A chef's diary with Ruth Hansom, April 2017

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 19th April 2017

This year sees us welcome our newest blogger to The Staff Canteen. Young National Chef of the Year 2017 winner, Ruth Hansom, will be giving us a monthly insight into her life as a chef at Michelin-starred the Ritz as well as many other exciting opportunities she is set to experience in the coming year.

For her fourth blog, Ruth talks about judging Springboard's FutureChef National final alongside David Mulcahy and Chantelle Nicholson, helping out Adam Handling during his live demo at ScotHot and cooking over Easter.

spiced bresse duck with grapefruit and pickled mouli salad

Spiced bresse duck with

garnish and grapefruit and

pickled mouli salad

Hope all is well with you guys and you had an amazing Easter, working or not.

So, this month has been a lot more work based. I really love it when the seasons change, it means different weather, new dishes and seasonal ingredients that seem like new discoveries because you've been using those sticks of salsify for what seems like forever!

It's a fun time at work. It means everyone is doing testers and researching for something new to put on the menu.

A few weeks ago one of the sous chefs, Cormac, put spiced bresse duck on the Arts de les table menu. It's a whole roast duck glazed with orange, honey and cider vinegar and spiced with a few special ingredients. It's sent out whole and the breast is removed at the table. It's a very traditional thing and we are one of the last restaurants in London to continue this skill. A few minutes later plates of garnish are sent out full of apricot, Tokyo turnip and jasmine raisins. The legs are sent back to the kitchen to be cooked a little more and adorned with a fresh salad of grapefruit and pickled mouli. If the theatre didn't wow you the flavour will.

Back to some free time. It was role reversal for me in March. I was asked to judge Springboard's FutureChef National final, a competition for under 16’s held at Westminster college. I was joined by Brian Turner, David Mulcahy, Chantelle Nicholson, Lisa Allen and Chris Todiwala to name but a few! Tough crowd for a budding chef! I even felt nervous judging amongst them! But all the competitors were great. I know there's a big problem with the skills shortage at the minute but these guys made the idea seem ludicrous. It's a great initiative. This year over 9,000 students entered and it was won by Katie Cooper who studies at Birmingham college.

>>> Winner of Springboard’s FutureChef 2017 Announced

I also spent a few hours in Scotland, or what seems to be the land of Irn Bru for Scothot. I've never been before and didn't know what to expect. I love the Restaurant Show and Hotelympia so had my doubts. Never the less, it was a really good day. It's a smaller scale compared to the Restaurant Show and Hotelympia so it's easy to see everything and it all seems a bit more friendly. It was also great to see the best of Scotland’s produce. I even ended up helping out Adam Handling for his live demo with The Staff Canteen, although he did ask me to whisk egg whites for his 'never fail soufflé' so I'm still to get him back for that!

>>> The Staff Canteen Live at ScotHot 2017 – Day 1 Sponsored by Westlands

Easter egg

Hand tempered

chocolate egg

So my favourite new try of the month has to be Duck Duck Goose a tiny Cantonese restaurant within Pop Brixton. There are two chefs and two servers and the atmosphere is great. If you go during the evening or for a relaxing lunch you can hear live music in the foyer. If you go you must try the prawn toast, it’s piled high with fresh prawn mouse which you can see the chefs beating up when you place your order, finished with dressed leaves and dry smoked eel shavings - double portion for me please!

As a chef you have to love coffee right? So the London coffee festival in Old Trewman Brewery, Brick Lane was a must! It was really interesting to hear about all the different types of coffee and how things like the machines and the water used can affect it so much. You spend the morning drinking coffee and the afternoon drinking coffee based cocktails, so the evening is spent trying to push your heart back in your chest!

Anyways back to Easter. I worked over the whole weekend and it was such good fun! Sunday lunch was the usual roast sirloin and rib eye, with Yorkshire pudding of course! I get nervous every week, I feel my northern heritage is on the line, luckily they turned out ok. Then a hand tempered chocolate egg made by our pastry chefs and sprayed with gold, because you know, it is the Ritz.

Ruth Hansom
Ruth Hansom

Ruth Hansom is a chef at The Ritz Hotel in London. Ruth is no stranger to competitions having competed in the Young National Chef of the Year contest twice, before winning the 2017 title. Ruth has been at the Ritz for three years where she started out as an apprentice before working her way to become a chef.

Former Springboard FutureChef winner always knew she wanted to be a chef. She was just 15 years old when she came to London and competed in the FutureChef final at Westminster Kingsway College where she later studied.
She became a Craft Guild of Chefs’ Graduate in 2014 and is regarded as ‘one to watch’ in the industry.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 19th April 2017

A chef's diary with Ruth Hansom, April 2017