Chef’s Dish: Lesley Draper talks to head chef Andy Szurko

Chef Andy Szurko with wife Kasia and children Olly and Connie
Chef Andy Szurko with wife Kasia and children Olly and Connie

Fathers’ Day celebrations will be put on hold this Sunday for weekend workers across the city… That’s something the Szurkos have grown used to, with three chefs in the family.

Instead they will all get together once the lunchtime shift is finished and gather round the dinner table – as they do most weekends – for a traditional Sunday roast.

Brothers Christian and Danny built up impressive industry profiles before being side-tracked to take over JH Mann’s fishmongers. These days it’s younger sibling Andy who’s setting the standard, as head chef at Bistrot Pierre in Ecclesall Road.

And the next generation of Szurko chefs is already being lined up: daughter Connie, 5, loves cooking with her dad while year-old Olly looks on. Cheesecake is her favourite dish at the moment.

Patriarch Georgio Szurko is an upholsterer, but his sons all chose catering. Andy folowed his brothers to Sheffield College and went on to work with them at Sheffield’s Blue Room, then in Leeds and London.

He discovered his vocation when he was offered the chance to help launch a patisserie in Japan and headed for the bright lights of Osaka.

There he learned the secrets of both modern and traditional baking and confectionery, making everything from delicate pastries to sumptuous desserts. He returned home six months later with a whole repertoire of new skills and an enduring love of both Japanese food and the art of pastry.

“Japan was amazing; it really broadened my horizons,” says Andy. “Every job gave me added elements and patisserie is still my real passion.”

He went on to work as a pastry chef at the two-rosette Holdsworth House Hotel in Halifax and, closer to home, at Nonnas and the Walnut Club in Ecclesall Road.

Then he was lured to newly-opened Bistrot Pierre where, two years ago, he became head chef.

The striking new-build restaurant, with its glass walls and burnished wood cladding, is a popular haunt for diners who enjoy French-style cuisine and good value for money.

“We pride ourselves on serving fresh food, cooked by trained chefs. We make everything from scratch and put all our passion into cooking – and you can taste the difference,” he says.

His current favourite dish, from the new summer menu, is Sole Meuniere: “It’s light, fresh and perfect for summer. It’s really simple to cook and would make a perfect Fathers’ Day meal, served with fresh vegetables.”

Bistrot Pierre is serving a Fathers’ Day set menu, with two courses for £16.95 or three for £18.95.

Recipe by: Andy Szurko

Sole Meunière

Whole sole served on the bone, pan-fried in seasoned flour with capers and parsley butter.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 7 minutes

4 whole megrin sole

2g paprika pepper

2 lemons

50g capers

25g flat leaf parsley

160g unsalted butter

120ml vegetable oil

METHOD

1. Finely chop the parsley and capers.

2. Cut the lemons into quarters and reserve some wedges for garnishing the dish.

3. Mix flour, paprika and seasoning.

4. Lightly dust the fish in seasoned flour, pat off any excess.

5. Place half of the butter and half of the oil in a large pan, place on a medium heat.

6. Pan fry the fish for 3 to 4 minutes, then turn and cook the other side.

7. When golden on both sides, remove from the pan and finish in oven (if required).

8. Drain the oil from the pan and add the remaining butter to make beurre meunière.

9. Squeeze lemon juice into pan and deglaze.

10. Add parsley and capers, then remove from heat.

TO SERVE

Place the fish on a serving plate and pour over the beurre meunière. Serve with freshly cooked vegetables and potatoes of your choice.