Chef Q&A: Jess Tatlow, The Golden Fleece, Braughing
PUBLISHED: 17:14 20 March 2017 | UPDATED: 10:09 21 March 2017
Chef-owner at the Braughing pub and restaurant discusses the rise of healthy dishes, the importance of experimentation, and not being a 'cornflour cowboy'
Describe your style
Modern British food with added flavours from world cuisine. There are so many fantastic styles of cooking that it is hard to limit to a specific one. It’s good to mix it up a bit, such as pineapple upside down pudding with chilli syrup.
How do you decide your menu?
We sit down with our chefs to discuss and decide several months’ menus at a time. Our menu changes every month to keep it seasonal and then we have a daily specials board which we use to try out ideas ready for the à la carte.
What local producers do you use?
We use Amwell Fruit Company for fruit and veg as they have great produce and knowledge of seasonality. Bridget B’s in Watton-at-Stone provides fabulous meat and Stickleback Fish are a really useful supplier with their daily specials sheets. And the Braughing Sausage Company because they taste so good.
Which menu dish do you most enjoy preparing?
It’s too tough to choose one. It depends on the season. I love preparing game dishes from local suppliers. I love making desserts and experimenting with different ways of cooking and presenting dishes. That’s what I love most about being a chef – the ever-changing aspect of cooking.
What ingredient is most important to your cooking?
I think salt is probably one of the most important ingredients. It has the ability to transform virtually any dish from OK to WOW. Whether it’s new potatoes, sauces or a chocolate mousse, a little salt goes a long way. I particularly love the whole salted caramelness!
Your best culinary idea?
I believe one of the best ideas at The Golden Fleece has been in conjunction with my other main chef, Mary Wills, which is our gluten and dairy-free profiteroles. They are hugely popular and are always requested by our guests, who say it is such a rare treat for them.
Who did you train under & what did they teach you?
I had no formal training but learnt so much from chefs I worked with in Hertfordshire and London. Chefs Adam Baldwin and Dan Brinklow were so influential to my career, encouraging me to give dishes a try, enjoy it, and not to be a ‘cornflour cowboy’.
Next food trend?
We are noticing an ever increasing lean towards gluten-free, dairy-free and also vegan dishes. It is something that we do regularly on our menu but I think it will become even more important to chefs and customers for not only dietary reasons but general healthier lifestyles.
What’s in your fridge at home?
Tonic and lemon for the all important gin at the end of a night and fresh pasta for the children.
Favourite quick meal?
It has to be Heinz baked beans on toast with cheese and chopped up Braughing sausage. You can’t beat it!
Top three tips for amateur cooks?
1. Prepare and read through the recipe.
2. Give it a try – it doesn’t matter if it goes a bit wrong.
3. Enjoy it, cooking is such fun!
I love White Heat by Marco Pierre White – I’ve used it so long, as the splattered pages show!