Nathan Eades

But for poor eyesight the new head chef at Simpsons Nathan Eades might have been an RAF pilot. Turn’s out he’s proved a real high-flier in the kitchen instead!

Tell us about your cooking

I am very ingredient-led whenever I am cooking, whether that is at the restaurant or at home. I will always try to source the best that money can afford. I try and keep things very simple (flavour combination wise). I also encourage using as much of the product in as many ways as possible. Being able to showcase a cauliflower in multiple forms and demonstrating how versatile ingredients can be excites me.

How did you become a chef?

The cliche of ‘falling into it’. I originally applied for the RAF (while in sixth form) and my application was rejected due to poor eyesight. I then asked my local pub if I could do an apprenticeship with them. From there I went on to work at some prestigious hotels in England. Lee Parsons, then exec chef of Wedgewood hotel in Vancouver, has been the most influential chef to date. At that point in my career I was quite a naive cook. I thought I was always right and didn’t always understand other chefs’ methodologies. I was taken under the wing of one of the best chefs in Vancouver at the time and he made me hone in on my skills. The kitchen was full of British ex-pats so the banter was rife – especially when Wolves (my football team) were getting hammered!

What do you eat when at home?

Usual fare really. My ‘go to’ after work ‘meal’ is cereal. There’s no foie gras or truffles in the cupboard – more like spaghetti hoops and a fajita kit! Charlie, my wife, is a veggie so more often than not I eat the same as her… something like a mushroom risotto. Quick, easy, flavoursome, and only one pan to wash up afterwards!

Who’s the best chef in the world and why? And who’s the best in Brum?

Currently in service it would be Daniel Humm at Eleven Madison Park in New York. Had a phenomenal meal there when I was travelling the US. No longer in service, Marco Pierre White. Any chef worth their salt would have watched his programme when he cooks for his old bosses on YouTube. He was a genius, so ahead of his generation. In Brum, the food scene is ever-expanding with so many fantastic independent eateries; ourselves, Carters in Moseley, Adams, Purnell’s and Aktar with his restaurants, not to mention all the curry houses and the pop-up dining scene.

Is the customer always right?

No they aren’t. But I’ve learned the hard way to grin and bear it sometimes. I personally would have much more respect for someone if they told you the problem face-to-face, rather than taking the easy option and writing anonymously on social media and review sites.

Share a cooking tip

To check if a piece of fish is cooked use a skewer and pierce the flesh. If the skewer goes into the flesh without any resistance and comes out ‘clean’ it’s cooked.

What was your favourite food as a kid?

New Year’s Day lunch round my Nan’s – gammon with parsley sauce!

Food heaven and food hell?

Heaven is anything meaty from Andy Low ‘N’ Slow. Hell is leek and potato soup – I hate it with a passion. What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten? Fermented duck eggs from a Taiwanese restaurant when I lived in Vancouver. They were pretty nice actually. Not for the faint-hearted though.

If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?

Unemployed!

What do you recommend from this evening’s menu?

My first dish at Simpsons – Carrot Consommé.

Nathan’s recipe for Apple Parfait, Macerated Blackberries and Champagne Custard

NE Apple parfait

(Makes 6-8)

  • Equipment needed:
  • Kitchen aid / electric whisk
  • Sugar Thermometer
  • Whisks
  • Mixing Bowls
  • ISI Cream Whipper and Gas Chargers (see below if you do not own one)

Ingredients

For the Parfait

  • 500g Apples, peeled and quarted, place the peel in the freezer for later
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 200ml water
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 200g cream
  • 2 gelatine leaves, softened in cold water

For the Blackberries

  • 16-20 blackberries
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • zest of a lemon

For the Custard

  • 500ml Cream
  • 200ml Whole Milk
  • 6 Egg Yolks
  • 115g Sugar
  • 75-100ml Champagne

For the Champagne and Jelly

  • 100ml Champagne
  • 100ml Water
  • 50g sugar
  • 2 gelatine leaves, softened in cold water

Method

For the Parfait

In a pan, place the diced apples, 100g of sugar and 100ml of water. Bring to the boil and simmer for roughly 10 minutes. Once soft blitz until smooth and pass through a fine sieve. Chill immediately. Once cold, blitz again adding the frozen apple peel and pass through a fine sieve. In another pan, place the rest of the sugar and water, place a sugar thermometer into the mixture. As the sugar/water mixture reaches 118C, take it off the heat, and begin to whisk the egg yolks, on full speed, in a kitchen aid / electric whisk and pour the sugar/water mixture slowly onto the eggs. After about 2/3 minutes of whisking the pate a bombe, (egg/sugar mixture) add the softened gelatine whilst the mixture is still hot. This will allow the gelatine to dissolve into the pate a bombe. Once the pate a bombe has reached room temperature, stop whisking and fold in the apple puree. Whip the cream to soft peak and fold into the mixture. Place into a container / or serving reciprocal such as a glass and freeze for at least 6 hours

For the Blackberries

Cut the blackberries in half lengthway. In a container, mix with the lemon zest and 1tbs of sugar. set aside for at least 1 hour

For the Custard

In a pan, place the cream and milk bring to the boil. In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until thick, pale and creamy As soon as it is at boiling point, add a small amount to the egg mixture and then return everything back on the low heat, until the mixture has reached 82C. Once the custard has reached desired temperature, pass the mix and chill over ice to cool quickly. When the Custard has chilled, add the Champagne to taste. Pour into an ISI cream whipper and charge with 2 ISI gas cartridges. Set aside in the fridge for about an hour

For the Champagne and jelly

Add the water and sugar to a pan and begin to bring to the boil and add the dissolved the gelatine leaves. Allow the mixture to go to room temperature before adding the champagne. Place in a container or desired reciprocal. Chill until set.

To assemble

Cut a (rough measurements) 10cm x 3cm rectangle of the parfait, place in the middle of the place decant a good amount of the custard to the right of the parfait. Take 3 x 1tsp of jelly and place around the parfait. Sprinkle with toasted flaked almonds. Place 4 x ½ blackberries in sporadic positions around the parfait finish with freshly picked wood sorrel.

Note: If you haven’t got an ISI Cream whipper, just make a crème anglaise (same recipe as the custard) and pour over the parfait cold.