Last Thursday I had a star-studded day, Michelin Star that is! In the morning I met up with Mark Dodson of the Mason’s Arms in Knowstone to talk about his career, the restaurant and his plans for the future.
Mark is a familiar face on the Devon food and drink scene, he has made appearances at the Exeter Food & Drink Festival, and more recently helped judge and support the Petroc Chef of the Year competition. I’ve been lucky enough to have eaten at the Mason’s Arms a few times as well as attend their excellent masterclasses. Our interview with Mark will be featured on the A Taste of Devon website in the next few weeks.
In the evening I attended the Theatre Kitchen event which had been organised by Devon Life Magazine, the event featured food and drink from Posh Nosh, The Tiny Marmalade and Sylvain Peltier’s Little French Cakes. The highlight of the evening was the demonstration by 2 star Michelin Chef Michael Caines MBE, who cooked Pan Fried Scallops served with a variety of sauces and emulsions, a Wild Mushroom Risotto and an incredible sous-vide and pan-seared Chicken Breast, stuffed with tarragon and served with a truffle pomme-puree and baby vegetables. Attendees were fortunate enough to be able to try these amazing dishes, my personal favourite was the pomme puree, and I’m now hunting down the appropriate truffle oil to try and recreate this dish at home.
The evening was thoroughly enjoyable and Michael is a joy to watch, offering helpful advice and anecdotes as he cooked. One of his recommendations, which I shall certainly be trying, is using mushroom trimmings to make puree, simply take your stalks and leftovers and sweat down with shallots before blending. The puree can be frozen for up to 3 months and adds a new depth of flavour to risottos and sauces.
What chefs have you met that have inspired you? Let me know in the comments as I’d love to hear from you.