The former University College Birmingham student, Lee DeSanges, is the award-winning founder of street food enterprise Baked in Brick, based in the Custard Factory
Tell us about your cooking
My story began using a hand-built wood-fired pizza oven and a shed at the bottom of my garden. Then I converted a classic Mini and fitted it with a wood oven on the back and BBQ under the bonnet for street food events, such as Digbeth Dining Club, where Baked in Brick really flourished. My cooking is rustic and artisan using old school methods, plus fire and smoke – and always good quality ingredients from good quality suppliers. I’m delighted to say that Baked in Brick has won Best Street Food and Pop Up, Best Dish, and Best of the Best at the British Street Food Awards
How did you become a chef?
I’ve always loved cooking – I was the nerd in home economics with all his ingredients weighed out ready for the class. I think my love for food was born when I used to help my dad cook on a Sunday, he is Anglo-Indian so my Sundays were all about roasting spices and rolling chapties. I then went on to train at UCB.
What do you eat when at home?
I love a good home cooked meal, roast beef Sunday lunch is my favourite,
Who’s the best chef in the world and why? And who’s the best in Brum?
I’m really loving Niklas Ekstedt in Sweden. I went there on a trip in January and was blown away by his restaurant and cooking over fire. Wow, best chef in Birmingham – that’s really tough! There are so many! Luke Tipping, Brad Carter, Leo Kattou… But if I had to pick one it would be Matt Cheal, formerly head chef at Simpsons but now chef owner of Cheals of Henley. We went to college together and have stayed good friends ever since. His cooking style is refined and fresh while keeping to classic cuisine.
Is the customer always right?
Hmmmmm! It’s all about perception and we all see things sometimes in a different light. All I know is we always deliver great customer service and try and meet our customers’ expectations of our food.
Share a cooking tip
When following a recipe, always weigh out all the ingredients first and follow the recipe exactly.
What was your favourite food as a kid?
Cheese and ham toasties
Food heaven and hell?
Heaven is Margherita pizza and hell is any chocolate with orange.
What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten?
Lemon flavoured ants!
If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?
An action stuntman.
What do you recommend from this evening’s menu?
Shire Meadows beef shin ragu and wild mushroom calzone with a Colston Bassett blue Stilton dip. This is the dish that won us Best Street Food Main Course at the European Street Food Awards.
TRY LEE’S BEEF SHORT RIB, CELERIAC REMOULADE & BUTTER BABY CARROTS, POMEGRANATE MOLASSES MEAT JUICE
- 4 x beef short ribs
For the marinade:
- 600g red wine
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- Sprig thyme
- Sprig rosemary
- 1 x white onion, cut into small dice
- 3 x bay leaf
For the celeriac remoulade:
- 1 x medium celeriac
- 4 x tbsp good mayonnaise
- 2 x tbsp crème fraiche
- ½ lemon
- Small handful chopped parsley
- 1 x tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 x tbsp pomegranate molasses
Marinate the beef short ribs overnight in the red wine marinade. (This will tenderise the meat and add lots of flavour.)
Pre-heat a Grant Sous Vide water bath to 85C. Drain the beef from the marinade and place everything except the red wine in a vacuum pouch and seal. (Keep the red wine.) Sous vide for 12 hours. Drain off the meat juice.
Reduce the saved red wine by two-thirds. Add the meat juice and reduce to a nice consistency. Strain your sauce using muslin cloth, season to taste. Add the pomegranate molasses.
Julienne the celeriac. Add all the other ingredients to make the remoulade. Season to taste with salt and pepper plus the lemon juice.