Chef Q&A

PUBLISHED: 10:00 06 December 2015 | UPDATED: 10:05 07 December 2015

Chris Coleby

Chris Coleby


Chris Coleby, The Cookery, Hoddesdon

Meat Salad with VegetableMeat Salad with Vegetable

Describe your style

Modern, creative and innovative with a nod to tradition and all that’s good with great ingredients. I take inspiration from classic chefs such as Gordon Ramsay and David Everitt–Matthias.

How do you decide your menu?

Thick filet mignonThick filet mignon

We are a cookery school, so our menus change with each class we teach. However, with our chef’s table private dining, my menus are based on tasting experiences designed around our guests. This give me a great opportunity to express my style and tempt our guests to try something new.

What Hertfordshire producers do you use?

We use as many local suppliers as we can. Our rape seed oils come from Duchess Oils in Sawbridgeworth, our meat from Ripley’s in Hoddesdon, fish from our local Hoddesdon market fishmongers and vegetables from Fresh, also in Hoddesdon. Even our wine selection is from EJB Wines, based in Hertford.

Which dish do you most enjoy preparing?

Making tortellini is a therapy but preparing some of the classics with my twist is always a challenge I look forward to, for example, working with game meats and delicate fish to enhance all the flavour and textures.

What ingredient is most important to your cooking? Salt flakes. Just a simple sprinkle over beautifully-prepared meat can change the whole eating experience. A dash of nutty Duchess rape seed oil gives dishes another simple but effective dimension.

What’s been your best culinary idea?

Adding a chicken skin and black truffle crisp as a garnish to a classic salmon and lobster tortellini. It lifted the dish off the plate visually and created texture with a flavour to contrast with the salmon.

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

I trained under many talented chefs; however the main influence on me was Richard Stearn from the Fat Duck in Bray, who has worked in some of the best restaurants in the world.

Prediction for the next food trend?

Classics using clean, fresh ingredients without complications but using the skills of the chef to enhance the flavours and textures. People understand food more these days, they know what they like and expect excellence.

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