Chef Q&A with Miroslav Schelling of The Bricklayers Arms, Flaunden

PUBLISHED: 11:32 12 January 2017 | UPDATED: 11:32 12 January 2017

Miroslav Schelling, Bricklayers Arms

Miroslav Schelling, Bricklayers Arms

Bricklayers Arms

The head chef of the award-winning Flaunden country pub and restaurant on touring Europe in one sitting, the magic of seasoning, and bargain-bucket KFC

Mackerel escabecheMackerel escabeche

Describe your style

I like to warm up my customers’ appetite with an Italian-themed starter, step things up with French cuisine and finish with a Slovakian dessert with my own personal touch. I like customers to leave with their taste buds feeling they’ve been on a full tour around Europe.

How do you decide your menu?

I like to give my dishes a personal touch, infusing classic dishes with secret family recipes – ensuring a unique dining experience.

Which Herts producers do you use?

We buy local seasonal game from Little Missenden, meat from Prestwood Farm in Kings Langley and local fresh veg and fruit from St Albans.

Which menu dish do you most enjoy preparing?

I have a list of dishes! One of them is the mackerel escabeche, due to its unique and creative style.

Most important ingredient in your cooking?

The most fundamental ingredient to my recipes is salt and pepper. I often find combining the bitterness of pepper with the sweetness of salt in just the right quantities can lead to that perfect taste with almost every dish.

What’s been your best culinary idea?

In the world of a chef there are no good or bad ideas because every customer is different and will have different preferences. So what I try to do is diversify my menu as much as possible, so everyone who dines in my restaurant can have a dining experience tailored to them.

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

Michelin-trained chef Claude Paillet was my teacher and now my lifelong friend. He took me on at the tender age of 20, teaching me what has become a lifelong passion in a prestigious restaurant in my home country.

Next food trend?

I think the ever-growing trends of globalisation and multiculturalism will combine the palates of different cultures into one.

Quick grill

What’s in your home fridge?

We have all the essential ingredients which form the toolbox of any good cook, including spices, fresh veggies, red meat and lots of Yazoo.

Favourite quick meal?

After a long stressful day of work, I like to pick up two bargain buckets of KFC, gather round the dining table with my family to catch up on the day and spend time together.

Top three tips for amateur cooks?

1. Don’t be afraid to experiment in the kitchen.

2. Be careful not to use too much spice.

3. Practise your technique and make sure you’re comfortable using knives.

Best cookbook?

My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories by David Lebovitz

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