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Chef's Special

 
BRINGING the taste of the world to Southport is what Marc Verite, chef director at the Warehouse Brasserie in Southport, likes doing best.

The 37-year-old has travelled far and wide for inspiration, and is proud that his work at the award-winning restaurant is different.

He says: Having dined in many restaurants in the UK, I have often found that menus follow a pattern, no matter where you are.

A lot have a series of standard safe dishes which may differ by one or two ingredients; on the whole, they are not creative enough for me.

I like to change dishes by adding new tastes, flavours and produce inspired by different cultures. I have travelled to many countries and have picked up top tips from foreign chefs along the way.

Marc grew up working in his fathers bakery and he believes it was there he discovered his love for experimenting with food.

The father-of-three says: It was ground into me at an early age to enjoy whatever you work at.

For me, it was cooking, and I have never looked back. I still relish cooking under pressure every day. My father used to say to me You have nothing in life without hard work an ethos I strongly believe in.

Marc studied catering at Southport College and has never looked back. His career has led him to work in Belgium and France, where he mastered the skill of cooking French-based cuisine.

He joined the Warehouse as a second chef when it opened in 1996 and, after only three months, his creative flare and daring earned him head chef status. Twelve years later he is still thrilling palates with his freshly-prepared, locally-sourced, mouth-watering dishes.

I love to experiment, and encourage the lads in the kitchen to do the same. Its the only way to create original ideas as well as perfecting traditional recipes, he says.

People can often be scared of the unfamiliar, but my advice would be to just get going.

This week Marc has chosen a personal favourite from one of his past menu creations to share with Food & Drink. Curried Southport shrimp with raita and mango salad is popular with customers as a light, tasty starter. It is a dish perfect for the spring/summer time.

He says: When the Southport shrimp is on the menu, boy do we know about it. It is the most ordered starter.

The key to this dish is to buy fresh cooked shrimps and use the right blend of aromatics and spices to really bring out their flavour.

I love to cook seafood and fish as it is so versatile. There is so much you can do with it. You can really play and experiment with it to create some amazing tastes, plus it is incredibly healthy.

This is a refreshing, Indian-inspired dish with a spice-infused yoghurt, mint and mango salad, perfectly accompanied by a crisp fresh popadom what are you waiting for?

Curried Southport shrimp with raita and mango salad

Ingredients (serves four): 1 lb fresh Southport shrimp; 1 finely-chopped shallot; 1 tsp cumin; 1 tsp turmeric; chopped coriander; finely-sliced strips of cucumber; strips of fresh mango; chopped fresh mint; 1 red onion, finely-sliced; 1 tbsp Greek yoghurt; knob of butter; cooked popadoms; salt and pepper.

Method: Make the salad by combining the cucumber, mango, red onion and mint.

Add the Greek yoghurt to coat and season with salt and pepper.

Sweat off the chopped shallots, cumin and turmeric in the butter until soft.

Add the shrimps, coat in the spice mix, and season with salt and pepper.

To serve, pile the salad onto the plates and top with the shrimps. Garnish with the fresh coriander and a wedge of lime.

Break up the popadoms and serve separately

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