I feel a lot more connected to the ingredients down here. 27 years in central London. Great – I had a fantastic time but now I really feel I am getting into why I actually cook – and why I actually wanted to become a chef. There’s so much fantastic ingredients I have a real connection with them now. Going out and going foraging, I go out and I meet the meat supplier, I go out and I meet the butcher, farmers, and I meet the fishermen – those are the sort of things that I haven’t managed to really do on a real sort of personal level for so many years. And now I am excited again, I’m excited to get in the kitchen and cook. And that enthusiasm I’m hopefully bringing into South Sands – it will reverberate across everything that we do within this fantastic little hotel. Alex is our butcher farmer. He’s got these fantastic sheep that I’ve actually been up and seen – and I’ve managed to hand-feed the mums. Its brilliant to go and get that close – its heartening to work with a gentleman that is so passionate about his animals and his livestock and its brilliant. I tell you, I’ve never got that close, I’ve never got that hands-on with livestock in my life, and then going up and I’ll help him, I’ll help him doing the weighing of the sheep, I’ll help him do the clipping of the feet, I’ll go and help him in the fields and its literally getting hands-on and getting stuck in and its helping me have a real connection with what Alex is trying to achieve and this connection can flow through to what I’m trying to do on the plate its brilliant.
The idea behind our lamb dish is that I wanted to bring in a little bit of spice, a little bit of warmth into the lamb so I marinated it with a little bit of local yogurt , some ginger, some chilli, some cumin seeds, coriander seeds, so we have that Indian sort of resonance coming through the dish then we’ve done a little parsley puree, some spiced apricots, we also made it with some crab pakoras, trying to tie in the fish – the land and the sea – bringing it all into the dish, and those lamb cutlets are just to die for. They’re soft, they’re succulent, they’re nice and pink in the middle but they’ve got that warmth from the Indian spice, they’ve got that hint of ginger, that little bit of chilli coming through so that it really is, its quite an unusual dish. When I finally put it onto the plate everybody tasted it, its blown them all away, its fantastic.