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Chef Q&A: Barry Evans, The Whistling Duck

PUBLISHED: 16:51 09 September 2016 | UPDATED: 16:51 09 September 2016

Figs and parma ham with rocket and tomatoes

Figs and parma ham with rocket and tomatoes

brian arnopp

The head chef at the Hertford restaurant gives an insight into his inspirations and dishes

Describe your style

Modern British with an added twist.

How do you decide your menu?

Our à la carte menu is influenced by seeing what is on the market at present as well as giving current dishes a twist. Our specials menu is where we try out inventive dishes.

Do you use local producers?

We use S&J Shellfish in Enfield – they are brilliant local producers. Our meat comes from Select Butchery in Hainault, Essex and our vegetables are from Mikes of Sawbridgeworth.

Whistling DuckWhistling Duck

Which menu dish do you most enjoy preparing?

Duck and waffle – this is a confit duck leg with a sweet waffle, roasted sweet potato chips and honey roasted pineapple – it offers something different to customers. I love to dabble with the desserts and come up with ways of putting a twist on them.

What ingredient is most important to your cooking?

Every ingredient is important as each offers its own element to a dish.

Your best culinary idea?

I have to say it’s when I work on desserts – like creating my Brownie Burger, which is a brownie cut into the shape of a burger with marzipan as the cheese and a doughnut for the bun with pineapple chips, strawberry ketchup and a vanilla smoothie.

The Whistling Duck offers modern British dishes with a twistThe Whistling Duck offers modern British dishes with a twist

Who did you train under and what did they teach you?

I was trained by a variety of chefs in Oxfordshire and Hertfordshire. They taught me to continually try to reinvent the wheel and that a chef can never stop learning.

Prediction for the next food trend?

I think there will be more quick grab street food because time is tight these days, and sharing food as people like to try different styles. I think new allergies will increasingly have a big influence on food styles and menus.

What’s in your fridge at home?

Milk, eggs and cheese.

Favourite quick meal?

Mushroom and ham omlette. When I get in late at night I do share a peanut butter sandwich with the dog.

Top three tips for amateur cooks?

1) Listen and learn from your mistakes. 2) Take creative criticism.

3) Work hard and try not to rush.

Best cookbook?

Nathan Outlaw’s British Seafood.


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