Head Chef: Whites
When did you start at Whites?
I have been head chef here for the past 18 years, having previously been at Sir Rocco Forte’s St. David’s hotel in Cardiff, and before then 11 years at The Connaught Hotel. What is your favourite game bird to cook? There is something very special about grouse – it heralds the start of the season and tastes magnificent (and is easy to cook!)
What is the most important thing to bear in mind when cooking game?
Keeping it moist, especially pheasant. Our sous-vide, the equivalent to a water bath, is invaluable – slow cooking the meat with a bit of butter and seasoning is so simple yet so effective.
What is your most popular game dish?
Grouse – we serve close to 2,000 young birds a year, followed by partridge. I love it when we have some English in but the redlegs are still popular. Other favourites include woodcock, teal and wigeon.
What’s the most popular starter?
Smoked salmon easily outsells everything else, followed by potted shrimps and smoked eel.
Are members eating more game?
Game has always been popular and throughout the season there is always a choice but I am particularly delighted that the members have asked for more pheasant dishes – four years ago we didn’t have it on the menu.
Any unusual game dishes?
Pheasant eggs are proving to be very popular in the spring – either when making scotch eggs or simply served with black pudding.
How would you encourage the public to eat more game?
It has to be more readily available – supermarkets must do their bit. Then we need people to actually try it, which they would if they were more aware of the health benefits – less fat, more protein.
Do you have to stick to traditional game recipes?
We don’t mess around with grouse – roasted simply with all the trimmings can’t be beaten. However the attitude to food has changed dramatically in recent years, partly due to so much more choice in restaurants now. As such, we have moved with the times and are constantly creating new dishes with our game and we will always try a recommendation from a member. The pheasant schnitzel was a particular favourite last year.