brilliant teacher who really got me interested in it and I think it made me want to be a History teacher.  But then came the part-time job in the kitchen and I got the hospitality bug.

Question: Which restaurant would you like to go to? (that you haven’t had the opportunity to visit yet)

Daniel: Faviken in Sweden, the whole experience is so far away from what we do here it really appeals to me.

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Question: What do you think about negative reviews?

Daniel: I hate them! We have let the guest down, but you have to look at them and understand where we let them down, was it the cooking, the ambience or not understanding why they were visiting our restaurant and in turn, how do we make them feel comfortable as our guests. We have to make the reviews a tool to understand how we can improve.  We have a policy of not questioning the guest if they have made the wrong choice of wine or dish and we will go some way to replacing it if they let us know during the meal we are more than happy to correct it there and then.

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Question: If you received a call from The White House to say the President was in town and wanted a British Dinner Menu at Wiltons what would you feature?

Daniel:  We know now that President Trump is in love with American Food but I think we would have to bring him back to his ancestral roots with some amazing Scottish salmon and the amazing products we have in the United Kingdom,  be that the beef we use to make the consommé or the oysters that are paired with it.  I’m sure he has a sweet tooth as well so he won’t go wrong with our formidable Summer pudding…

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River Yealm oysters with jellied beef consommé and horseradish

Steamed Wild salmon with asparagus and watercress

Summer pudding the best of British products.

 

Question: What is your favourite dish on the current Wiltons menu/s that you re-introduced from the long history of the restaurant?

Daniel: The Cropwell Bishop twice baked soufflé is the dish that I reintroduced as it was on the menu in the past as a Souffle Monico and it is a dish that has really found a following with our regulars. We even put it on our private dining room menu as people have asked for it several times… I think it’s the balance of the cheeses we use the texture of the soufflé that seems to have the guests wanting more and even asking for the recipe!

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Question: If for one night you could be invited to cook alongside any Chef past or present who would that be and why?

Daniel: I would love to cook with Thomas Keller as I think he has a level of perfection that is inspiring and I love his use of using producers who are driven in their fields. I would love to talk to him about how he has trained so many talented chefs through his kitchens and how he uses his “on the pass moments” that he posts on Instagram to inspire his team and of course how I can replicate the infamous oyster and caviar dish.

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My Favourite Tables– Two restaurants I have visited and why?

 

Restaurant (1): J Sheekey’s it’s a little dinner treat for me and the wife before the theatre and I love that it gets me brownie points for the intimate and romantic feel of it.  @JSheekeyRest

 

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Restaurant (2): Noble Rot, I just love Lamb Conduit Street and how this restaurant has found its place here, brilliant food and wine, the table just by the fireplace in Winter is brilliant. @noblerotbar

 

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A day at the beach with Chef Lee Redman

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Favourite Tables talks to Chef Lee Redman of the newly opened The Jetty at Brighton’s Harbour Hotel for “Chef’s Table”

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FT: are you a born Chef?

Lee: it does feel like that! I’ve been in kitchens since the age of 13. Like most teenagers, I wanted more cash in my pocket, so took on a weekend job working in a local pub. Like a lot of chefs I talk to, I started as a pot washer and stuck at it… it must’ve been the £3.15 per hour! Then slowly I started learning how to prepare and cook (I remember endless amounts of peeling and sorting parsley!) Once, when the owners were away, the agency chef covering messed up and from then on I got more and more involved in the kitchen.

FT: How did thing progress for you?

Lee: I completed a three year course at a local college, 2 years studying an AVCE in Hospitality & Catering Industry, then a further year completing Level 3 NVQ Practical Cookery & Food Service. I moved from that first pub to a local bistro/restaurant and then to a local hotel. I landed my first Head Chef job at the very young age of 22 at a beautiful gastropub near Arundel and retained 1 Rosette, before moving on to London as it was always a wish to further my knowledge working there.

Here I started working at The Stafford Hotel  in St. James’s as Junior Sous. After three years moving to The Bluebird in Chelsea which is a 2 Rosette Brasserie, then on to Galvin at Windows  in the Park Lane Hilton which has 1 Michelin Star and 3 Rosette where I ran the the fish section.

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FT: Who has influenced or helped you along the way?

Lee: After a few years in London the Head Chef from The Stafford Hotel, Chef Mark Budd, approached me. We had worked really well together and our styles of cooking complemented one another. Mark asked me to come and work back in Sussex as his Senior Sous at Alexander House Hotel & Spa. Here I was given the opportunity to work across the kitchen and we took the Hotel from a 4 Star to 5 Star, and the restaurant to 3 AA Rosettes, whilst retaining 1 Rosette in the Brasserie

FT: Would you say you are settled in your style and how would you describe it?

Lee: I would say my approach to food is to always strive to get the best out of the ingredients, from sourcing the correct quality and as local as possible through to executing precisely on the plate. My style would have to be classic French / British with modern touches.  As to being settled, I will focus on the classics, however I am keen to learn new techniques and styles and will incorporate those that can help me deliver exciting seasonal dishes with great flavours to our customers.

FT: How did you find yourself working in Brighton?

Lee: I believe I have built a good reputation working within Hotel restaurants and was approached about the possible position of Head Chef for what would be a totally refurbished Brighton Hotel, which had me already interested.  When finding out the group was Harbour Hotels, it was literally a no brainer. The company is extremely well set up with good solid knowledge through all departments in all venues, award winning & great place for a chef. We have developed a great menu and I am lucky in having an incredibly talented brigade working with me. The Jetty has really achieved incredible results and we are getting full services every day and incredible customer feed back.

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FT: What are your favourite dishes to cook at home and in the restaurant?

Lee: That is a hard questions for any chef to answer because of using seasonal ingredients and what’s available……….You’re not going to let me away with that answer are you….

OK, If I’m cooking at home for my wife then it has to be my Beef Chilli and I add a few squares of dark chocolate (trust me!) It has to be good quality chocolate I use Valrhona

In the restaurant the best dishes are those when you don’t do too much to the signature ingredient. I love to use Hand Dived Scallops and my favourite dish is Scallop, oyster emulsion, oyster leaf, oyster foam, tempura cockles, razor clam, pickled kohlrabi, seaweed butter. It is great to eat and really keeps the freshness of the sea.

FT: now chef, where are your two favourite tables, the restaurants you like to visit when ever you can?

Lee: Locally I’ve been eating at one of the restaurants belonging to a small group called the Gingerman company, the Ginger Pig in Hove is a real favourite at the moment, great menu, lovely presentation and flavours with all locally sourced produce and clever usage of it.

When I get up to London then it’s Gilgamesh right by Camden Market. The presentation of the food is just brilliant and so fresh. As it’s Pan-Asian you can have dishes from across the region Sushi, Dim Sum, Tempura and Wok dishes

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FT: When we asked if you were a born chef you laughed, can we ask why…..

Lee: Ah you noticed.. I know many chefs would say they were inspired by their Grandmothers or Mothers and in a way my mum did get me interested in cooking, it was a survival thing………..(her cooking was terrible). please don’t send this to her!  But she did burn most things and then just flip it over and dish it up, sorry mum! So I was inspired to to become a good cook……my mum still tells me how to cook when I visit, thanks mum!

 

 

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