Q&A with Head Chef, James Finch
6th April 2017
We catch up with The Westleton Crown’s Head Chef, James Finch, to find out everything you need to know about spring ingredients and dishes.
What is your favourite ingredient for spring time?
My favourite ingredient for this season is wild garlic, nice strong garlic flavour green leaves! The season for wild garlic leaves is short, they’re gone by June so I try to make the most of this ingredient while I can. Not only is wild garlic delicious, it is also extremely good for you which is a bonus, so even more reason to incorporate it in those spring dishes, like we needed another reason anyway!
What are the three ingredients that you couldn’t cook without?
Salted butter, garlic and herbs!
What would you say the most underrated ingredient is?
Eggs because without eggs we would be without a lot of food dishes.
What is your signature dish, at this time of year?
Blythburgh pork always features on our menu at The Westleton Crown throughout the year. Blythburgh pork is locally sourced and free ranged which is even bigger reason to love it! is only 8 miles away from The Westleton Crown restaurant. Currently pork fillet and cheek is my signature dish.
Pork tenderloin and cheek
What food trends are you seeing this season?
Fish, this is selling very well on our a la carte menu so far this season.
Do you source as much local produce as possible and does this have a big impact on the menu?
As I am a local boy, my focus is using as much local produce as I can. Local produce allows me to be creative with the menu as it is based on the season, and I love creating the menu based on looking at ingredients I can get my hands on locally. Many people may think that local food stops at fruit and vegetables, but this is not the case. Poultry, beef and pork are available all year round, along with honey and dairy products. I think it is my duty to give our customers at The Westleton Crown a picture of the local produce, I think it’s expected and rightly so!
What is your favourite food combination?
Duck, cherry and honey. They work brilliantly together and deliver such a mouth-watering taste.
Can you sum up your culinary style throughout this season in 3 words?
Fresh, local, tasty! Actually, that is my culinary style throughout the year, it is what helps me create the delicious dishes that feature on our menu.
Head Chef, James Finch
What ingredients can we expect to see next season?
Broad beans, runner beans, fresh peas, gooseberries and blueberries, some of my favourites. I am looking forward to experimenting with these next season to see what dishes I can create.
Could you give us a simple recipe that is perfect for spring time?
Sauté purple sprouting broccoli, radish and spring onions with wild garlic butter. This is a delicious vegetable side that will work with fish or meat, it would even be great served on its own as a light lunch. I serve this is in the restaurant with grilled pork steaks or roasted cod fillet. Both go down a treat and shows off some lovely seasonal vegetables.
1kg of purple sprouting broccoli, prepped and blanched
1 bunch of breakfast radishes, topped and tailed
2 bunches of spring onions, trimmed and the root taken off
100g wild garlic leaves, finely sliced length ways
100g salted butter
Salt and pepper
1. Heat a large frying pan on a medium heat, add 2 table spoons of vegetable or rape seed oil
2. Add purple sprouting broccoli, radishes and spring onions, sauté in the pan until tender
3. Add the butter and the wild garlic leaves, continue cooking for 1 – 2 minuets
4. Season to your taste and then serve