Chef Q&A: head chef at The Plough, Sleapshyde
We spoke to Liam Goldstone at the recently restored 17th century pub and restaurant in the hamlet of Sleapshyde near St Albans
Describe your style
I wouldn’t say I have a particular style; I aim to source the best quality local ingredients and prepare them in such a way in which they speak for themselves.
How do you decide your menu?
The contents of the menu are dictated completely by season.
What local producers do you use?
Bridgette B’s farm at Watton-at-Stone for meat and game. It’s some of the best produce I’ve ever used.
Sparshott Fruiterers of Bricket Wood near St Albans for fruit and veg. I’ve had a long running relationship with them, since I moved to Hertfordshire.
Which menu dish do you most enjoy preparing?
I enjoy working with a full range of ingredients, creating a wide variety of dishes for the menu. If I had to narrow it down, I’d say the butchery and fish prep gives me the most satisfaction.
What ingredient is most important to your cooking?
I love most ingredients but without seasoning they can never reach their full potential. The first thing you’re taught as a chef is to season, taste, season, taste. Seasoning is the most important part of any cooking.
What’s been your best culinary idea?
Unfortunately I can’t claim any great innovations; I just use all of the skills and techniques I have acquired from top chefs to deliver tasty food.
Who did you train under and what did they teach you?
Although I had worked in a few places before, I have to give most of the credit to Phil Thompson who taught me almost every single skill I use on a day-to-day basis. Also through Phil I had the opportunity to work alongside Phil Utz who showed me you can do very high quality food in a pub environment.
Prediction for the next food trend?
Large sharing platters for the whole table, where everyone can interact and get involved.
What’s in your fridge at home?
Three bottles of wine, four bottles of beer, takeaway remnants and an onion.
Favourite quick meal?
I do like a toastie.
Top three tips for amateur cooks?
1. Don’t scrimp on equipment.
2. Practice is everything.
3. Season, taste, season, taste, season, taste!
Larousse Gastronomique and La Repertoire de la Cuisine are the essentials for classic cooking.