Chef Q&A – Scott Liversedge, Redcoats Farmhouse Hotel & Restaurant
PUBLISHED: 09:50 14 February 2014 | UPDATED: 09:51 14 February 2014
Scott Liversedge, executive chef, Redcoats Farmhouse Hotel & Restaurant, Redcoats Green
Describe your style. Everything we do is highly seasonal and freshly made. Pretty much everything is homemade, from the bread you get at the start of the meal through to the fudge with your coffee. Our food style is best described as old fashioned British (sometimes French) classics with a modern twist.
How do you decide your menu? We change our menus 4-5 times per year. We always have game, fresh fish and Scottish beef on the menu. Other items such as oysters, lamb and cheese are dependent on the season. I start planning our menus six months in advance when we decide which herbs and vegetables to plant in our kitchen garden.
Do you use Hertfordshire producers? Our butcher is based in Little Wymondley and our fruiterer is in St Albans. We get some cheeses from Wobbly Bottom farm in Hitchin and our ice creams are from Mrs Maynard near Biggleswade. We never sacrifice quality which sometimes means going further afield, such as for our venison which we source from a fantastic producer in Northern Ireland.
Which menu dish do you most enjoy preparing? I get great pleasure from using produce from our own land – particularly pheasants and partridges which are reared in adjacent fields and then plucked and prepared on site. Feathers aside, there is no waste as we use the rest to make sauces and terrines.
What ingredient is most important to your cooking? All herbs are important in our cooking, especially those which are grown in the kitchen garden. Rosemary, sage and thyme are fundamental to many of the heavier, meat-based dishes. We also like to use parsley, dill and fennel with lighter dishes and fish.
What’s been your best culinary idea? I created an artichoke and vanilla puree to accompany our Oisin venison, which turned out to be very popular. Venison works well with fruity flavours - on this dish we used cherries and port - however it needed something else to balance the sharpness of the cherries. Vanilla and artichoke gave it the lovely earthy sweetness we were looking for.
Who did you train under and what did they teach you? I have worked for Redcoats for most of my professional career, training under the previous head chef, John Ruffle. John taught me the fundamentals of traditional British cooking - some of his dishes are still on our menus such as steak and kidney pie, chicken liver and brandy pate. My bread and patisserie skills are all due to his influence.
What’s your prediction for the next food trend? As food prices continue to increase, it is all about working with some of the less well known, but delicious, cuts of meat such as feather-blade or bavette. These need slow cooking which is where new cooking techniques such as sous vide are becoming so important.
What’s in your fridge at home?
All the basics – salad, dairy and condiments, with meat and fish as and when. To be honest there’s not much room in there due to all the toddler food!
Favourite quick meal?
Pasta – anything with a tomato-based sauce.
Top three tips for amateur chefs?
Always remember – colour, consistency, flavour. Ask yourself ‘would I pay for that dish?’. Always be prepared – get your preparation (mise en place) done well in advance.
Canteen Cuisine – Marco Pierre White (and Michael Caine)