Chef Of The Month February 2017: Hrishikesh Desai

Hrishikesh Desai ,
Gilpin Hotel & Lake House

"Most importantly for me, there is freshness, refinement and zing in every dish'' - Desai


Gilpins Executive Chef, Hrishikesh Desai, has been awarded his first Michelin Star for the renowned Lake District Hotel.  Winner of Alex Polizzis  BBC2 Chefs on Trial, his background includes Institute Paul Bocuse, Les Maison de Bricourt (2*), Le Chateau do Bagnol (1*), French Laundry (3*), and Lucknam The Park (1*). He is one of the few chefs to have won both the Roux Scholarship (2009) and the Craft Guild of Chefs National Chef of the Year (2010), unique in that he won these in consecutive years, and one of a handful of chefs to have won both awards as well as a Michelin Star.


Desai says: "There are many dishes which are based on my childhood memories of food...this is how I approach creating new menus at Gilpin, always using the finest local produce, but adding my own twist''


With a fascinating history as a centre of the spice trade, Cumbrian cuisine has a rich heritage, and local specialities have long included exotic spices with favourites such as Cumberland sausage, potted shrimps, Grasmere gingerbread, and of course, sticky toffee pudding. At Gilpin this Autumn there will be two restaurants celebrating this tradition.


Hrishi - The re-named restaurant where Desais imaginative dishes combine great Lake District produce and classic methods to deliver modern British dishes with a twist of Asia: unbelievable textures and flavours that satisfy traditionalists while giving experimentalists something new. Dishes include:


Ceviche of Kyle of Lochalsh Scallops

Chilli Glazed Poached Lobster

Roast Breast of Goosnargh Duck

Loin of Spring Lamb with Masala Sauce

Baked Passionfruit Cream

Peanut Butter Semifreddo

Gilpin Spice - Opened November 2016, a new informal restaurant with an funky décor and an open kitchen transcending international boundaries, focussing on a more informal menu with sharing dishes from the spice trail spanning the Indian sub-continent, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan and China. The spices are sourced personally by Desai from around the world.




For the belly

Take the rib and skin off the pork belly. Trim as much possible the muscle to have an even surface. Scour the meat in criss cross fashion but not too deep. Cut the rib bones and the trimmed muscle into small pieces. Place the trimmed muscle and bones in an oven at 180 degree C and caramelise until dark golden for preparing the sauce.

For the spice mix

10gm  Dark brown sugar

10gm Chinese five spice

5gm Dried Oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

Method: Mix the above ingredients apart from the salt and pepper in a bowl. Sprinkle salt and black pepper as per taste over the scoured muscle of the pork belly. Then sprinkle the spice mix over and rub until all the mix is dissolved. Then roll the belly and tie with a butchers string. Allow to marinate for 24 hours.


Once the pork is marinated place in a vacuum pack bag and seal tight. Cook in an immersion water bath or a circulator at 72degree C for 12 hours. Once cooked allow to cool in an ice bath. To reheat the pork belly place in the water bath or circulator at 52degree C until you BBQ is ready.

For the sauce

Take the caramelised bones and muscle trimmings and place in a wide base pan with some oil. Start sweating on a high heat for 2 minutes. Then add 1/2 peeled and finely chopped carrot, 1 peeled and finely chopped onion, 1 stick finely chopped celery, 1/4th washed and finely chopped leek, 6 coarsely crushed cloves of garlic, 8black pepper corns, 1 bay leaf, 16sprigs of thyme, 8gms chinese five spice, 4 sticks of crushed and finely chopped lemon grass, 12gms peeled and finely chopped ginger to the bones and trimmings. Sweat over a medium high heat until all the vegetables are partly cooked. This will take continuous stirring for at least 5 minutes. Then deglaze with 250ml of cooking white wine and reduce to a glaze. Finally add 350gms of beef stock, 125gms water and bring the whole mixture to a boil. Hold the boil for 3 minutes, skim as much as possible then reduce the heat to a rolling simmer. Cover the pan with tin foil or lid and cook the sauce for 45 minutes over a simmer. 

Once the time is up then remove the sauce and pass through a fine mesh strainer, do it twice to ensure clarity. If the sauce is to thin then reduce to the desired consistency, skim as much as possible and pass through a strainer one last time. Keep hot.

For the rotisserie

Skewer the pork belly and place over the rotisserie and cook on a medium high hot charcoals until it is golden brown from all the sides. The fat should drip over the coals to give a flame and smoky aroma. The meat should be very soft to touch. Allow to rest, then remove the butchers string with the help of the scissors and then carve the meat. Serve with vegetables and very hot pork sauce.