A competition from Meadowland Professional has seen Michelin-starred chef Phil Howard mentor young chef Joshua Dallaway, aged 22 from the Jackdaw Jazz Café in Hackney.
The Butter Me Up contest crowned Dallaway winner after challenging the entrants to create a dish containing Meadowland, a product made with vegetable oil and buttermilk that performs in the same way as butter, but is sold at a more competitive price.
As part of the mentoring prize, Howard has now offered much advice to Dallaway, including that chefs should continually innovate to keep things simple and fresh.
The Square chef also analysed several of Dallaway's usual restaurant dishes to help improve them, and understand why they were popular. He highlighted the chef's gnocchi with chanterelles, shallot purée and chickweed dish as a particularly good example of a bestseller, but advised Dallaway to use more sauces to bring his dishes together.
Howard said: "Joshua has been changing his menu on a weekly basis, driven by seasonal ingredients from his suppliers. It's really important to innovate and keep things fresh, but equally every menu should have a few core dishes or specialities. Humans are creatures of habit and we want to be fulfilled when we eat. There's a reason that Joshua's best-selling dish is gnocchi - it's nourishing, enjoyable and delicious. He should capitalise on it by making it a feature dish on the menu."
Dallaway said he greatly admired Howard, and had found the mentoring very valuable.
He said: " I'm feeling really inspired after the day I spent with Phil Howard], thanks to the Meadowland Professional competition and feel really ready for the challenges [ahead]."
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