Re­mains of the day

Chef skye Gyn­gell on the joy of leftovers – crusts of bread and all. By amy Bryant. Pho­tog­ra­phy by Beth evans

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - CONTENTS -

How Skye Gyn­gell makes a feast of leftovers

‘It’s an idea I’ve har­boured for about 15 years – that food can be a creator of com­mu­nity’

‘You should have seen the menu t wo mont hs ago. It fe at u re d ever y bra s sic a you ca n i mag i ne i n a lmost ever y dish. and la st yea r t here was st r a wb er r y- g at e …’ sk y e Gy ng e l l smiles, recol­lect ing t he glut of f r uit that drove her potty (‘just so many of t hem!’) at spr i ng, her re st aura nt i n som­er­set house. I n a d i ni ng room whose high ceil­ings al­low the morn­ing light to flood across the white-clothed tables and blush-pink ban­quettes, Gyn­gell ser ves dishes t hat cel­e­brate our farm­ing her­itage: there is grilled lamb with as­para­gus and lo­vage; trout from the River Test; Jersey Royal pota­toes – head­lin­ing as a main course – with soft herbs. Yet t he v iew be­yond t he t a ll, f ros­ted-glass win­dows is not of pas­tures or tilled fields but of traf­fic jams over Water­loo Bridge.

It’s a far cr y from Gyn­gell’s for­mer sur­round­ings at Peter­sham Nurs­eries in leafy Rich­mond, south-west lon­don, where she was head chef at its glasshouse-café for seven years from 2004 and won a Miche­lin star (an achieve­ment she has since ad­mit­ted to ru­ing be­cause of the pres­sure it placed on the kitchen). ‘I had a tiny vegetable gar­den which pro­vided the sum to­tal of five or 10 per cent of my pro­duce, but it placed my feet in the soil every day,’ she says. ‘It de­fined my cook­ing be­cause I could see what was grow­ing.’ Be­fore open­ing spring in 2014, within a neo­clas­si­cal build­ing that is mag­nif­i­cent, yes, but un­de­ni­ably con­crete-bound, Gyn­gell felt torn, ‘I re­mem­ber t hink­ing, “I’m mov­ing to the mid­dle of the West end, how am I go­ing to make any con­nec­tion with the land?’’’

she found her an­swer in amer­ica, where leg­enda r y Chez Pa nisse chef alice Wa­ters does in Berke­ley, Cal­i­for­nia, pre­cisely what Gyn­gell dreamed of tr y ing in lon­don WC2. For over 30 ye ar s Wat er s ha s co o ke d a l mo s t ent i r ely wit h fr u it a nd veget able s g rown by Bob Can­nard. ‘I spent time with them both on Bob’s or­ganic farm,’

Pre­heat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4.

Place a pan, large enough to hold all the shanks, over a medium heat. Add a lit­tle olive oil to the pan.

Sea­son the shanks gen­er­ously all over with sea salt and a lit­tle freshly milled black pep­per. Once the pan is hot, add the shanks and brown them well all over.

Once brown, re­move the shanks from the pan and trans­fer to a roast­ing tray. Pour off the fat from the pan, leav­ing any meat juices and de­li­cious sticky bits on the bot­tom, turn the heat down slightly and deglaze the plan with the wine, al­low­ing it to bub­ble and re­duce slightly. Pour the pan juices over the lamb, en­sur­ing it is sub­merged. Scat­ter over the ground fen­nel seeds, oregano or mar­jo­ram, chilli and gar­lic and cover with foil.

Place on the mid­dle shelf of the oven and cook for 20 min­utes then turn down the heat to 170C/gas mark 3½ and cook for a fur­ther 1½ hours, re­mov­ing the foil for the fi­nal 20 min­utes. The meat should be sticky, very ten­der and deeply flavoured. Re­move from the oven. Serve with potato-skin mash and slow-cooked broc­coli stalks. Gyn­gell ex­plains, ‘and saw such amaz­ing ing re­di­ent s com­ing in.’ In­spi­ra­tion, too, came from Love Ap­ple Farms, also in Cal­i­for­nia, where for a decade org a nic pro­duce was g rown ex­clu­sively for t he t hree-miche­lin-star red Ma nr e s a re s t au r a nt . Or ga n ic ve g, grown with a menu firmly in mind and handed over to a chef who sup­ports the farmer with reg­u­lar or­ders and de­cent pay… ‘I came back and thought, I re­ally want to do that.’

Today in the Spring kitchen (bright, clean, calm), the crates of cima di rapa (also known as broc­coli raab, a stalky bun­dle of frothy dark-green leaves) and caulif low­ers, not to men­tion Bar­biepink radishes to be ser ved whole for dip­ping into an­choïade, are the re­sult of Gyn­gell’s vi­sion. They, as well as over 90 per cent of the restau­rant’s fruit and veg­eta­bles, are grown by Fern Ver­row, a 16-acre bio­dy­namic farm in the Black Moun­tains in Here­ford­shire. Hav­ing come across farmer Jane Scot­ter at her mar­ket stall, Gyn­gell ‘ba­si­cally coldca lled her ’, f ully ex pect ing her pro­posal for a di­rect fa r m-to-restau­rant con­tract to be re­buffed. But she was in luck. Scot­ter was fed up with her 15ye a r r out i ne of a F r id ay s ch lep to Lon­don for a 5a m st ar t on Satur­day morn­ing to sell. She and her par tner Harry Ast­ley had been farm­ing for 21 years: ‘We were writ­ing our cook­book a nd felt we had re ached a tu r ni ng point,’ Scot­ter tells me.

Spring now takes ev­ery­thing grown at Fer n Ver row, and chef and fa r mer dis­cuss plant­ing lists and quo­tas reg­u­larly, whether for a batch of baby beet­roots to ser ve raw, more salad leaves grown from her­itage seeds, or slightly le s s so r r e l . The ar r a ng e ment ha s re­duced the farm’s waste by at least 30 per cent: ‘There’s noth­ing com­ing back f rom a mar­ket st a ll dest ined for t he com­post heap.’ As for Spring, ‘It com­pletely steers the menu’, Gyn­gell says. Gluts and ugly veg have their value, too. Forty-odd pounds of leeks, which Scot­ter needs to clear in or­der to redrill the field, a spinach crop hole-punched by hail, or those never-end­ing straw­ber­ries? ‘We star ted to make pick­les and preser ves, then launched our Scratch menu last year,’ Gyn­gell ex­plains.

This £20 set menu uses ev­ery­thing from pea pods to potato peel­ings and is

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.