More wise words from our chef-in-residence as he offers us his views on the importance of fresh, quality ingredients…
The main point in a dish is the quality of the food. Even cooking something quite ordinary with excellent-quality ingredients is better than making a dish with really nice presentation but sub-standard ingredients.
As a chef, I think it’s most important to first ensure the quality of your ingredients – going out and sourcing them yourself from local suppliers is as much a journey of discovery as it is necessary for cooking.
Everything has to be created frame-by-frame – this is essential in creating a dish of another level and standard. For that explosion of flavour in your mouth, you need to use the freshest ingredients and have the imagination to present it. This mix of quality and creativity will result in an amazing dish.
The best example I can give is with making fresh pasta. My favourite pasta dish to make – for which I can only use fresh ingredients that I trust – is Dark Pappardelle with Bolognese Sauce, Portobello Mushrooms and fresh Mozzarella.
I first saw this type of pasta – pappardelle – being made with other ingredients for other dishes. And one day, I decided I would like to make this pasta with another type of flour, accompanied by a homemade sauce. I did a bolognese sauce using both beef and pork mince (see pictured below).
Then I was thinking about adding something people from the countryside in Sicily cook, and I thought of mushrooms. So I put a roasted Portobello mushroom underneath my pasta. And then I had a finished dish — capturing fresh, sweet and countryside flavours all in one.