Preparing my favourite dishes and going back to basics

Chefs in fine restaurants worldwide are ever more committed to keeping ingredients local, seasonal, and simple. Three to four well-prepared and carefully plated items are enough to please anyone’s palate and to provide an interesting variety of tastes and textures. Your restaurant should draw upon locally sourced produce picked at the peak of flavor and freshness; local or regional artisanal cheeses; beef, lamb, pork, and chicken (and eggs) from neighboring farms; and the freshest seasonal seafood. Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries are worth waiting for when picked and served in season, and there are many ways to serve them.

Diners themselves have driven this growing movement to fresh and local ingredients. Frozen and processed foods were restaurant staples until customers became more knowledgeable about the food they eat, what it contains (additives), and what it does not contain (nutritional value and flavor). The convenience of frozen food cannot be denied, especially when it may be stored for weeks, but the appearance and flavor of fresh ingredients challenge and inspire the chef you want for your restaurant. Properly handling fresh food in the kitchen requires expert organisation and preparation in order to produce a plate of simple foods with their complex and delicious textures and tastes intact or enhanced.

Preparation and presentation are crucial also. The simplest roast chicken may be paired with a fresh and flavorful vegetable; a local, artisanal cheese may be served with fresh seasonal fruit; lamb from a local farm needs no more than a salad of fresh greens and a vegetable. At Swan at Shakespeare’s Globe, for a fine example, you may choose Onion Tatin, with whipped goat curd and wild herb salad, or Herb Fed Chicken, with black and red quinoa, fennel, caper and wild fennel dressing — and select from a freshly prepared vegetable such as Roasted Heritage Carrots or Potatoes. What ingredients could be more fresh, more simple, and more local? How they are prepared is what makes them extraordinary. If your restaurant is known for its simple and excellent preparation of seasonal and fresh ingredients your customers will return for their personal favorite dishes and your reputation will grow.

For more information on our current dishes.

View our current menus at Swan London:
View our current menus at Swan in West Malling:

About Diccon Wright

Christopher Diccon Wright is a restaurateur and property specialist who has established and grown successful operations in the UK and Mediterranean. He has also worked on a consultancy and advisory basis for a wide range of food and property clients.