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Chef Talk – Lee Bennett

Executive head chef at new D&D Group Leeds restaurants Angelica and Crafthouse at just 33, Bridlington born Lee talks to us about his career, ideas, people, hopes and his favourite dunker, whilst whipping up a few seasonal asparagus dishes!

What made you decide that you wanted to be a chef?
I started in a small kitchen in Bridlington as a 15 year old, just to earn some pocket money and the interest was born.

Who did you train under and what did they teach you that you’ll never forget?
Gordon Ramsey, Pierre Gagnaire and Jason Atherton who taught me that the best produce is on your own doorstep.

Where was your first job?
As a chef for Rags Restaurant and Expanse Hotel, Bridlington.

Which chef has inspired you the most?
Jason Atherton As a chef what gives you the biggest ‘kick’ out of your job? Training the youngsters and making them into good chefs that will one day go on to working in some of the great kitchens of the world.

How do you decide your menu?
At Crafthouse and Angelica, we focus on the best of Yorkshire produce and being as extensive as we can be and not being afraid of going further afield for ingredients if they have the right fit.

What are your main criteria when you select suppliers?
Consistency, service and a willingness to help in an emergency. Good advice and product knowledge are high on the list too.

How would you describe your style of cooking?
Classic British/European. What is your favourite ‘comfort’ food? You can’t beat a good roast beef and gammon with all the trimmings.

What has been your greatest culinary idea?
Seaside Donuts in the City. Editor’s note: You really need to taste these bad boys and even better with a fizzy blanc de blanc!

What are your ambitions?
To make the Leeds D&D restaurants a great success, blending the best of London and Yorkshire to make a pretty special dining experience.

What is your favourite ingredient and why?
Beef for its’ versatility.

What is your prediction for the next food trend?
Depending on the economy, I think classic fine dining will make a comeback. What would you say is your signature dish? Bridlington Bay Lobster Bisque.

What is your favourite biscuit?
Personally I like a Jammy Dodger. www.crafthouse-restaurant.com www.angelica-restaurant.com

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