Mel meets Brasserie Blanc head chef Sid
Mel caught up with Sid, the head chef at Knutsford's popular Brasserie Blanc. Here's what happened-¦.
Hi Sid, so youre the head chef here. How long have you been with the company?
Well I started a long time ago, when we had the Brasserie in Manchester back in 2008. It was at the top of King Street and was originally Le Petit Bistro. When that closed, I relocated to Portsmouth to open a Brasserie Blanc there. Then, from Portsmouth I went up to Leeds where we opened one on the river. I also opened another before coming to Knutsford!
WOW, so you get about a bit! Open a brasserie, move on, open a brasserie move on! Do you like it here in Knutsford?
Yes, it's a nice small town, friendly and quiet.
How long have you been a chef?
Oh, 15 years now.
Right, and still enjoy it?
Definitely, yes. It's the reason I chose this profession.
Where did you train?
Well basically I did my hotel management degree back in India but then I decided to move to the UK to complete my post-graduation here. I ended up in Greenwich and started my career properly. Firstly as an Indian chef because that was what you were taught in India but when I chose to move the UK I decided that Id prefer to learn about European cuisine.
Do you still use any of your Indian training?
Well not the food itself because it's so different but the theory and techniques; general management of course.
What made you want to work for this restaurant brand?
Having worked here for 9-10 years I mostly enjoy the French cooking methods with the freshest produce around. A real focus on freshness. Then we have a range of levels of cooking; from basics to advanced - we try and cook with a range of techniques. It's not Michelin or rosette style, but still on par with fine dining. From scratch using the best. We also change the menu frequently (including our monthly changing set menu) and our specials - so every day is different. Before you know it, well be doing our Christmas menus so there is always something new!
So the specials; what factors decide on these?
Whatever is seasonal, whatever is local at the time; we do some research and decide on that. So each Brasserie Blanc has different specials depending on the chef's choice. So we get to play around with great ingredients every week!
With so much of it fresh and tailored to the area. Do you cater for those with allergies?
Oh yes, we can alter almost all of the menu to the diner. In fact we have an allergy menu for this reason. Everyone should be made welcome and catered for.
What is the most popular dish on your a la carte menu?
Got to be the boeuf bourguignon as a French classic or our fish dishes; in particular the bouillabaisse. It's a very nice homely dish with bags of flavour, local fish - all in all, a perfect brasserie dish.
Away from here, what food do you like to eat?
As food goes, I prepare and eat plenty of Indian food; largely because of the spice and it reminds me of India.
As we all know, Raymond Blanc is the face of the brand. Would you ever consider moving into TV, becoming a celebrity chef?
Sure, why not!
What about Masterchef?
No, not that route at the moment. One day perhaps. One of my seniors from college has been on it recently.
Going back to the awards, are these important to you? Michelin or AA?
Not really, because you have to dedicate everything and it's hard when you have a family. Maybe when Im older, but not right now.
Any tips for budding chefs?
Yes, keep trying. If you make a 100 different mistakes I dont mind because youre going to learn something. Just dont make a mistake if youve ignored advice! Listen, dont ignore.
Posted: Tuesday 2nd May 2017
ID: 4000 - 0