Occupying a prime spot in the market town of Bawtry is Caviars Restaurant & Wine Bar – an elegant establishment with Darren Rogan at the kitchen’s helm.
Beginning his career as an apprentice at the Wig & Mitre, Darren worked his way up the ranks to become the junior sous chef, serving food to an AA-rossette standard, from a young age. Darren moved from kitchen to kitchen, climbing the career ladder until he landed in his current position as executive head chef, 14 short years after first picking up a chef knife.
Darren describes his cooking style as eclectic, stating that he likes ‘being creative and using unusual flavour combinations and cooking techniques to push boundaries.’ He credits Glynne Purnell as an inspiration for his originality, and also commends Gordon Ramsay for his ‘pure passion for perfection’.
When asked about his favourite time of year, from a culinary perspective, Darren chose early March, stating that ‘plenty of winter foods are coming to an end and are making way for new offerings of spring, so it’s a great time to get creative with a new menu and try out new ideas’. One such ingredient coming to the end of its season is Darren’s favourite, the Jerusalem artichoke. ‘Strong, earthy and sweet, this robust tuber of the sunflower complements meat and fish, or is good enough to stand as a vegetable dish on its own’, comments Darren. He likes to salt bake, peel, purée and then serve the artichoke with fresh scallops, chicken wing lollipops, hazelnuts and fresh watercress.
Good food, according to Darren, should be ‘just as impressive visually as it is to eat’, balancing colours, textures and flavours. His top tip for readers is to use a pizza cutter to cut in straight lines when portioning pastry, biscuit dough or raw fresh pasta.
Under Darren’s tutelage, the Tower Hotel in Lincoln obtained its AA rosette in 2012, and Darren was named 2015’s Food Hero in the Bailgate Independent Magazine Competition. Darren’s hopes the future holds more accolades for both Caviars and his new venture, The Separatist Inn.
Read more about Caviars and dining in Yorkshire in our Yorkshire Food & Drink Guide: