Chef's Table with The Tudor Room's Douglas Balish
PUBLISHED: 06:34 23 May 2017
In the first of a new series where we'll discover what inspires Surrey's top chefs, we meet Douglas Balish, head chef at the Michelin starred The Tudor Room restaurant at Great Fosters, in Egham
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine May 2017
What first inspired you to become a chef?
I always had an obsession with food from a very early age but it never crossed my mind to become a chef. I had planned to go to university and study psychology but after a summer job in a local pub I couldn’t see myself doing anything other than working in a kitchen.
Tell us about your proudest achievements so far…
Being awarded a Michelin star is obviously something I would never have dreamt of back when I was 19 and microwaving frozen chocolate cakes in the pub kitchen! On a smaller but no less significant scale, I cooked for my grandparents when I was still living in Scotland. My grandfather was so overwhelmed that he cried.
What’s your ethos at The Tudor Room?
We try to make every day better than the previous one. We use seasonal produce and source the best ingredients which speak for themselves. It’s certainly not about chasing awards, although if they come along then it’s a bonus.
Do you have a signature dish?
Currently it’s langoustine tea, which is a consommé of langoustine infused with Thai aromas served over langoustines that arrive live from Scotland. There are three or four other dishes, which we would happily return to the menu depending on the time of year.
How do you source your ingredients?
We grow a lot of our own produce in the spring/summer and have been experimenting with hot beds to take us into autumn. I am always on the lookout for new suppliers with amazing produce and recently found someone to grow asparagus for us.
Do you still enjoy cooking at home?
I love cooking at home, although I rarely have time to. Sometimes it’s great to cook food that you want but wouldn’t be serving in a fine dining restaurant – a good roast chicken or stir fry perhaps.
Finally, if you had to create the ultimate ‘Surrey’ dish for a banquet, what would it be…
I think it would have to be Surrey venison wellington served with a red wine sauce made from Denbies’ Pinot Noir.
The Tudor Room at Great Fosters,Stroude Road, Egham, Surrey TW20 9UR. Tel: 01784 433822. Web: greatfosters.co.uk
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