INTERVIEW WITH NEW HEAD CHEF PHILL REEVES
Phill has been part of the Ideal Collection family for some time, previously Head Chef at No.5 Bridge Street. He's now leading the charge here in Swanwick.
WHAT ARE YOUR TOP TIPS FOR ASPIRING CHEFS?
The first few years will be really tough. If you keep your head down and put the hours in whilst taking every opportunity to soak up information and learn from anyone willing to teach you. Your dedication will soon pay off.
WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE AS YOUR LAST SUPPER?
It’s not a defined dish as such but a mezze or tapas type spread. Then I can have a bit of everything it would have to include things like flatbreads, tabbouleh, cured meat, sundried tomatoes etc, I could go on all day.
WHICH SUPPLIER WOULD YOU HIGHLY RECOMMEND?
Loosehanger cheeses are a great very local supplier. Cheese is one of my weaknesses, I particularly like their White Hart and Nanny Williams Blue which is a blue goat’s cheese.
I love using the less prime cuts of meat such as pork cheeks and lamb breast. Any bits of the animal that often get overlooked but are full of flavour and with a little care and time can be made into better dishes than the very expensive 'prime cuts'.
WHO IS YOUR GREATEST INSPIRATION?
Always a fun question. Not sure if I do as such. I've definitely drawn a lot of influence from a lot of great chefs I've worked with over the years and a lot of celebrity chefs. I'd have to say though from an early age influence came from my mum who’s never been one for a TV dinner. Fish fingers, chips and peas once a week as a treat, but everything else was from scratch. I remember moaning like anything as a kid but now I look back and it’s probably where my journey started.
CRISPY LAMB, ON SOURDOUGH TOAST, CREAM CHEESE, HARISSA
This is a really popular dish in the restaurant and works really well as a starter or light lunch. We brine and confit the lamb at The Boat House Cafe but if I was to do it at home I would slow roast the lamb so have tweaked the recipe for that purpose.
Servers 6-8 as starter or light lunch
• 1.5-2kg lamb shoulder off the bone
• Sprig rosemary chopped
• Sea salt
• Olive oil
• 4 cloves of garlic crushed
• 1 good quality sourdough loaf
• 1 packet of cream cheese (the best you can find)
• Harissa paste
Firstly, mix together the rosemary and garlic with a little olive oil and rub this into the lamb. Then season the lamb generously with sea salt and pepper.
Next, place the lamb in a deep roasting tray with about an inch of water in the bottom and cover with tin foil. Place in the oven at 160 degrees and cook for roughly 3-4 hours (or until very tender and easy to pull apart.
Once the lamb is cooked; allow to cool until easily pulled.
Place the lamb on a tray and grill along with generous slices of sourdough.
You're not looking for the lamb to be totally crispy; more like half and half, so you get a nice contrast of crispy bits and soft bits of meat.
Once this is done, remove from the grill and spread a thick layer of the cream cheese on the sourdough, placing the lamb on top.
Let the harissa paste down with a little olive oil and drizzle around the plates placing the lamb on toast in the centre.
Dress the rocket with a little more of the harissa and sit on top of the lamb to garnish.
Serve immediately and enjoy!