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February is here…

We got through January and now we’re on the way to my favourite season, spring! But let’s not forget about the here and now, all be it blustery and wet! All across the fields in Britain, the root vegetables are being pulled up and the spring greens, cabbages and cauliflowers are all showing.

As I write this I am working on pickling some beautiful heritage beetroot, glowing with their amazing colours. The trouble I have is when they’re cooked they lose their radiant glow; so I’m working on a new method! Shaving them like crisps into the preserving jars and running hot pickling solution over the top – all in the hope that they keep their colour and the pickle works its magic!

Another must for the month of February is Yorkshire’s forced rhubarb – truly amazing. I went up to Wakefield last week with Jon, one of our Development Chefs and saw it in all its splendour. Nestled in dark sheds that seemed to go on and on forever, they’re grown in the dark and picked by candle light – truly amazing… so tender and bright Barbie pink. When I tell people we travelled a four hour round trip to see a stick of rhubarb they think I’m mad BUT seeing is believing! Such a simple thing such as Yorkshire rhubarb screams British produce that’s bang in season and at its very best – and I LOVE it!

Our Lex School of Talent chef apprentices are really busy practising for one of their first challenges in their long career; The Lexington and Galvin Challenge Cup. They’re going to be competing against each other at Hotelympia, Excel London on Wednesday 2nd March. They will be producing a seasonal main course and pud in an hour; we want them to really focus on simple cooking with solid techniques and flavours. It’s an honour for me to work alongside the Galvin brothers to bring this raw talent to our Industry and invest in the next generation of rock star chefs!

See you all in March

Eat, sleep, love.

Rob