Hertfordshire Chef Q&A

PUBLISHED: 15:27 12 April 2016 | UPDATED: 15:27 12 April 2016

Chez Mutaj specialises in French-Asian flavours

Chez Mutaj specialises in French-Asian flavours


Chad Raman, executive chef, Chez Mumtaj, St Albans

Chad RamanChad Raman

Describe your style.

Classical French techniques, accented with subtle Franco-Asian flavours.

How do you decide your menu?

I tend to develop the menu according to the seasons when fresh produce are at their very best in flavour and potency.

Which menu dish do you most enjoy preparing?

My signature dish is kasundi black cod – wild Alaskan roasted black cod, kaffir-lime tomato curry emulsion, freshly grated coconut rice, coriander, Norfolk coast pickled samphire and apple and mango salsa. It won Celebrity Britain’s Best Dish. It’s a great combination of flavours and looks really appealing.

What Herts producers do you use?

We use well-known, very reputable meat suppliers and vegetable growers, British Premium Meats in Welwyn GC and Foxholes Farm Shop and Butchery in Hertford, as they produce the best meats and fresh vegetable produce for us to use. We also source specialist ingredients from overseas for our dishes such as Iranian saffron and truffles because of their high quality and potent flavour.

What ingredient is most important to your cooking?

Amalfi lemons – their aromatic sweet citrus taste brings any dish alive.

Your best culinary idea?

Purchasing a Thermomix food processor. It’s lightweight, versatile and multifunctional – you can even cook a curry or a stir-fry in it! Believe it or not, I’m dead serious! Grinding, chopping, purees, steaming, braising etc, all in a jug.

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

My mother has been the greatest influence on my culinary journey. She is my mentor. From an early age I was fascinated with food; the smells, aromas and fragrances that emanated from my mother’s kitchen. She inspired me to pursue a career in cheffing.

I have also worked at establishments including the five-star Hyatt Regency Hotel and Four Seasons Hotel, Houston, Texas and The Hilton Group.

Prediction for the next food trend?

The growth of more pop-up restaurants, more healthy fast-food outlets and more artisan pickles – seaweed and kimchi featuring on restaurant menus that are high in fibre, nutrition and salubrious.

Also the gradual removal of GM foods from menus and greater emphasis on vegetarian foods. More healthy fare with Pacific and Asian influences will start to dominate the food scene.

Quick Grill

What’s in your fridge at home?

Boiled beetroot, goat’s cheese, red endive, chicory, forced rhubarb, Savoy cabbage, new season wild garlic leaves.

Favourite quick meal?

A sandwich.

Top three tips for amateur cooks?

Be innovative, persistent and passionate about your cooking. And three more – taste, taste, taste!

Best cookbook?

Larousse Gastronomique – the Bible of French cooking. It’s truly inspirational for menu planning and development.

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