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Gourmet on the Go!

Gourmet on the Go!
When not slaving away with only Twitter and mad dog for company, I occasionally have a 'life.' This usually entails cooking for friends, trying far too many wines, and the occasional entire day out. I will post my ramblings, recipes and recommendations here on the 'Gourmet on the Go' blog. Hope you find something of interest!


October 25, 2010

Chef Profiles: Jonathan Brown – Chef/Patron @ The DuCane

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — gourmet-on-the-go @ 5:06 pm

Jonathan_Brown_The_DucaneWith over 20 year’s professional experience under his belt, Jonathan Brown has worked with some of the biggest names in UK dining.  Following his three year chef training at The Colchester Institute, Jonathan qualified for a two year placement in Germany. 

After returning to our green and pleasant land, Jonathan built upon his skills and experience by working with John Burton Race at The Petit Blanc in Oxford and Raymond Blanc at the Manoir aux Quat Saisons, before moving up the ranks to become Sous Chef at John Burton Race’s restaurant L’Ortolan in Reading.

Having gained experience and knowledge, Jonathan furthered his skills at The Restaurant in London, working under Marco Pierre White, and the Canteen with Richard Neat.

Moving further up North, Jonathan gained his first Michelin Star at The Vermont Hotel in Newcastle, before moving to the Lake Hotel and assisting in making it one of the best Hotels in Scotland.

Next, an adventure working directly with the World Wide Fund for Nature, and the Mantis collection of luxury hotels and lodges, assisting in the training and development of indigenous African workers in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Bazzaruto Archipelago and Zanzibar.

Having returned to Essex, Jonathan was involved in two prestigious Country House Hotels in the county before pursuing his dream and taking over The DuCane as Chef/Proprietor.

Quite an impressive CV, I’m sure you will agree.

The DuCane – Awards

Having only been open for 18 months, The DuCane collected three awards at the 2010 Essex Food and Drink Awards – Best Newcomer Restaurant, Chef/Patron Jonathan Brown won the Essex Chef of the Year and Ian Harris was highly commended in the Chef of the Future category.

Q & A with Jonathan:

What is the driving force, or your ethos behind the DuCane?
I live at The DuCane, so this is my home.  I want to offer customers real hospitality, just like inviting them into my home, making sure my guests are happy and comfortable.  We strive for a benchmark of quality that we perpetuate and constantly to improve upon.  Offering value for money is also very important.

How would you describe your style of cooking?
Good rustic dishes in a contemporary style, created using ingredients from local based suppliers, food that people want to devour.

How do feel about winning THREE awards at this year’s Essex Food and Drink awards?
Surprised and delighted, a fantastic feather in the cap for all my staff and me; a real team effort.

Which chef has generally influenced you most in your career?

During my formative years, I would say Raymond Blanc and John Burton Race influenced me the most.

What advice would you give to anyone starting out on a chef career?

Always go for quality in everything you do – the establishments you choose to work in, the people you work under, personal pride, hygiene, everything.  Also, ask lots of questions and forget about your social life.

What do you most enjoy eating at home?

Roast dinners, stews and soups are my favourites.

Do you have a favourite restaurant in Essex?

We recently visited The Lion Inn in Boreham, and were very impressed.

What are your plans for the future with the DuCane?

To develop the venue to its maximum potential – Staff Training and expand upon the building offering people a lot more space, variety and comfort.  There is also potential for a cookery school in the future.

I would like to thank Jonathan and his team for their very kind hospitality, it was a pleasure to meet you all and of course dine at The DuCane.

October 6, 2010

Essex Food and Drink Awards 2010 Results – The Winners are…

Filed under: Celebrations & Events — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — gourmet-on-the-go @ 12:09 pm

The Essex Food and Drink Awards 2010 ResultsAt last, after many months of customer votes, careful judging and much organisation, the Essex Chronicle, Essex Food and Drink Awards reached its finale at Braxted Park in Witham last night.

It was a joy to attend the awards evening and celebrate the rich diversity and exceptionally high standards of food and drink businesses situated in Essex. 

All of the finalists were brought there by the backing of their customers, which in itself is an unbeatable accolade.  However, there could only be one winner for each category, and in the end the final decision rested with the judging panel and each individual sponsor.

The results are as follows:

Chef of the Future
Tom Booton, Le Talbooth, Dedham

Baker of the Year
Humes, Halstead

Best Hotel Restaurant
Prested Hall, Feering

Best Traditional Pub
Axe and Compasses, Arkesden, nr Saffron Walden

Large Restaurant of the Year
Masons, Brentwood

Small Restaurant of the Year
Contented Sole, Burnham on Crouch
Highly Commended – Maldon Tandoori, Maldon

Best Newcomer Restaurant
The Du Cane, Great Braxted

Chef of the Year
Jonathan Brown, The Du Cane, Great Braxted

Best Essex Retail Product
Fairfields, Farm Crisps, Wormingford, Colchester

Best Farm Shop
Calcott Hall Farm, Brentwood

Best Gastro Pub
Swan, Felsted

Best Restaurant Service
Blue Strawberry, Hatfield Peverel.

 The evening was expertly hosted by Etholle George from BBC Essex and Alan Geere, editor and chief of The Essex Chronicle.  Much, much praise is deserved to Ann Pocock who seamlessly organised this event and has made it the success it is. A fabulous evening was had by all.

Much thanks to Linda (@goodshoeday), Danny (@FoodUrchin) and Steve (@revealseo) for coming down to these here Essex parts, supporting the event and being such fabulous company!  Sorry, no refunds will be given ;)

Photographs and a full write up will be available on the Essex Chronicle website soon…

Cannot wait for next year!

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