A chat with Gordon Smyth: 'Nowadays chefs need to be more versatile and accommodating to clients requirements'
From his grandfather’s butcher shop in Eglinton, Head Chef Gordon Smyth has had quite a journey. His experience both in these islands and across the world has included the opportunity to work under such renowned chefs as Charlie Trotter and Daniel Boulud in America, Marco-Pierre White in London and Tetsuya Wakuda in Sydney. Now, the Edge Restaurant thrives thanks to his innovative genius. We had a chat with Gordon about the new and exciting Edge Restaurant's menu.
Tell us about the concept of cuisine at the Redcastle Hotel
We offer a variety of food options to cater for all of our guests varying tastes using predominately local ingredients and local suppliers.
I would describe our food as modern Irish using our own individual twist.
What makes this menu yours, maybe in a way that’s even more personal to you?
All the menus we write are personal in a sense we are using our years of experience, extensive traveling, leaning different techniques and styles of cooking from working in some of the best kitchens over time. This has given me an opportunity to implement these ideas into our recent menus that are constantly evolving. When we write a menu we are usually never entirely happy initially so we tweak and perhaps change an element or two to improve the dish, this process is on-going.
We are constantly changing our menus to keep up to date with current food trends and work with the best products available each season. We offer daily specials that allow us to experiment with different ingredients and styles of cooking some of which eventually make their way into the new menu.
What's the key to reinvent an already popular menu?
Exceeding the customers’ expectations whether it be a dish from the current menu such as the Spiced Pearl Barley “Wellington”. A classic Beef dish that we have reinvented and one which is suitable for Vegetarians. We cater for a wide variety of dietary requirements each week such as vegans, lactose intolerance and Coeliacs. It is imperative that we research and develop high quality dishes that cater for these dietary requirements yet maintain excellent quality and flavour. I believe nowadays chefs need to be more versatile and accommodating to these guests.
What's the biggest wow for guests?
I enjoy cooking all the dishes when we launch a new menu, there is always a real buzz in the kitchen before the menu goes live. I believe no matter how simple or inexpensive the ingredient is they should all be treated with the same respect always trying to extract as much flavour from each and every ingredient. I particularly enjoy cooking fish especially when its fresh off the boat, cooked very simply, sometimes less is more when it comes to fish!
Is there any dish that you enjoy cooking more than any other?
We try to use local products and suppliers as best we can however if we feel we can get a better product further afield then we will always use the best available. Currently we use a local rapeseed oil only across the water and our local butcher William Doherty who we have built up a good relationship with over the years.
What are the ingredients that you will be focusing on?
We eat first with the eyes. Where do you din inspiration for your elaborate plating and presentation techniques?
First and foremost the ingredients must be fresh coming through the doors then the dishes must be well executed by ours chefs, its only then we can concentrate on the presentation. I think we can easily be led by how some dishes look but more importantly they need to taste great first. I always ask our chefs to taste,taste,taste! I always tell the guys, do the small things right and thorough then plating and presentation becomes easy.
The launch of our new menu has received great feedback so far from our guests and we can see an increase of local clientele also dining throughout the week. Having received one AA Rosette in the last few years, our current goal is to strive for two AA Rosettes.
Where is the Edge's Restaurant moving forward?
Don't miss the opportunity to try the new menu at the Redcastle Hotel. Contact us today!