Meet the chef - Ian Grant at the Alexandra Hotel
PUBLISHED: 15:44 21 August 2015 | UPDATED: 15:44 21 August 2015
With the produce of three counties on his doorstep Ian Grant, Executive Chef at the Alexandra Hotel, loves to get creative with his seasonally inspired menus
Seasonality and creativity are the two key ingredients that inspire Ian Grant, the award-winning Executive Chef at the Alexandra Hotel in Lyme Regis, which won Small Hotel of the Year in the 2014 Dorset Tourism Awards. Ian enjoys finding exciting new ways to celebrate the region’s produce and this quest for culinary excellence has helped the hotel’s restaurant to win a Taste of the West Gold.
What were the tastes of your childhood?
My grandmother’s onion and potato pie and my mother’s bacon, sage and suet pudding - I could smell it when I got off the school bus.
What made you decide to be a chef?
I’ve always enjoyed cooking. One of my earliest memories is making scrambled eggs on toast with my father who is also a chef. I love the freedom of creativity you get from being a chef.
What are your signature dishes?
Marinated lamb rump with fondant potato, panko coated sweetbreads and lamb jus; garden herb coated deep fried Lyme Bay dive caught scallops, heritage tomatoes, rapeseed dressing and baby shoots; and for those who enjoy a sensational dessert - deconstructed tiramisu with chocolate soil and an espresso and amoretto foam.
What local fish do you have on your menu?
Our seafood comes from Lyme Bay, which you can see from the hotel, and it’s landed at Brixham Harbour daily. For example currently on our menu we have grilled Cornish sardines with homemade toasted sourdough and a salsa rosso, or closer to home pan fried Lyme Bay mackerel with spring onion gnocchi, pak choi and Thai pesto.
What other local ingredients are on your menu?
Being on the Devon and Dorset border means we benefit from using both counties amazing produce. This is one of the main reasons I wanted to work in the West Country, it offers such an amazing range of local ingredients. Trill Farm, just down the road in Axminster, provides us with wonderful organic fresh leaves and vegetables.
What flavours are exciting your taste buds at the moment?
Lyme Bay mackerel fish cakes with a rapeseed and gooseberry mayonnaise; salt and pepper squid with saffron dressing; pork tenderloin with heritage beets and spring greens – there’s a lot to get my taste buds excited at the moment!
What would be your perfect supper and who would you share it with?
A barbecue and a few beers with my brother who I lost 23 years ago, I still miss him and think of him every day - he has been my inspiration in life.
What’s new on your summer menus?
Wet garlic and courgette flowers from Trill Farm, venison livers, and our own heritage tomatoes.
Starters from £6.50
• Salt and pepper Cornish squid with Dorset Chilli Farm chillies, Trill Farm pepper leaves and watercress pesto
• Glazed Rosary goats cheese with English heritage beetroot textures, savoury granola and wild rocket
• Sautéed Creedy Carver duck livers on homemade broiche and truffled free range hen’s egg
Mains from £16.95
• Pan fried Cornish sea trout with courgette and corn couscous, Trill Farm rainbow chard and a salsa verde
• Slow braised shin of Exmoor rare breed beef, tarragon mustard potato puree, Savoy cabbage and a braising liquor reduction
• Maze fed free range chicken supreme wrapped in smoked pancetta and sage, champignon potatoes with Trill Farm spring greens
Desserts from £6.50
• Somerset rhubarb crumble with Dorset clotted Cream and brandy snap tuile
• Iced lemon parfait with mini lime meringues and fresh figs
• Dark chocolate mille feuille with lavender ice cream and hazelnut praline
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