Desert island dishes

With Peter German, hospitality head chef, Restaurant Associates and Compass Chef of the Year 2020...

Apple Parfait, Dill Meringue, Cider Apples and Goats’ Yoghurt
This dessert is very close to my heart. Growing up in Kent, it reminds me of eating organic apples as a boy, then in later life, eating fresh goats’ yoghurt, garnished with dill, on a remote farm in Iceland. These experiences inspired this dessert, which was part of my winning menu at the recent Compass Chef of the Year competition in October.  

Liver and Bacon with Onion Gravy
My mum, bless her, was not the best cook in the world, but she used to make this for me, and it was one of her best dinners, still is to this day! I will always try to show her a fine-dining version of this meal, but in the words of my mother, she just says ‘get out of the kitchen!’

Pie, Mash and Liquor
This is one of my guilty pleasures. As a child, my father would always take me to his local pie and mash shop after a football match, providing the team I played for, Welling Wanderers, won. You simply can't beat an English classic and it certainly made me run around the pitch quicker!

Hickory Smoked Lamb Rack, Saffron Fondant Potato, Braised Endive and Redcurrant
This was my first ever dish which appeared on a menu at work, as a young and naive commis chef at an investment bank in The City with Restaurant Associates 10 years ago. I also entered this dish into my first ever competition at Salon Culinaire, Hotelympia, which earned me a bronze medal. I felt that this dish was my first stepping-stone into a career where I have been able to experiment with ingredients and flavours and use my creativity to produce new and exciting plates of food. 

Grilled Octopus cooked in 56 spices, Chorizo and Smoked Mash
Inspired by a dish I tried with my fiancé at a food festival in Barcelona, the original dish was made with freshly caught squid cooked in Jägermeister – it was beautiful. Unknown to most people, Jägermeister contains 56 spices, including saffron, juniper, poppy seed and ginseng. The aromatic flavour from the octopus worked especially well with the chorizo and the smoked mash element added body to the dish.

Katsu Chicken Curry with Sticky Rice, Lime and Sesame Slaw
This is hands down a workplace favourite in any office I’ve worked in. We keep this as authentic as possible, making the sauce from scratch using turmeric and soy sauce, the chicken must be coated in panko crumb and fried until golden, and the slaw is a mix of sour and umami flavours that cut through the sauce.

Homemade Sourdough, Burnt Leek Butter and Pickles
A simple dish, but a wholesome one, which has a place in my top eight. The smell of fresh sourdough hot out of the oven, that crackling sound as the first slice is cut and smothered with burnt leek butter and pickles, is nothing short of mouth-watering. Absolute heaven.

BBQ Shredded Goat with Pickled Red Cabbage and Tahini Hummus
Goat is such an underused meat in the UK and it should be eaten more. The flavour is incredible, especially when slow cooked. Inspired by my many trips to street food markets such as Borough, Seven Dials and Greenwich, I like to cook this for friends – getting them involved in making the flatbreads is always fun.

What one book would you take with you?
Silo – The Zero Waste Blueprint. Douglas McMaster’s philosophy is inspiring and for me this is the direction we, as chefs, should be looking towards because sustainability is key for future generations.

What luxury item would you take with you?
I would take a pen and paper. I always make sure I have both, inspiration is everywhere, and I need to make notes when my imagination goes wild! I believe it’s the key to learning and progression.

If you were allowed one dish which would it be?
It would have to be my winning dessert from this year’s Compass Chef of the Year – apple parfait, dill meringue, cider apples and goats’ yoghurt. This dish is very close to my heart and has helped me during key moments to express and define who I am as a cook… but if my mum asks, I said liver and bacon!