Best of British is Back
This year’s Best of British celebrations are already under way and will continue for the next few months. We chat with one of the stars of the programme: visiting English celebrity chef LESLEY WATERS.
Will this be your first time to Singapore? What are your expectations?
I’ve never had the pleasure of visiting Singapore so I’m very excited. I’m looking forward to the whole experience and immersing myself in the city. I have many friends who have visited before and they’ve told me what a vibrant and exciting city it is. I’m also looking forward to working with chef Sunny and meeting all the expat community.
Any favourite local dishes that you’re keen to try?
I’ve been researching classic Singapore dishes and these really caught my eye, so I'll be looking to try them all: roti prata with teh tarik, nasi lemak, char kuay teow and laksa.
And I shall be sampling the satay at breakfast, lunch and dinner as it’s one of my favourite things!
What can Best of British guests expect at your five-course gala dinner?
The dishes will include some of the favourite and most loved recipes from my cookery school in Dorset, including canapes such as cider tempura oysters, baby crab and ginger tarts, and Dorset lamb patties with a classic Cumberland glaze, along with starters like peppercrusted Somerset Capricorn goats’ cheese with a puy lentil dressing – one of my favourites. We will follow it with a wonderful hot smoked salmon with spinach cream, and seared fillet steak steamed in a red wine and balsamic glaze served with a traditional Béarnaise sauce. Pudding will feature chocolate, jellies, rhubarb and cream, with a cheese board and an instant tamarind, date and pear chutney to finish!
And what are some of the tricks of the trade you’ll be teaching in your cooking demo?
Our cook school motto is “Simple is good and good is simple”, and my aim is to offer simple techniques and fresh ideas that guests can take away with them and use at home – for example, there’ll be an unusual black garlic bruschetta, some tasty marinades and a fool-proof method to create a pan-seared gravadlax. Presentation of dishes is also something we’ll cover, and how to prep ahead to make life easy. We will also be showing guests how versatile the dishes are and how they can be used in different ways.
What are your three current favourite ingredients to cook with?
It depends on the season. Currently, we have wild garlic everywhere you look and I love using this for flavour. I also use citrus in many of my dishes – I love the clean fresh taste that it gives. We have a local orchard near the cook school that has developed the most amazing apple balsamic and apple vodka, which I enjoyed in a bowl of borscht the other day.
What piece of kitchen equipment could you not do without?
Sorry, I can’t just say one – it’s the teacher in me! Sharp knives, good non-stick pans and bakeware, and a great pepper mill and I’m a happy woman.
Lesley will feature at the Commonwealth Wine Gala Dinner on 8 June and a Cooking Demo and Lunch on 10 June. This month, don’t miss The Royal Wedding Street Party on 19 May, and stay tuned for further Best of British events later in the year.