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Chef Q&A: Stephanie Malvoisin, The Manor, Elstree

PUBLISHED: 12:12 24 February 2015

Beautiful presentation is a mark of the restaurant

Beautiful presentation is a mark of the restaurant

@WhiteGoldImages

The head chef of The Cavendish Restaurant at The Manor, Elstree gives an insight into her kitchen

Potato crusted sea bass with sweet potato puree, asparagus and rosemary dressingPotato crusted sea bass with sweet potato puree, asparagus and rosemary dressing

Describe your style English with a French touch

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How do you decide your menu? First of all I decide what the main component, or protein, of the dish will be and then look at what else is in season. I then try several different variations of a dish until I am happy with the final version.

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Stephanie MalvoisinStephanie Malvoisin

Do you use Hertfordshire producers? At the moment I use Direct Milk, a local dairy. I am always looking for new suppliers, especially now that I am much more familiar with the local area.

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Which menu dish do you most enjoy preparing? I really enjoy preparing fish, specifically sea bass as I find it to be light, tasty and high in protein.

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What ingredient is most important to your cooking? For me, seasoning is the most important ingredient in cooking. Correct seasoning brings out all the flavours in a dish. In my opinion that is what makes the difference between an average dish and an exceptional one.

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What’s been your best culinary idea? Potato crusted sea bass with sweet potato puree, asparagus and a rosemary dressing. It’s perfect if you fancy something light.

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Who did you train under and what did they teach you? I worked under Derek Quelch at The Goring Hotel in London. He taught me that there is more to English food than just mint and lamb! He also showed me that an organised kitchen is vital if you want to achieve excellence and played a key part in developing my skills. Thanks Derek, you were an amazing mentor!

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Prediction for the next food trend? I think the next food trend will be a major shift towards vegetarian dishes and healthier eating. Restaurants are still not great at catering for the growing number of vegetarians and this needs to change.

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What’s in your fridge at home? Right now? Broccoli, salmon and yoghurt.

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Favourite quick meal? Steak tartare with chips – simple and really tasty.

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Top three tips for amateur cooks? 1. Season your food. 2. Always taste what you are cooking. 3. Above all, enjoy it – cooking isn’t scary.

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Best ever cookbook? Every chef’s bible – Le Répertoire de la Cuisine by Louis Saulnier.

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