Chef's Table with The Clock House's Fred Clapperton
PUBLISHED: 13:51 02 October 2017 | UPDATED: 19:35 02 October 2017
Every month we discover what inspires Surrey's top chefs. Here Fred Clapperton, head chef at The Clock House in Ripley, shares his story
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine October 2017
What first inspired you to become a chef?
I have always loved being creative and becoming a chef offered me the chance to use my creativity in all sorts of ways. As well as the flavour of a finished dish, your creativity is needed to present the food and when I am plating, I always like to think of the best way to deliver the flavours in the clearest and most appealing way. Add to this the buzz you get during a busy service – it is like a fuel!
How did you come to be at The Clock House?
I started my career in some great establishments in Nottinghamshire, my home county, and then headed to Cambridgeshire (The Pheasant in Keyston) and Gloucestershire (Bibury Court). Having worked at some one and two AA rosette level restaurants, I wanted to keep pushing myself on to greater things and places where I would be challenged and learn even more. I started to look for a chance to work in a Michelin-starred kitchen, and the opportunity to work at Drake’s came along.
Which achievements are you most proud of?
Stepping up to being head chef at The Clock House was a great challenge. To regain the three AA rosettes within just three months of taking over at the stove was a major boost for all the team here. Most recently, I’m proud that we’ve re-entered the Good Food Guide with a score of five, which is the same as when we were last included as Drake’s.
What’s your ethos?
I hate waste and always try to reduce and minimize it. While it would be a great achievement to be recognised with a Michelin star, it is important to me that I am happy with the food we are producing. We strive to provide our guests with an all-round memorable experience and if that appeals to Michelin as well, then we’ll all be delighted.
Do you have a signature dish?
I don’t really like the term ‘signature dish’ but our new autumn-inspired menu has a beef dish, a new eel dish and a very popular dessert with blackberry, hibiscus, apple and shortbread which all involve the contrasting taste, textures and techniques that I like to present.
How do you source your ingredients?
We like to source locally where possible, and we’ve started to work more closely with Secretts in Milford. In the end, quality is paramount, and we won’t stint on that if a local supplier is not available for the products we need.
Do you still enjoy cooking at home?
I do, and I like cooking a relaxed Sunday lunch for friends – but, as my partner, Tatiana, would tell you, I don’t do it enough!
If you were asked to create the ultimate ‘Surrey’ dish for a banquet?
That’s such a tough one. Surrey offers so much in terms of dairy, meat and game and, of course, some fabulous wines and beers. I really like to ‘eat the seasons’!
• The Clock House, High Street, Ripley, Surrey GU23 6AQ. Tel: 01483 224777. Web: theclockhouserestaurant.co.uk
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