What does your new role at The Stafford involve?
I’m working very closely with Jozef (Rogulski, The Stafford’s executive chef) to develop The the menu at The Game Bird as much as we can. The brief is quite simple, we’re looking to celebrate the best of the British Isles has to offer in terms of produce. What we’re doing is not complicated, it’s tasty food with a few twists here and there. I’m bringing down some of the techniques we use at Northcote (which holds a Michelin star) to try and elevate things a little. I’m in the kitchen there on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Will you be bringing down some of the produce you use at Northcote too?
Yes. Lake District Farmers is one we’re now using in London. We’ve actually swapped some suppliers, in the sense that I’m now using some of Jozef’s London-based suppliers at Northcote.
The menu seems to have got more hearty, is it fair to say it’s become a little more northern in flavour?
Yeah I’d say so. I like traditional, tasty things. Our Gala pie is a good example of that. Everybody loves a pork pie. We take that humble snack and turn it into something that’s a bit more refined but still delicious. We form layers of pressed pork with jelly on the top and top it with grated pastry, beer onions and brown sauce.
What else is on the menu?
Atop the menu we have a selection of oysters, smoked salmon, and Exmoor Caviar, which we serve on homemade crumpets. Moving on to starters proper, we have crispy day boat turbot with warm tartar sauce, lemon and parsley; and Lancashire beetroot with frozen goat’s cheese and roasted hazelnuts. Mains include Dover sole with potted Southport shrimps and sea herbs; English onion risotto with sour cream and parsley; and steak and ale steamed suet pudding. Desserts include blackcurrant crumble soufflé with liquorice ice cream and crêpes suzette, which we flame tableside.
How are things at Northcote at the moment?
We’ve done really well since we have been allowed to reopen and we’re pushing on. In fact, we’re looking at some expansion projects over the next couple of years. We’ve massively benefited from the boom in staycations. People have been coming out of the cities and exploring the countryside a bit more. The lack of international tourists hasn’t been a huge issue for us as the majority of our visitors are either local or UK based, only about 5% of our guests are from abroad. That said, Northcote now being part of The Stafford Collection will soon increase our number of visitors from overseas as we’re able to cross promote. The Stafford is much more reliant on guests from overseas - especially the US - and they are now starting to come back in significant numbers.
Have you worked in London before?
I’ve done a few stages and other bits but I’ve never worked in London for a significant period. I’m a bit of a country girl at heart so I’ve typically stayed away from the big cities. That said, I’m enjoying it. It’s a magnificent city and The Stafford is a beautiful hotel. Equally it’s nice to come back up to Lancashire and see a bit of greenery. I’ve been head down as I only started quite recently but I plan to start checking out some other restaurants soon.