Platinum Recruitment – Feature of the Month

Each month the team at Platinum Elite Chefs bring you an industry specific feature from one of the UK’s finest establishments.

Click here to see our previous features

This Month’s feature:

Ben Spalding – Head Chef – Roganic Restaurant
BMW/Square Meal - Best New Restaurant
National restaurant awards - 16th Best Restaurant
London Restaurant Festival - Most Inspirational Restaurant

Find out more about Ben in our 60 seconds on the clock feature.........

Ben where in the world are you from?
I was born in Brighton but grew up in south east London and then through parts of Sussex and Kent

Where have you previously worked?
Throughout 5 countries I have worked at 28+ restaurant, per se, Royal hospital road, Gary Rhodes W1, L’autre pied and Vue de monde, I have also taken lengthy stages at Le Manoir, Bagatelle, the fat duck, the capital and L’enclume

Which of these chefs influenced you the most?
All of them in different ways, but primarily Thomas Keller and Gordon Ramsay

What/where was your best ever meal?
Per se no question, but le bernadin came close.

What’s your favourite cookbook?
The French laundry cookbook is quite simply the book that changed everything for me, I remember being bought it as a present from my brother for my 19th birthday and he wrote inside the front cover “here’s to a world that is not far from your grasp” 6 months later I was working at per se.

But there is also so many, too many to name, a 3 star chef by Gordon Ramsay is also special to me as I was running larder section at the time it was made and helped do a good chunk of the photographed starters in there.

What is the next restaurant you want to visit?
Well, I’m Heading to Pierre Gagniere soon which I have wanted to go for years but apart from that Magnus Nilsson’s Fäviken restaurant in the north of Sweden is high on my list, I am trying to get a table when I visit Sweden at Christmas but it isn’t easy! Also Frantzen Lindberg and Mathias Dahlgren in Stockholm but I have tables booked there! And finally I will be making the trip to Christian Bau at Schloss berg and Joachim Wissler at Vendome next year in Germany.

What’s your favourite produce to cook with?
Something rare and unique and underrated, my favourites right now are the completely underrated Dab fish and also the Pom Pom mushroom which both feature on the current menu.

Who would be in your fantasy brigade?
Ha-ha, ok, I am going to cover every possible section in the kitchen here
• Chair sitting by the pass: me!
• Pass: Escoffier
• Canapés: Thomas Keller
• Larder: Pierre Gagniere
• Fish: Eric chavot
• Sauce: Pierre koffman
• Garnish: Simon Rogan
• Pastry: Shannon Bennett
• Baking: Joel robuchon
• Development kitchen: Sergio Herman
• Forager: Rene Redzepi
• Pot wash: Marco & Gordon & Anthony Worrall Thompson

Where would you go on a stage?
Deep in Japan in one of the most incredible 3 Michelin stars, completely out of my depth.

If you weren’t a chef what would you be?
I’d be a DJ playing dirty house and techno.

Would be your advice to anyone looking to get into the industry?
I would say be 100% passionate about it.

At the highest level i.e. Michelin, top London kitchens etc it’s a lot more, you must want to do it! It really isn’t the sort of career to do just as a job.
You need to eat, sleep and breathe it, be prepared to sacrifice everything, work through the hard times and stay humble and respectful to everything and everyone- this is a lot easier said than done and something I am still learning and teaching myself every day.

I would like to send a massive thank you to Ben for taking part in our recipe feature and good luck with the future of Roganic!

I would also like to thank Thomas Bowles for providing the photography of Ben’s Fantastic Cauliflower dish

For more information on Ben Spalding and Roganic, check out the Restaurants website www.roganic.co.uk or follow ben on Twitter @Benspalding1

If you haven’t had the opportunity to try Ben’s stunning food yet why don’t you try and recreate his Golden Cauliflower dish.

Enjoy!!

See you next month

Andy

Golden Cauliflower, Sour Cream, Raisins, Lettuce and Yarrow

Please note this recipe has been slightly changed as the current version on the Roganic menu is more refined and takes a bit more time to put together and execute.

Ingredients
• 2 x Golden cauliflower
• 200gr x Raisins
• 50g x Sour cream
• 2 x Gem lettuce cut into half
• 20 pieces x Yarrow picked to thumb length
• 75gr x Apple vinegar
• 150gr x Honey
• 3 sprigs of picked Thyme leaves
• 250gr x Salted butter
• Fine Salt
• Maldon sea salt
• Black Pepper
• Rapeseed oil
• 1 head of picked and washed Buckshorn plantain
• 200gr x pickling liquid

Method

• Mix apple vinegar, honey and thyme in a pot, reduce by half, keep warm and set aside
• Add raisins to 1000g warm water in a pot and boil until liquid is barely covering the raisins anymore, blend and strain through a chinois, and then fill a small plastic bottle, keep warm
• Heat a small pan of oil to 180c and fry the yarrow @ 180c for 5 seconds, drain and season, set aside
• Cut the cauliflower into quarters and trim off excess stalk and florets and turn into a nice round cluster, reserve some small florets and trim up neatly for pickling.
• Heat the 200gr of pickling liquid and when boiling add the small florets and boil for 20 seconds then remove from heat and leave to cool in the pan
• Choosing the nicest cluster of cauliflower then Heating a medium non-stick frying pan, add some rapeseed oil, and brush the cauliflower cluster all over with oil and season lightly with salt and pepper and start to caramelise on a medium heat, once lightly golden all over add a knob of salted butter, and start to baste, ensuring the butter never goes flat and stays foamy and almost engulfing the cauliflower, keep adding a knob of butter every 30 seconds and basting until just cooked but retaining a good bite, remove from the pan onto a cloth lined tray to remove grease, and brush well all over with the warm apple honey
• Heat a grill pan to smoking, brush the lettuce face side with rapeseed oil, salt and pepper and grill face side down, pushing down in the middle to ensure even grill lines

Assembly

• On a medium sized plate, squirt 5 evenly spaced dots of raisin puree
• In between the dots place a piece of pickled cauliflower
• In each dot of puree place a piece of yarrow leaf
• Warm the lettuce and cauliflower cluster through the oven for 1 minute, then remove and brush well with the warm apple honey
• Spoon a good dollop of sour cream onto the centre of the plate
• Lay the piece of lettuce on the plate, and then the cauliflower cluster on the sour cream
• Finish with a few more leaves of yarrow and the buckshorn plantain and serve

If you’re interested in working alongside top quality chefs such as Ben Spalding send your CV to andy.sinclair@p-r-c.co.uk or call 01202 203150.

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