Chef of the Week: Dave Newman, Head Chef at Lasseter’s Restaurant in Weston-super-Mare

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
I have worked at my current restaurant since June 2017

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
My passion for cooking came following in my dad’s footsteps who was a chef in the Royal Air Force, we have both cooked for Royalty on numerous occasions which is our favourite story to tell friends & family!!

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
I developed my early skills at a local pub working for Marc Pearce who was my Head chef he had previously worked with Marco Pierre White and I attended catering college in Bristol.

I really enjoy all the produce we get to use and the ability to caterer to peoples tastes and deliver a great dining experience, I love the comradery and the kitchen banter and meeting new people.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
My three ingredients I couldn’t live without are Bay leaves, butter & sea salt!!!

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
I couldn’t be without my Thermomix!

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
The food trends I’m spotting are more live cooking like at the chefs table experience which is a personal favourite, more plating up of food to the side of the plates which seems to be on trend with the younger chefs in the kitchen and just being daring to be different & mixing it up!

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
I think the common mistake chefs make that let them down is not learning or doing the basics well first before moving on to the more advanced techniques.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
My favourite time of the year has to be Autumn, Autumn time equals happy chef! Plenty of colours, textures and the most beautiful ingredients to play with and be adventurous!

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of my pork belly dish, it is Pressed Belly of Somerset pork, black pudding bon-bon, Wookey Hole cheddar mash, braised vanilla carrot, crackling, Local cider sauce.

I have spent absolutely hours refining the pork belly in different brines & cooking methods but have finally refined the taste & look of the dish.

How do you come up with new dishes?
I come up with new ideas by networking with my kitchen team, going to as many food events/expos as I can, reading magazines & good cooking books old & new.

Who was your greatest influence?
My greatest influence was always Raymond Blanc, as a young chef I loved his passion and the food that he produced & the lifestyle he had made for himself.

 Tell us three chefs you admire
3 chefs that I Admire would be Tom Kerridge, Paul Cunningham & Michael O Hare.

What is your favourite cookbook?
My favourite cookbook is Heston Blumenthal The Fat Duck Cook book

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?

I think Elly Wentworth & Tom Brown are defiantly ones to watch closely.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year? My Favourite new restaurant opening has to be the relaunch of The Coach House Restaurant at Kentisbury Grange Hotel.