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Stir it up magazine AUGUST 2017

AUGUST 2017 37 LEADING LIGHTS As a restaurateur presenting Channel 4’s Tricks of the Restaurant Trade, what’s the best ‘trick’ you’ve come across? Upselling is one the greatest things restaurants can do, as long as it’s done well. It’s about making it fun and not forcing something down your throat. Diners appreciate getting really good advice and recommendations but you have to train your staff properly. Knowledgeable staff make all the difference. And now f or three quest ions that we ask all o f our Leading Lights… 1. What are your three kitchen secrets? i) Always make sure your protein is at room temperature before you cook it. ii) Acidity can save many dishes (but not cream-based). If your dish tastes bland, add a teaspoon of any kind of vinegar and it will bring it to life and stimulate the tastebuds. iii) You don’t need to spend hours peeling butternut squash. Roast it with the skin on and eat the whole thing – it’s delicious. 2. What is your favourite ingredient and why? Rose water – it’s amazing with anything containing red fruits or with grains like quinoa and cous cous. One spoonful magically lifts the dish but no one can work out what it is. 3. Please could you share your favourite recipe, along with your reasons for choosing it? I love chicken thighs. The meat has so much more flavour and texture than breast. And they love a good massage with a succulent marinade. This dish is dead simple but delicious. Splitting the marinade in half is really interesting. One half gets cooked with the chicken whilst the other stays raw. So when you eat it you know the two flavours are related but they have a distinct difference. Think of it like being at a family party - you can tell you’re related to most of the people but you don’t look exactly alike! Ingredients 12 x skinless and boneless chicken thighs 6 plum tomatoes, cut into quarters 300g cooked brown rice 6 finely chopped spring onions Parmesan, finely grated to garnish We were lucky with the location in a part of Manchester that was becoming quite cool. There wasn’t the competition that there is today and customers were nowhere near as sophisticated. It was a lot of luck, hard work and a lot of joy. Chicken Thighs with Marinated Tomatoes Marinade 250ml extra virgin olive oil 3 cloves garlic 50g soft dark brown sugar Zest and juice of 1 lemon 15g sea salt 15g smoked paprika 30ml sherry vinegar 30g finely chopped rosemary 5g turmeric Method 1. Marinade – mix it all together, then divide into two bowls. 2. Put chicken in one and tomatoes in the other. Cover and leave both overnight. 3. Next day take the chicken out of the marinade and roast at 200°C for about 20 minutes. 4. Mix the onions with the rice. 5. Serve tomatoes and marinade on top of the rice, then chicken, garnish with cheese. Photo credit: John Carey


Stir it up magazine AUGUST 2017
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