In May 2021, The White Horse and Griffin were delighted to welcome a new Chef’s brigade formerly from Robin Hood’s Bay restaurant the Bramblewick Fish and Grill. We took the opportunity to chat to Mike, Head Chef, to find out a bit more about him.
- What’s your first memory of your love for cooking?
Mum and Dad ate at Franco’s pizzeria in Ripon a lot and Franco got me running round helping in-between courses and gave me a fiver for helping. I got a job washing up there while still at school.
- Where and how were you trained?
My experience started at Frankos where I worked my way up through the kitchen. I ran The Fylingdales Inn 12 years ago which was a gastro pub. There I learnt from trial and error, creating food we like to eat.
- What are your favourite things to do in Whitby?
Walking the dog on the beach with the family. I love gardening, and grow a lot of my own herbs. I make pickles and chutneys from fruit like gooseberries, rhubarb, plumbs, apples, fennel which I grow myself. I currently have chervil and lovage growing on the windowsill about ready to go into one of my herb beds. I love wine, particularly red Château Musar.
- Which chef do you most admire and why?
Raymond Blanc – a lot of my recipes are based on his but tweaked according to what’s achievable in our working environment. For example, my parfait recipe is based on his but adjusted to how I like it to taste. Raymond Blanc also has his own big herb garden and restaurant garden which I can relate to.
I also hugely admire Michel Roux Jr. because he is a classic French chef. I am lucky enough to have eaten both of their food.
- Who is your biggest supporter?
- What is your biggest professional achievement?
I’ve trained two apprentices, one is still working with me in the kitchen as a sous chef and the other worked at the Star Inn The Harbour before becoming sous chef at Raithwaite Hall. It’s been very gratifying developing their love of food. Day to day, hearing nice feedback from the customers about the food – it’s good to get the reassurance that we’re serving good stuff.
- What’s your favourite cuisine to cook?
Classically where I can, using the classic fundamental techniques to produce our dishes. Even though I was trained by Italians I do like the more classic French.
- Describe your style of cuisine:
Classical, unfussy, fresh, flavoursome and seasonal.
- How important is it to you to source your ingredients locally?
I’m big on day boat fishing and prefer to get our fish from small vessels. We have come to the conclusion that it’s the best way to keep the sea sustainable. A skipper and mate go out fishing and land it back the same day. It’s as fresh as can be, and doesn’t come from massive factory ships which wreck our seas. What is available at market is what we use.
- What do you think is the most challenging ingredient to work with?
My attitude is… it’s only difficult because you don’t know what you’re doing! It’s all about trial and error. Octopus is an ingredient we eventually worked out after trial and error, we needed to sous-vide it overnight at a low and steady temperature which then made it softer, juicy and delicious.
- Do you cook at home?
I have a lot during the last 7 months! I make a mean spaghetti bolognaise.
- What do you hope to bring to the White Horse and Griffin?
20 plus years of experience and the opportunity to be able to put into practice what I have been doing for the last five years on a slightly larger scale in Whitby.