Chef Q&A: Erick Moboti

PUBLISHED: 21:54 06 August 2012 | UPDATED: 21:42 20 February 2013

Chef Q&A: Erick Moboti

Chef Q&A: Erick Moboti

Ashridge House head chef, Erick Moboti, talks about his style and inspiration

Ashridge House head chef, Erick Moboti, talks about his style and inspiration

How would you describe your style?

Classical fusion; using certain classical basics as a starting point from which to build ideas.

Which dish on your current menu do you most enjoy preparing and why?

I always look forward to using the Ashridge venison during the game season - it is an inspirational ingredient.

How do you decide your menu?

Seasonality plays a big part and the abundance of local ingredients available to us. I also think about the diversity of our clients and try to tailor our menus accordingly. The team are encouraged to add their ideas it is effective in building a creative team.

Who did you train under and what did they teach you that youll never forget?

I enjoyed my time at Brocket Hall with Jean Christophe Novelli, who taught me how to focus on every ingredient as a single unit to achieve the maximum outcome once assembled with other ingredients. Working with Steven Saunders influenced my thinking as a chef. I learnt to take great pride in my profession and to never compromise on my standards.

What is your prediction for the next food trend?

Sustainable cooking - its a combination of what we have seen in the last five years (green, environmental, locally sourced, Fair Trade and other responsible sourcing standards) but with emphasis on waste reduction. This is an ethos were developing here at Ashridge not only is it what our clients increasingly expect, but they also want to see the evidence that is not a window dressing exercise. Our approach to environmental management has encouraged growth and learning within the team; it connects us directly with local producers and farmers.

What has been your best culinary idea?

Dclinaison - its a term I use in assiette-like dishes we serve on our fine dining evenings that use both delicate and cheaper cuts to create some of our signature dishes. For example, with our lamb dclinaison, we use the shoulder to make a mini pie, the inner fillet to make a souffl and the rack for a Dijonnaise.

What is your favourite ingredient and why?

Nutmeg, it adds a different dimension to every dish, whether sweet or savoury. Although subtle on its own, it is a great catalyst in bringing ingredients together without taking centre stage. I use it freshly grated to finish my soups and pures, hence most of my recipes finish with adding salt, pepper and nutmeg.

What do you think of the cult of celebrity chefs?

I have mixed feelings about the trend - it is positive in that it has raised the industrys profile and made the profession respectable; but on the other hand it has created an even deeper misconception of what a chef should be.

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