St Michael's master chef reveals secrets

PUBLISHED: 14:33 03 September 2013 | UPDATED: 14:33 03 September 2013

St Michaels Manor Hotel head chef Perry Butler

St Michaels Manor Hotel head chef Perry Butler

Archant

HAVING proved his mettle as a semi-finalist on Masterchef: The Professionals cooking for some of the leading lights in the culinary world, St Michael's Manor head chef Perry Butler is used to working under pressure.

But he’s also conscious of the need to retain the creative flair which brought him to the attention of Michel Roux Jr and Greg Wallace on the 2011 series of the BBC TV show, and strives to keep the hotel’s menu fresh and exciting.

Perry decides his menu based on the best seasonal produce available locally at any one time.

“The changing ideas and concepts keeps thoughts and inspiration high within the kitchen,” he explained.

“Sparshots are our local vegetable supplier, a family-run business with whom we have gained a great relationship over the years, and Stickleback Fish provide us with fish that has come straight from the coast and the best catches from that day.

“We then create menus and dishes knowing we are working with the best produce available.”

Perry runs a team of 12 in the recently-refurbished, state-of-theart kitchen at St Michael’s Manor, completely changing the threecourse Lake Menu every fortnight to take advantage of new produce becoming available.

“This change creates a great buzz within the kitchen with ideas flying around, and all of our hard work, passion and precision can be clearly found within each dish.”

Perry likes to use abstract and unlikely combinations to create new flavours that keep the palate excited, with one of his most popular dishes the Coffee Encrusted Lamb Rack that wowed the Masterchef judges.

“The dish provides a harmonious combination of flavours ranging from the sweetness of the fresh lamb and the balance from the butterness you get from the coffee infusion. Clearly a match made for each other!”

Perry will be bringing some of his most-popular dishes to the pages of the Herts Advertiser for a new regular column, showing how you can create fine dining dishes in the comforts of your own kitchen.

He added: “Cooking is about passion and commitment. Forgive the pun, but if you’ve got those two ingredients you can do nearly anything!

My dream is that my recipes will give you a head start towards creating professional dishes for your own pleasure, and those of your friends.”

Perry’s top three tips for amateur chefs:

- Use crack black pepper and rock salt, ALWAYS. If you haven’t got grinders, buy some!

- Thyme, rosemary and garlic are great generic flavours that work with almost everything.

- Always check what is in season for the best results with your cooking.”

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