Sporting a seemingly obligatory lockdown beard, the normally clean-shaven Steven Edwards has made good use of the enforced hiatus most chefs have faced, using the time to be with his young family and develop recipes for his two restaurants.
“I’m looking at the positives. I hardly ever have time to spend with my family. But I’ve also been using this time to plan and develop to try and make the restaurants even better than before,” says the MasterChef: The Professionals winner, who has been regularly popping into his Hove restaurant Etch to work on recipes.
“It’s a but harder without the kitchen in motion - I’ve got to clear up after myself,” he continues. “I’ve got recipes all over the place so it’s been nice to sit down and go through them all and try and develop my cooking style."
Less than a month before lockdown Edwards launched his first London restaurant in Richmond, south west London. In contrast to his Hove restaurant, Bingham Riverhouse offered a la carte, but it will now offer a tasting menu at both lunch and dinner.
“It’s going to be completely different to what we launched 20 days before lockdown,” he says. “We’re not turning tables so to make the business work we needed a slightly higher spend per head. We’re going to run it like a pop-up."
"Guests can arrive up to an hour before each service to enjoy the riverside views and then we’ll start serving everyone at the same time. We’re going to make it as interactive and normal and possible.”
Both the restaurants open tomorrow (4 July), with his original restaurant Etch benefiting greatly from the Government’s decision to reduce physical distancing from 2m to 1m.
Edwards Downtime Development dish is summer on a plate: Alaska pollock with a tomato-flecked beurre blanc, lettuce and broad beans.
First, Edwards cures the pollock for 30 minutes to season it and remove some of the water thus intensifying the flavour - a technique he uses for all the fish served at his restaurants.
Next he makes the beurre blanc by reducing fish stock and white wine over finely chopped onions (he’d usually use banana shallots, but these proved elusive on the day).
After reducing by a third Edwards adds a splash of cream and gradually adds diced chilled butter to create an emulsion.
To plate the dish Edwards tops the fish with crispy onions before laying it on a bed of lightly cooked lettuce (it must retain its crunch, he says). Finally, the dish is sauced with the beurre blanc and the broad beans are scattered around the fish.
Wild: Fish from Alaska swim wild in the icy Pacific Ocean. This freedom to swim and the fish’s natural diet creates superior taste and texture. Wild Alaska seafood is firmer, fitter and a more vibrant fish.
Natural: Wild Alaska seafood has no artificial colouring, preservatives, pesticides or GMOs. Alaska’s fish live in some of the cleanest waters in the world.
Sustainable: Ticking the sustainable box cannot be easier when buying Alaska seafood. When Alaska was founded in 1959 the Constitution stated that their fish “be utilized, developed and maintained on the sustained yield principle”. In Alaska, “sustainable” applies to the fish, the local communities, the fishermen and women as well as well as the economic return.
Quality: Alaska seafood is a quality product that has some of the best credentials in the world - a product from a clean, wild environment that is respected by the people who fish it. Wild Alaska seafood is frozen within hours of the catch, often while still at sea. This ensures the fresh taste, vitamins and minerals are locked in from sea to plate. Time, temperature, and cleanliness maintain the quality of Alaska seafood.
Nutritious: Absolutely packed with the healthy Omega-3 fatty acid, DHA, which is almost exclusive to seafood and cannot be found in plants, many species of wild Alaska seafood contain exceptionally high Omega-3 levels, which helps to ensure a healthy heart, brain, immune system, vision, nerve cells and gums.
Fit Fish: Alaska fish are an excellent source of lean protein as well as other important vitamins and minerals like amino acids, selenium, Vitamins A, D, B, and vitamins from the B complex group.