CHEF'S DISH: Lesley Draper talks to chef Jamie Whiteley

Jamie Whiteley cooks in the '˜most impressive building in Sheffield' - but he nearly ended up toiling over bunsen burners instead.

Thursday, 10th March 2016, 06:03 am
Updated Thursday, 10th March 2016, 09:26 am

The head chef at Cutler’s Hall planned to be a chemist but found that food had more of an appeal.

“I was originally planning to be a chemist but working in kitchens lit my fire; I enjoyed the buzz and worked my way up learning on the job in good hotels and restaurants”, said Jamie, who previously worked at The Old Vicarage, Ridgeway, and the Case Hotel in Chesterfield.

The main hall of Cutlers' Hall in Sheffield is edged with portraits of Mastler Cutlers throughout the years. The ceiling is ornate in design and must have impressed the hall's first visitors in Victorian times. picture mike cowling aug 25th 2012 Nikon D700 17mm lens iso 640. Free to use if you wish.

He added: “The Cutlers Hall is thousands of square feet steeped in the history of this region. It is the most impressive building in Sheffield – once you get through those stainless steel doors it is a treasure trove of our heritage.”

Head chefs at Cutlers Hall need to be able to adapt as it serves up fine dinners for all manner of functions, from weddings to corporate days, small bespoke dinners, as well as the famous Company feasts that have been running annually. This year is the 380th event.

That’s not to say that every day goes as smoothly as you’d hope in such a grand venture...

There were once 250 people booked in for dinner when gas to the kitchen was lost just hours before, and the menu had to be completely scrapped.

Jamie said: “We talked to the dinner organizers – adapted the menu and the dinner went on as planned. This may sound relatively easy but my life was essentially turned upside down. In the first instance, it was a nightmare but I really enjoyed turning it round –finding a suitable menu to cook on the few electric appliances I had available and then putting the whole thing together in very short order. “I wouldn’t want to do it every day but challenges like that add spice to life.”

When it comes to eating rather than cooking Jamie tends towards seasonal and local dishes, favouring stews and pies in winter, then lighter dishes in the warmer months.

The recipe he shares today for roasted cod loin is one he hopes will help diners to shake off the feeling of winter.

“It’s a dish from one of our new spring to summer menus”, he said.

The main hall of Cutlers' Hall in Sheffield is edged with portraits of Mastler Cutlers throughout the years. The ceiling is ornate in design and must have impressed the hall's first visitors in Victorian times. picture mike cowling aug 25th 2012 Nikon D700 17mm lens iso 640. Free to use if you wish.

“ It’s a roast loin of cod, herbcrust, samphire, wild garlic, fondant potato and spring greens served with a celeriac veloute, brown shrimp and lemon.

“It’s a dish with bright and fresh flavours. It’s also quite light, moving away from the comfort food of winter.

“We use locally foraged wild garlic from various woodlands throughout Sheffield as it’s easy to come by from the middle of March and throughout April.”

Recipe by Jamie Whiteley -

Roast cod loin recipe:

Ingredients

4 x 200g cod loins

4 x large potatoes ( Russets or something similar )

50g x samphire

200g x fine beans

200g x spring greens

100g x wild garlic

1 x small celeriac

1 x bay leaf

500ml x double cream

250ml x chicken stock

1 x sprig thyme

4 x crushed garlic clove

1 x lemon

20g brown shrimp

Finely chopped parsley

125g x unsalted butter

Herb crust

Finely chopped parsley, thyme and chive

1 x egg yolk

4 x slices white bread turned into breadcrumb

50g x grated Gruyere cheese

Method

For the herb crumb, mix together all the ingredients and roll out between two sheets of greaseproof paper and place in fridge to chill.

Finely dice the celeriac, and sweat off with the bay leaf, without colouring in a little butter.

After a couple of minutes add the double cream. Leave to simmer for 15 minutes or until the celeriac is soft. Place into a liquidiser until you have a smooth cream sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Using a medium size pastry cutter, cut the potatoes into four equal size discs. Place in a pan with the butter, thyme and garlic. Cook until golden brown, then turn over and colour the other side. Then pour in the stock and simmer until cooked through.

Take the herb crust and cut into four rectangles that will fit on top of the cod loins. Brush the cod loin with a little olive oil, season with salt and pepper, place the herb crust on top of the cod, place on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 10 – 12 minutes.

Zest the lemon, finely chop the parsley and mix with the brown shrimp.

Cook the greens, and the beans and the samphire, then toss in a little melted butter, mix in the wild garlic and season with salt and pepper.

To assemble, take four plates/pasta bowl and place the fondants and greens on the plate.

Place the cod on top of the greens, and serve with the sauce. Spoon some of the lemon, parsley and brown shrimp on top of the cod to finish.