Chef Of The Month April 2019: Ben Vandenbrink

Ben Vandenbrink,
The Palatine Morecambe

I moved to Lancaster 14 years ago from Hertfordshire, the usual story, met a girl blah blah blah. Food has always been very important to me, memories that food can stir even more so. Over the past 3 years I have been a self employed relief chef working in some of the best restaurants up and down the country. I recently acquired the lease for the restaurant premises above the Palatine in Morecambe and set about creating a food hub restaurant to raise the profile of food available within the area. So many people do eat out these days and Morecambe deserves something truly special at a price that isn't going to break the bank. Giving local chefs in the area to express themselves on a supper club platform is also important for me both as a chef and a business owner, with colleges scrapping catering courses due to lack of bodies young chefs do not have many fair opportunities to progress and experiment; I want them to feel comfortable to do that here. My ethos is quality over quantity, do less but do it well. That's why I have set up Restaurant 18 North the Palatine.

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Squab pigeon, offal croquet, wild garlic, pomme puree, smoked confit egg yolk.

Remove heart, lungs and inured. Discard intestinal tract separating heart, lungs and onto separate tray. Trim winglets and legs leaving only the crown. Add winglets and legs to oven at 185, retain roasting liquor. Shallow fry offal with 3 tblspoons of red wine, seasoning and 1 teaspoon of soft dark brown sugar and rock salt. Add to retained mash potato, shape croquet and panko crumb, shallow fry until golden. Roast pigeon skin side down with plenty of butter, oven for 8 mins.

Confit yolk 
Mix smoke powder into confit bath, separate yolk from white, add yolks straight into oil confit at 63c holding in a set water bath. 45/50 min cook time

Pomme Puree 
Peel potatoes, cube and set to boil, cook until fluffy and push through mouli, separate 2 tblspoons for the croquet. Add 1/2 cup of cream and 125g of butter and beat until smooth, season to taste and decant into piping bag.

Wild Garlic
Bring to a simmer 1 onion and 1 garlic bulb to 125 ml of cream, add 300g of wild garlic, simmer for 4 mins, blend on highest setting until smooth and vibrant, pass and bottle for plating.

Beurre Blanc
Reduce by half white wine vinegar and wine with peper corns, bay leaf. Add cooking liqour from the pigeon, pass, bring to a simmer, add 100g cubed butter and peas's. Whisk until lightly emulsified.

To Serve
Plate in central zone of the plate using spaces to maximise colour, purees on the plate first, croquet as centre peice with yolk balanced. Carve pigeon 8/9 mins roasting time, place over pomme puree. Sauce with beurre blanc allowing room for garnish. Amaryth (purple) and garlic shoots (greens and white) no more than two of each around the carved bird and croquet.