Mum’s the word when it comes to influence – as chef Stuart Berry can testify.
His Italian mother-in-law made such an impression on him that he spent much of his life cooking up the authentic taste of her homeland in some of Sheffield’s most popular restaurants.
But in the last four years, it’s his American dad whose influence has prevailed, with the launch of Swanky Frank’s at Woodseats.
Stuart first made his name running the kitchen at Nonna’s on Ecclesall Road, when it opened in 1996.
He was there for nearly four years before taking over the reins as owner and chef at Kito’s in Woodseats.
Kito’s became so popular under his tenure that he began looking for somewhere bigger. But that search made him realise there was no American diner in the Woodseats area – then he and his business partners found just the building only 100 metres up Chesterfield Road.
There are few chefs better qualified than Stuart to give a Steel City shake-up to an all-American classic. His heritage means he has spent years sampling rib dishes in visits to New York and other Stateside cities.
Swanky Frank’s was a hit from the day it opened and Stuart’s kitchen is renowned for its array of flame grilled burgers, steaks, chicken and popular kids’ menu.
He prides himself that everything is freshly prepared, so it’s a military operation to ensure there’s always enough of his renowned BBQ ribs to go round – they take three hours to cook.
Stuart says: “The dish has been a real hit from day one, but what makes it so mouth watering is our secret ingredient: Coca-Cola! It really sets the dish apart and gives it the kind of sweetness you’ll only get at Swanky Frank’s.
“I’ve sampled BBQ ribs all over the States and I’d like to think Woodseats can even show the Yanks a thing or two. In fact we regularly get Americans in and I’ve had some brilliant compliments about them.”
Anyone reading Swanky Frank’s customer reviews will realise Stuart is one of the best in the business.
“We’ve always done our utmost to provide the most authentic American experience possible,” he says.
And to prove the point, the diner has just extended its range of imported beers: “Our guests can now enjoy Barack Obama’s favourite, Goose Island. We’ve also got Brooklyn Lager, San Francisco’s Anchor Steam and more.”
Stuart is sharing his ribs recipe for anyone who wants to give their mum a home-cooked treat on Sunday. Or pop into Swanky Frank’s to sample the real thing! All mums will be treated to a complimentary glass of prosecco on arrival.
Swanky Frank’s BBQ Ribs
INGREDIENTS (serves 2)
2 x 14oz-16oz baby back ribs
1 white onion, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Cajun spices – 1 tblsp for each serving
1/2 litre BBQ sauce
100g jar of honey
Salt and pepper to taste
Pint of Coca-Cola
A dash of olive oil
1. Rub the Cajun spices and olive oil firmly into baby back ribs.
2. Put in a deep tray and place in oven, pre-heated to 150ºC.
3. Cook for five minutes (or until meat starts to go brown).
4. Remove from oven and add the sliced onions and garlic.
5. Put back in oven and cook until onion has browned.
6. Add remaining ingredients, cover with foil, return to the oven and leave for three hours.
7. Take out and check ribs are fully cooked and the meat tender.
Fries or a jacket potato with a corn on the cob are essential to get the true American experience! Grilled tomato and mushrooms add the finishing touch.
This dish is best enjoyed with an ice cold bottle of American beer, such as Budweiser. And don’t forget the serviettes – it can be messy to eat!