Chef Q&A: The Bushel & Strike, Ashwell

PUBLISHED: 10:11 15 November 2015 | UPDATED: 16:36 16 May 2016

Twice-baked cheese souffle at The Bushel and Strike

Twice-baked cheese souffle at The Bushel and Strike


Martin Nisbet, chef/owner, The Bushel & Strike, Ashwell

Martin Nisbet, chef/owner, The Bushel and Strike, AshwellMartin Nisbet, chef/owner, The Bushel and Strike, Ashwell

Describe your style

Comforting classical food with modern interpretations.

How do you decide your menu?

I’m very lucky as I can change my menu twice a day. The menu at the Bushel is based around what I believe customers will enjoy eating, this is of course also dictated by what’s in season and great at the markets that day.

Do you use Hertfordshire producers?

Of course! We are very lucky to have our own ‘Bushel Forager’ who seeks out the best nature has to offer around Ashwell. The team from the Ashwell Market Garden provides us with some beautiful fresh vegetables. And I can’t forget Jonathan of Crump’s of Ashwell for his fantastic meat.

Which menu dish do you most enjoy preparing?

Where do I start? I enjoy preparing everything I serve but these are favourites - English asparagus salad in spring, poached wild sea trout in summer, roast grouse in the autumn and braised ox cheeks in winter - because they are seasonal and delicious.

Which ingredient is most important to your cooking?

Herbs. As someone very important to me once said, ‘Cooking without herbs is like English without grammar’. When used correctly herbs will always give another flavour dimension to cooking.

What’s been your best culinary idea?

Putting our twice-baked cheese soufflé on the menu. Everyone loves them, and they are vegetarian too. Made fresh everyday, this is the only dish to have been on our menu from the start. We even have customers phoning us to check sure they are still on!

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

Anton Edelmann, executive chef at the Savoy for 21 years. Having worked for Anton for 11 years he has been a formidable force in my career. The most valuable lesson he taught me was the importance of being consistent. If it’s not right, do it again.

Next food trend?

I have never been one for following trends. I’m a traditionalist at heart. However, I believe due to the continuous rise of food prices and the increase of allergies and intolerances, menus in the future will have significantly more vegetables playing a starring roll.

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