The chef and proprieter of Carters of Moseley on how cooking tea for mom began his love affair with food – and why Dim Sum Mondays are special!
Tell us about your cooking
My style is modern British and I focus on mainly British ingredients. Wild foraged and organic ingredients help produce simple dishes with maximum flavour. When creating dishes I start with a main seasonal ingredient then work backwards to complete the plate. I use a blend of modern and classic techniques in the kitchen.
Describe your perfect meal
I worked and lived in Spain so I have a soft spot for Spanish tapas and Charcutiere. Raja Monkey in Hall Green is my only Indian takeaway. A favourite of mine though is Dim Sum Mondays on my night off with my fiancée Holly!
How did you become a chef?
I always loved food and at school I won the pizza making competition and used to cook my mom’s tea when she came home from work – usually something on toast! In my last year at high school I worked in a local pub as a KP [Kitchen Porter]. I loved the environment and I moved into the cooking side of it. I enrolled at University College Birmingham and have never looked back.
What do you eat when at home?
I’m really into my nutrition and drink vegetable shakes, eat salads and make sure I get lots of protein. I do like one-pot cooking though – I love how you layer the flavours.
Who’s the best chef in the world and why? And who’s the best in Brum?
A lot of the best chefs cook in the UK, so that’s great for us. One of my inspirations is Fergus Henderson of St John in London. His books are great and I love the feeling of the celebration of Britain that you get when dining there. In Brum, we have a set of chefs at the top of their game and I’m proud to be a part of the food scene here.
Is the customer always right?
Yeah, the customer is always right, some of the time!!!
What’s the best thing about being a chef?
I love the creation and the craft, from the box of ingredients to the plate and then speaking to guests who understand your thoughts in the food. I also love to mentor young chefs and see their skills develop in my kitchen. Great restaurants operate as a team and I’m lucky to have some great people at Carters.
What’s the worst thing about being a chef?
There’s nothing bad about it. It’s a lifestyle choice. If I ain’t cooking I’m thinking about it!
If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?
Involved in bakery as I love the art of bread baking. Also I love underground music, so a career in that scene would have been cool.
What do you recommend from this evening’s menu?
Our menu is a no-choice, ever-changing tasting menu giving you the best of the season that week. One of this week’s highlights is Cornish sea bass, sea beet and fermented garlic.
BRAD’S RECIPE FOR HERITAGE BEETROOTS, WALNUTS AND HORSERADISH
Serves 4 as a starter
- 2 each young heritage beetroots, red, golden, candy, white, with tops cut off
- sea salt
- grapeseed oil
- 4 walnuts, roasted, peeled
- 15g fresh horseradish
- 1 red beetroot, washed, diced
- 150ml balsamic vinegar
- 150ml water Rapeseed oil
- Pickled Walnut
- 250g pickled walnuts
- 250ml water
- 1 teaspoon salt
First make the dressing. Add all the ingredients to a blender and puree for around 2 minutes. It may need a slash more vinegar or water to help it blend. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve pushing the juice through until the pulp is dry. Set aside.
For the puree, add the pickled walnuts and salt to the blender, bring the water to the boil then pour over the walnuts. Blend on full for 5 minutes until smooth, pass through a fine sieve. Set aside.
For the beetroots, set oven to 180c. Cut off the leaves and stems, set aside. Scrub all the beets of excess dirt and wash the leaves and stems. Put the beetroots on a tray, coat in the oil and season with the sea salt. Cover the tray with foil and roast for around 20 minutes, or until you can insert a skewer easily. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
To assemble, when cool, half the beetroot lengthways, set aside. Cut the stems into uniform 2-inch lengths and place in the bowl with the leaves. Dress with the beetroot dressing and the oil, season with sea salt, put some puree on the plate and arrange the beetroots around it. Place the dressed leaves and stems on top of the beets then, using a fine grater, grate over the walnut pieces and the fresh horseradish.