With a flair for innovation and an unwavering commitment to quality, Chef James has crafted a repertoire of culinary creations to suite the his style of dining experiences. Each dish bearing his signature is steeped in skill & history. In this blog post, we invite you to join us as we explore a selection of Chef James's signature dishes and way they have become so important to him.
James's signature dishes
Lobster Ravioli served with a Thermidor Cream and Dill Oil
This dish combine two of James's big loves, fresh fish & pasta. Having lived by the sea most of his life, James has always been inspired by the local catch. His first position in a kitchen was as a commis chef in a seafood restaurant with one of the first skills his former head chef Alex taught him was how to cook & prepare lobster.
"I remember my first day in the kitchen very well. It was 2 days after my 15th birthday day, I was wearing an old chef jacket my older brother had given me that was 3 sizes too small and a knife roll that my dad had used for many years. The head chef Alex give me two tasks to complete, cleaning mussels & preparing lobster. Alex spent the time with me to show me how to do the job properly, he even showed me this little trick of turning the shell into a butterfly, with blew my mind at the time. I was so slow and nervous, I must have gotten on his and everyone else's nerves! and that was my job every shift for months"
James's love of making pasta comes from his time at the Crown Spa Hotel, which at the time, was the highest rated hotel in the area having been award 4 stars.
"We used to work split shifts at the time, but instead going home I used to hang around in the kitchen with senior chefs on the brigade asking questions or just watching how they worked. The head chef, Gary, asked what I thought we should do with the fish that had come in for the catch of the day special. I suggested ravioli which he seemed to like, He asked if I knew how to make them, which I had to confess I didn't. He gave me a list of ingredients to round up and told me to meet him in the pastry section at 3 o'clock. He tuck the time to show me how to make the dough, make the fillings & how to serve the final dish. I was very grateful for the time he spent with me. From then on it became my job to produce the pasta for all the sections. I used to take my self off to the pastry kitchen every 3 days and make kilos and kilos of pasta of all shapes and sizes. Loved those days!"
The element that marries this dish together is the Thermidor sauce. James's version is lighter than the traditional recipe, with the addition of a lobster & tomato bisque & dill oil into the sauce, giving it a velvety finish and punch of flavour.
'Posh' Mixed Grill - Beef Fillet, Pork Tenderloin, Lamb Cannon served with Squash Puree, Demi-Glace and Pommes Anna
This posh mixed grill, which is Chef at Home's most popular main course, is a celebration of many elements of James life & style of cooking. Here, James has taken the classic mixed grill and evolved & elevated to a standard fit of any fine dining event.
The meat is a selection of James's favourite cuts from beef, pork & lamb, cooked to a perfect melt in the mouth medium rare. Garnished with both pureed and scalloped squash, to bring texture to the plate and a highlight of British crops. accompanied by pommes Anna, heavily influence by one of James's culinary heroes, Escoffier. This dish is all finished with a demi glace sauce, made from reduced red wine & beef stock.
"I'm really proud of this dish and how it has evolved over the years. It's the best of British produce, its full of technique, steeped in history, and it's not shy about being generous. This is me on a plate"
Sticky Toffee Pudding with Candied Dates, Butterscotch Sauce and Clotted Cream*
Chef at Home's most popular dish since opening is rightly on the James's signature dessert. The super indulgent pudding, with that grown up twist accompanied by a deep hearty sauce and rich clotted cream.
"This dish evolved from my time working as a personal chef to in Suffolk. Working exclusively with 1 family every day providing breakfast, lunch & dinner plus food for the household staff & fresher baked goods for the kids pack ups. For the lords meals his brief was pretty simple. 'I don't care what it is, as long as there is Guinness in it'. But once he tried this pudding that is all he wanted and would have it at least 4 nights a week"
On average James cooks over 1000 sticky toffee puddings per year.
"I did try to take it off the menu once, but when the menus went out to the regulars they just requested it anyway! so I've learned my lesson there"
We end our journey here of James's signature dishes, but we hope you begin your journey with Chef at Home soon so you can try them for yourself!
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