Dan Anderson, director of Anderson’s Bar & Grill and Anderson’s at the Bull’s Head, hails the growing number of top chefs in Brum – and reveals his own kitchen ‘passion’
Tell us about your cooking
I describe my food style as modern, vibrant and organic. Obviously product is king and seasonality is important but I certainly don’t mind using weird and wonderful ingredients that you can’t get here in the UK. I’m very passionate about salt! The most important lesson in my view is the importance of seasoning and taste. Salt will totally change the balance of a dish, so my chefs are always taught this as soon as the walk in to my kitchens.
Describe your perfect meal
It would have to be with my family – just winding down over Sunday lunch with some lovely wine.
How did you become a chef?
I have been in this business since the tender age of 14. So that’s 21 years so far and still learning! I have had the pleasure of working with some of the greats over the years but the most influential chefs in my career have to be Robert Moses, of Stanford Hall, he taught me to push and to gain stamina – of which you need plenty! Richard Turner of Turners in Harborne, from who I learned the importance of taste and refinement, and Nick Crudgington. Although not a chef (he says he’s been classically train though!) he’s a truly inspirational restaurateur!
What do you eat when at home?
Whatever my wife puts in front of me! Trust me, her shepherd’s pie is unrivalled.
Who’s the best chef in the world and why? And who’s the best in Brum?
Best in the world in my opinion is Grant Achatz – he’s on the edge of what can be done with imagination and execution. Some crazy stuff going on in his head! The Roca brothers are at the top of their game too, but you have so many truly great chefs – Sat Bains, Nathan Outlaw, Phillip Howard to name but a few from the UK alone! The best in Brum? I’m not going to single anyone out. We have many great chefs around our city and the number seems to grow by the day. That’s great news to my mind.
Is the customer always right?
The customer is why we are in business, so yes! The customer is king.
What’s the best thing about being a chef?
Of course that would be the weekends out with your mates, the early nights, all the money…
What’s the worst thing about being a chef?
I love what I do. You have to be passionate about it, otherwise why do it? It’s my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?
I’m lucky enough to be able to deal with all aspects of my companies and I have a particular love of corporate law. So I would be a corporate lawyer.
What do you recommend from this evening’s menu?
Well, I would recommend all of it but I absolutely love the scallops
DAN’S RECIPE FOR PAN SEARED SCALLOPS, SPICED ROMANESCO PUREE, HONEY & BACON
- 4 hand dived scallops
For the puree:
- 400g of romanesco
- 25g ras al hanout
- 50ml double cream
- 25g butter
- 2.1g gellan gum type f
For the garnish:
- 100g sliced pancetta
- 20g honey
- 100g olive oil
- 10g maltodextrin
- Pinch of sea salt
- Thyme flowers
Clean and prep scallops and put to one side in the fridge. For the puree, prep the romanesco into florets (save a few for garnish) and blanch in salted water until tender. Remove and put into a blender, add cream, butter gellan gum and salt to taste. Roast off the ras al hanout in a hot dry pan for 3 minutes then add to the blender. Blitz until smooth and allow to set in a fridge for 3 hours. Once semi-set re-blitz until smooth. Place three slices of pancetta under a grill and cook until crisp and golden, set aside to cool. For the honey dressing, add the olive oil, honey, thyme flowers and maltodextrin into a bowl and whisk well, add seasoning at the end to taste.