What Is Your Flavour Chef?

What grows together goes together is an old chefs’ maxim. When you think about it this is true because the ingredients are often in season together and at the height of their flavour.

Classic examples in British cookery would be lamb, peas, mint & new potatoes. In early to mid-summer all these are ready at the same time – and they do make a fabulous combination. As does strawberries and cream. Once upon a time, strawberries would not be at the peak of their flavour until mid to late June (depending on the weather). Cream, also, is much richer in the summer because the grass is bursting with sunshine for dairy cattle. A perfect partnership.

There are many others – fish and lemon, beef and horseradish, mushrooms & bacon, apples and pork, salmon and cucumber.

However, this is not the only way to pair up flavours. Indian flavour combinations are used, primarily, for health reasons. Each of the spices in a dish would be used for a different reason but they, too, would have all been grown in the same season or region.

Another interesting combination to consider is that of venison and nuts. This follows the same rule. Deer and nuts are both found in woodland and so have a natural affinity for one another – and this old pairing was the staple of our hunter gather forefathers.

One way of pairing up venison with nuts is to use a crumb to cover a piece of roasted loin. This technique was used recently by Michael Nizzero while doing some recipe development for Curtis Pitts Deer Services.

The Chefs’ Forum demo stage has been well and truly parked-up since March, however, it was brought out of storage and given a new skin for Great British Game Week.

The acclaimed chef created a dish using Nutcellars macadamia which has a creamy consistency that perfectly suits the venison.

Michael said:

“It takes around ten years of being a chef and working every section of the kitchen and rising up through the ranks for your flavour memory to fully develop.  When you are at Commis level, you may ‘taste’ nuts when asked to do so.  Once you ‘understand’ the flavour, it is a game-changer. The earthy flavour of venison then you will remember that it goes very well with mushroom and nuts, this formed the reasoning and basis for my dish.”

“When I am devising new dishes and menus, I look to cookery books by great chefs to inspire my cooking.  I especially like Daniel Hulme, Alan Ducasse.  I have also done four books with Michel Roux Senior.  These books are the bible of my kitchen.”

Check out Michael’s fantastic dish of Roasted Venison Loin, Macadamia Crust and Grain Mustard Sauce here:

For more information on flavour pairings have a look at The Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit.