Woolacome Bay Hotel’s, Eduard Grecu, shares his inspiration, seasonal motivation and a brilliant recipe…
Eduard Grecu is head chef at Woolacombe Bay Hotel, a four star hotel next to the best beach in the UK and 13th best beach in the world (as voted by Tripadvisor 2014) Eduard heads up both of the restaurants at Woolacombe Bay: Doyle’s Restaurant, with its traditional English menu, and The Bay Brasserie, which is the hotel’s more upmarket bistro.
Believe it or not, even though at a young age he loved cooking, Eduard had never considered a career in the kitchen. That was until eight years ago, when he was given the opportunity to train at a local catering college and the hotel that he still works in – and he has never looked back. Since then he has moved up the ranks from commis chef to head chef and his passion for his profession is evident in his creations.
Grecu takes inspiration from some true culinary heavy weights – Michel Roux Jr. and Raymond Blanc – but his favourite (in cooking style and vision) is Giorgio Locatelli of Locanda Locatelli in London. Grecu admires Locatelli’s respect for produce and the environment, and his understanding of the impact of food on families and communities is something which Grecu strives to express through his own cooking. Looking closer to home, he names Simon Keating and Mark Sparks as chefs that he has learned a lot from while working closely with them.
Mediterranean cuisine and the philosophy behind it is what Grecu holds closest to his heart. As such, diners can expect vibrant colours and clean, authentic flavours in his dishes, all crafted using simple but accurate techniques.
Some might say that a chef living so close to the sea is one lucky chef, and Grecu wouldn’t disagree. But it is the seasonal differences that the land and sea bring that keeps him so excited and motivated. The challenges of the winter months bring pickles, conserves, smoked meats and cured fish to his menu, while the spring bares a combination of winter leftovers and freshly emerging new ingredients.
To be a good chef, Grecu believes that one must understand the intricate ways in which all components of a dish interact. If you fancy yourself a bit of the chef in the kitchen (or you just want to impress your friends) give this recipe a whirl. Grecu’s brill with new potatoes, green olives, gem lettuce, lemon and parsley is a fabulously fresh dish for the season and is guaranteed to wow your dinner guests.
Eduard Grecu’s brilliant brill and new potato recipe
1 tbsp mild olive oil
20 g of butter
500-700g whole brill (skinned, head removed, gutted)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Handful of green olives
1 head of gem lettuce
1 tbsp of flat leaf parsley
Half a glass of dry white wine
1. Place the olive oil in a medium hot pan and heat up till it starts smoking slightly.
2. Add 10 g of butter and swirl around the pan until all combined with oil.
3. Dry your whole brill with kitchen paper on both sides and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
4. Place in the pan and cook without moving it for 4-5 min.
5. Carefully turn over and cook for another 4 min.
6. Remove the fish and place on a serving plate somewhere warm, covered.
7. In the same pan, add another 10 g of butter and fry a handful of boiled and cut up new potatoes until golden.
8. Add a handful of green olives cut away from the stone and toss together with the potatoes.
9. Add 1 head of gem lettuce, washed and tapped dry, then sliced coarsely. Add parsley, chopped finely and toss together.
10. Add half a glass of dry white wine and reduce for 2 min. Place on the plate next to the fish and serve with a wedge of lemon.
Chef’s Top Tips from Eduard Grecu
1. Take your meat out of the fridge way before cooking, and rest well after.
2. Cook your fish on the bone.
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