Meet the chef: Steve Titman at Summer Lodge
PUBLISHED: 14:58 09 December 2016 | UPDATED: 14:58 09 December 2016
Steve Titman has been at the culinary helm of Summer Lodge, the award-winning country house hotel at Evershot, for the last 12 years. He reveals how his Dorset inspired menus showcase the taste of the ‘star’ local produce
Having honed his culinary skills in Jersey and Maine in the USA, along the way obtaining invaluable experience in Michelin-starred establishments in Germany, Steve Titman is passionate about sourcing local and seasonal. As Executive Chef at Summer Lodge he has built collaborative relationships with local food producers, fishermen, farmers and foragers to ensure he has top notch Dorset ingredients to showcase on his imaginative Modern British menu. The shorter their trip to his kitchen the happier Steve is - whether it’s dive caught scallops from Lyme Bay or a woodland reared chicken from down the road.
What are your earliest food memories?
Watching my grandfather (a butcher) prepare meat for us at home and my parents cooking a stew with it.
What inspired you to be a chef?
I was always interested in being a chef. I studied for three years at Sheffield College with a couple of great teachers. I entered a few competitions and I was also given some great work experience opportunities.
Tell me about your first job
I spent my first three years at Longueville Manor in Jersey, which held a Michelin star at the time. It was an amazing grounding as we made everything from croissants to veal stock and they did all its own butchery and fish preparation. After that I moved to a restaurant in Germany. This was a step above what I had done before in the kitchen, and I had the challenge of learning a new language, it was a very fulfilling two years. Then I went to The White Barn Inn in Maine, USA. This was a much bigger operation and I learnt a lot there.
Does local seafood feature at Summer Lodge?
Fresh local fish is a massive part of the menu. We have wonderful local suppliers and we also buy direct from local fishermen. With great quality fresh ingredients like this we do not need to complicate the dishes with too many flavours. I want the taste of the ‘star’ product to shine through.
What other local ingredients do you regularly use?
We believe in supporting local businesses and making our purchases and practices as sustainable as possible - from Dorset made Puff Pastry and locally cured salamis to woodland reared free range chickens from 3 miles down the road.
What is your favourite signature dish?
Roast Loin of Dorset Lamb and Braised Shoulder Shepherds Pie with Savoy Cabbage and Rosemary Jus – it is one of our most popular dishes.
What seasonal treats are currently on your menu?
With autumn comes the beginning of a more hearty style of cooking using ingredients like pumpkin, root vegetables, beef cheeks, pork belly, lamb breast and at this time of year local game. Venison is my favourite and I would highly recommend our Soy infused Venison Loin with Sweet Potato, Baby Bok Choi and Szechuan Pepper. Adding a few Asian spices gives it a delicious new dimension.
And your ideal supper?
A slow cooked roast maybe brisket or pork belly, with some crisp goose fat roast potatoes and cauliflower cheese, shared with my partner at home, as time at home is precious for a busy chef.
Summer Lodge, Evershot, DT2 0JR, 01935 482000 summerlodgehotel.co.uk