Somerset Food Heroes - Deruke Tee at Martock's Ash House Hotel
PUBLISHED: 16:59 20 March 2013 | UPDATED: 21:13 05 April 2013
Training as a chef within the military, the new head chef at Martock's Ash House shares some of his ideas of food heaven and food hell - and his tip for the big thing in 2013
Training as a chef within the military, the new head chef at Martocks Ash House shares some of his ideas of food heaven and food hell - and his tip for the big thing in 2013
Martocks Ash House Hotel opened its kitchens to new head chef Deruke Tee in December 2012 and he has been busy making it and its menu his own.
A professional chef for 14 years, Deruke trained through the RAC officers mess under regimental master chefs, working through the hierarchy of 40-plus chefs from demi commis to becoming chef de cuisine.
He left the military environment to join multi-award winning hotels through out the New Forest and was head chef of The Greyhound Inn, Sydling St Nicholas, where he gained Dorsets dining pub for two consecutive years and their first AA rosette within three years.
He left to open restaurant Left Bank on the old harbour in Weymouth for the 2012 sailing Olympics which became one of the UKs critically acclaimed seafood restaurants.
How would you describe your food style?
My style is traditional British with modern know-how. I allow flavours to speak for themselves with thoughtful inventive accompaniments to promote the main ingredient.
Who has been your greatest food influence?
My ideas of food change all the time, always refining and cleaning up dishes. Modern British cuisine is ranked amongst the best in the world and helped by tv shows like The Great British Menu. If I had to choose chefs who consistantly influence me they would have to be Thomas Keller, Charley Trotter and Gordon Ramsay (unfortunately none of whom now cook at the stove). I have been lucky enough to have worked with many gifted chefs and have knowledge from each to move my own ideas forward.
How important is seasonality in your menu?
Seasonality rules my kitchen. I am always amazed by food heroes in the locality who focus on a single ingredient and produce the best possible. Obviously for certain ingredients there are limitations but as our climate is warming we are even seeing the possibility of kiwis being grown here. This year we are planting produce and even researching the option of keeping pigs at Ash House.
What is your favourite flavour of Somerset?
Cheese, we are lucky here in Somerset with so many artisan cheese makers, many of whom are world class and gain global recognition (more regional cheese than France!).
What ingredient couldnt you do without?
The key to a lot of my cooking is stocks and sauce work, at times taking days to render or reduce. A real labour of love as they have to be constantly maintained and clarified. Base flavours are always key to building a full flavoured dish so classic techniques are always used.
What was your most memorable meal?
Last year I was lucky enough to have Claire Smyth cook for me at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay at Royal Hospital Road. Claire having three Michelin stars and worthy of her Chef of the Year Award. I dined on the seasonal and prestige menus; culinary masterpieces. The most inspiring part of dining there was the surprising lack of pretension, not what I expected at the extreme end of formal dining.
Why did you become a chef?
Chef is something you are born to do, in some cases a curse as curiosity of ingredients is always there but the majority of time a life long hobby turned profession.
What is your food heaven?
Food heaven for me is tasting menus. With the ability to graze through a chefs palate trying all varieties of flavour combinations and techniques. If the menu consists of foie gras, shellfish, game and, of course cheese,... Im hooked.
What is your idea of food hell?
Food hell is definately mass production. This genuinely spooks me. From ready meals to fast food chains. Tending to mask or change the main ingredient to something unidentifiable is completely against my ethos.
Whats going to be big in 2013?
Beef belly - as we have seen the rise of people appreciating the fat content of the ribeye and more matured beef this cut has the best of both worlds.
Chervil root will replace ingredients like parsnips through warmer months and is very versatile. Monkfish liver, with the richness and texture of foie gras. I have served so much in the past year with more making its way into the kitchens from local landings, superb.
Ash House Hotel
41 Main Street
Martock TA12 6PB
01935 822 036