Happy New Year! I hope you had a great break over Christmas and Santa was good to you.
We had a fantastic family Christmas at home. My son Thomas is two and a half now and is absolutely Santa daft, so he had a great time. I cooked this year for family and friends at ours, and they all enjoyed their dinners – which is a relief! My brother got married on Boxing Day too and the five-tier pork pie he asked for went down well – another relief!
December is such a busy time in the restaurant and everyone in the kitchen and front of house played a big part in making it a great month. I can’t thank the team enough for their commitment and I hope they’re all refreshed and ready to get cracking in 2019.
It’s a great time of year to be a chef. I love fish cooking and the produce we’re getting from Hodgson Fish and Collingwood’s in Hartlepool is stunning at the minute. The cold water definitely brings out the best in the likes of Dover sole, cod and halibut, and the langoustines are top-notch too.
We’re also still getting great produce from Hamish and Vanessa’s allotment in Heaton, and from the brilliant grower Ken Holland. We’re working with all kinds of weird and wonderful beetroots at the moment, while heritage carrots are among my favourite vegetables to work with.
It’s going to be an interesting few months for restaurants up and down the country. Brexit is going to make things tougher, and more than likely more expensive, and chefs are going to need to work as locally as possible to keep great produce on their plates.
We’re lucky to have so many great producers on our doorstep and we’re excited to see what they have for us in the next few months.
There’s a lot to look forward to away from the restaurant too. I’m heading down to Rockliffe Hall’s first food festival in February to team up with my fellow Great British Menu chefs Daniel Fletcher and Danny Parker. It promises to be a lot of fun. Laura and I are also getting married this year, in Rome in May, which is very exciting! See you soon.