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Stir it up magazine October 2014

LEADING LIGHT How, when and where did you start your career? A really young age – I excelled in practical things like home economics and art as I felt that it gave me some of confidence. I worked in a local restaurant from the age of 15 and attended Lancaster and Morecambe College. I tried to do as much work experience as I could, even unpaid, just so that I could see what a working kitchen was like. What attracted you to becoming a chef? The creativity that you can have within the industry. I have also been on an incredible journey and met loads of new people. How has your career grown over the years? In the early stages of my career it grew vastly, from determination, hard work and passion. I have gone from college to working in a 1 Michelin star restaurant, to doing a year as a commis in a 2 Michelin star restaurant; then coming to Northcote as demi chef de partie – this was at the age of 20. By the age of 23 I had progressed to head chef. You are an inspiration to so many young chefs. But who were your early inspirations when you started and who excites you now? Family at home have pushed me and backed me through all my career. David Everitt-Matthias, Le Champignon Sauvage, Cheltenham, was a huge inspiration when I worked for a year with him. His philosophy on food, flair and natural ability is phenomenal. Angela Hartnett and other female chefs out there are also an inspiration, it shows just what determination and hard work leads to. Nigel Haworth – he has pushed me for the past 13 years at Northcote and I love the commitment he has to the industry and what he does for it. What has been the highlight of your career so far? Cooking for Prince Charles in the Great British Menu final has been a huge highlight of my career. Also, being head chef at a Michelin star restaurant at the age of 23. How many covers do you average on a week? Around 650. How do you create your menus? Loads of different ways. If I see something that inspires me, ingredients that I see, different textures that I hear about or even just sitting down with the brigade and bouncing ideas off each other and expanding on them. What is your favourite ingredient and why? This is difficult as I have different favourites for each season, which is what we do at Northcote. I find that each ingredient is perfect for different things. But it’s hard to pick out a favourite. Please could you share your favourite recipe, along with your reasons for choosing it. Yorkshire Rhubarb and Custard with Shortbread Crumble. Amazing flavours. Finally what advice would you offer to aspiring chefs? Be a sponge and absorb everything around you. Don’t be afraid of hard work – time, hard work and determination pays off in the end. What you put into something is what you get out at the end. It’s a big world out there with lots of culinary challenges – it’s a great career to be in. Lisa chose her favourite recipe for its “amazing flavours” Dress with sugar strands to create a stunning dessert Lisa’s Yorkshire Rhubarb & Custard Ingredients For the poached rhubarb: 200g rhubarb For the custard: 100g orange juice 1 pint milk 100g sugar 1 pint cream For the rhubarb jelly: 200g sugar 300g juiced rhubarb 250g egg yolk 50g stock syrup 2 vanilla pod Citric acid For the shortbread: For the ginger granite: 250g cold butter 450g sparkling water 200g sugar 35g lemon juice 50g milk powder 40g grated ginger 15g salt 100g stock syrup 200g egg yolks ½ gelatin leaf 500g plain flour For the dipping: 20g baking powder 100g cocoa butter 1tsp ground ginger 100g white chocolate 1 vanilla pod 30g grated ginger Method For the shortbread: 1. In the kitchen aid, cream together butter, sugar, milk powder, vanilla seeds and salt until incorporated. 2. Slowly add egg yolks, make sure to scrape down the sides. 3. On a low speed, add flour, ground ginger and baking powder until just combined. 4. On a lightly floured bench, roll out the dough to 6cm thick, refrigerate for 3 hours. 5. Pre-heat oven to 150°C. 6. Transfer to trays with parchment. 7. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown. 8. Let cool on a wire rack. For the custard: 1. In a pan bring milk, cream and scraped vanilla pod to the boil. 2. In a bowl mix together egg yolk and sugar, pour the cream mix over the egg mix and whisk together 3. Pour back into the pan and cook slowly until it reaches 83°C, pour through a chinoise into a gastro and put in the fridge to cool. For the poached rhubarb: 1. Cut the rhubarb in 5cm long bits, line up in a medium vac pac bag and fill with approximately 300ml stock syrup. 2. Vac Pac and steam on 100°C for approximately 8 mins. 3. Cool down in the fridge. For the rhubarb jelly: 1. Boil the juice and stock syrup, taste with citric acid. 2. Set with 1½ leaf gelatin to 300ml liquid For the ginger granite: 1. Soak the gelatin. Put the rest in a pan and bring to the boil. 2. Add the gelatin. 3. Cling film and leave until cold. 4. Pass and freeze. For the dipping: 1. Put the cocoa butter and ginger in a bowl. 2. Put over a water bath and melt. 3. When warm, pass over the chocolate and incorporate. Lisa Allen with her team at Michelin-starred Northcote in Lancashire OCTOBER 2014 41


Stir it up magazine October 2014
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