The bright lights of London were part of the training for chef Jonty Cork, who served his time in the kitchens of illustrious names including Tom Conran and Oliver Peyton.
Later, he returned home to Sheffield and made a name for himself as head chef at acclaimed West 10 in Fulwood and Silversmiths in Arundel Street. But now Jonty has found his niche – in the humble setting of a backstreet café.
Okay, Sharrow Vale Road isn’t exactly a byway, but Made By Jonty doesn’t pretend to be anything grander than a neighbourhood eaterie.
“We’re an everyday accessible café on a busy cosmopolitan high street, but with restaurant kitchen and service ethics,” says Jonty.
The point is, it may not be a smart restaurant, but it is his own. And that’s something he values.
“I really like having my own place. It allows me to do my cheffing thing but with better working hours and no late nights – which suits a married 40-year-old man.”
The café was originally inspired by the trendy London restaurant of Israeli-born chef Yotam Ottolenghi, renowned for his vegetarian cooking.
“But laying out the salads, doing a breakfast and a lunch menu and making all the cakes on site was all a little too frantic in such a small space,” admits Jonty.
“We gradually evolved into what we are now... and still deliver big, bountiful fresh salads, but they come from the kitchen instead of the counter, so we as chefs can make sure they’re up to spec.”
Over the past 20 years, he has worked in kitchens all over the world and his menu reflects that fact.
Breakfast and brunch dishes range from classic eggs Benedict to a traditional English fry-up. Lunch dishes can be a simple salad, or something more exotic, influenced by Australian or American culture.
Gluten-free cakes are a speciality (Jonty’s wife is gluten intolerant), as is his GF cornbread.
“It’s a very easy version of bread to make: simple to mix and cook instead of the traditional knead, rise, knead, prove technique.”
Even better for home cooks, it can be sliced up and frozen, then simply defrosted and oven-warmed or grilled back to life.
Jonty serves it with anything from corned beef hash in the winter to pulled pork and radish coleslaw for lunch.
“Dropping the jalapenos and adding roasted peppers, cherry tomatoes and feta cheese makes it ideal as a side dish with picnics and salads.”
He has shared it with us, along with his popular green egg, mozzarella and avocado omelette.
Avocado & mozzarella green egg omelet, WITH Jalapeno gluten-free cornbread & slow roast tomatoes
INGREDIENTS (serves 1)
Cornbread – gluten free: (makes 10 portions)
125g sweetcorn, tinned or frozen
125ml semi-skimmed milk
75g vegetable oil
2 medium eggs
50g cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 bunch of dill, chopped
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 bunch basil
1/4 bunch chervil
1/4 bunch coriander
ball of buffalo mozzarella
Line a 7’’/10’’ brownie tray with greaseproof paper.
Mix all dry ingredient in a bowl. Beat eggs, oil and milk, then add to bowl, beating thoroughly with a spatula or wooden spoon to combine.
Spoon mixture into brownie tray and level out. Bake for 35-40 mins at 180ºC.
slow roasted tomatoes:
Slow roast your tomatoes in the bottom of the oven on a baking sheet as the cornbread is baking.
Blitz up the soft herbs in a blender with a little bit of olive oil. The idea is to make a super-smooth paste.
Whisk the eggs and a big teaspoon of the herb paste.
Put your heaviest non-stick pan on a high heat, get it really hot then turn it down.
Add a splash of vegetable oil along with a knob of butter (take care not to burn this).
Pour in the eggs and cook the mixture really quickly, pushing it away from the edges of the pan with a spatula.
Rip some mozzarella into pieces and add to pan, along with some slices of avocado. Fold over the egg mixture.
Remove from heat and leave to set for a minute. Place on to a warm plate with slices of cornbread and tomatoes.