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British Cuisine

by Debra C. Argen
Chef David Berry and Baby Moses
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Sauteed lobster with wasabi-cucumber risottoBritish cuisine has certainly evolved! Executive Chef David Berry of Bovey Castle on Dartmoor National Park in Devon, along with Executive Chef Bernhard Mayer of Lanes Restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel London, demonstrate their culinary creativity, as they share some of their very tasty recipes.


In November 2004, I had the opportunity to sit and chat with Executive Chef David Berry during my stay at Bovey Castle on Dartmoor National Park www.boveycastle.com in Devon, England. This exquisite hotel, is set on the moors on Dartmoor National Park, and opened in April 2004.

Chef David Berry is a Master Chef in Great Britain, whose impressive 5-star career includes having cooked for Prince Charles and having gone to the Queen Mother’s birthday celebrations. He trained at Claridge’s and The Savoy, where he shadowed Anton Edelman, as well as Paul Bocuse in Lyon for 5-weeks, and also taught at a college in Switzerland. He told me that the Bovey Castle restaurant makes their own pastries and breads, and supplies many of their own ingredients from their herb gardens, vegetable gardens where they grow baby vegetables in season, make their own chutneys from the tomatoes they grow, have chickens and quail to produce eggs, and where the children can go to gather their own eggs. From their lakes, guests who catch a trout or two can have their catch smoked or cooked according to their preference, and they can also smoke a guest’s catch of wild salmon from the river. Chef David, no stranger himself to fishing, once took a guest out fishing where the very lucky guest caught a 150-pound mackerel off a boat. The game that the restaurant serves is from the local butchers in the area, all the sausages are made according to their recipes, and all the fish is from the local area and comes in on a daily basis from nearby Plymouth. Local farms also produce vegetables for Bovey Castle, and their cheeses all come from the Southwest region, because British cheeses are really taking off, and producing new varieties.

He believes in honest cooking, no deception in what he does, and says that his greatest challenge is “everyday brings new challenges, and his great ambition is to meet the expectations, especially for Peter” (Peter de Savary, the owner).

Below Chef David Berry shares some of his favorite recipes with Luxury Experience Magazine, including a delicious recipe for traditional Bovey Castle Devonshire Cream Tea Scones.

Read about Bovey Castle on Dartmoor National Park in Destinations, Hotels & Resorts, and Wine Cellar.

Baked Brixham Cod wrapped with Basil and Air Dried Ham with a Cider Apple and Thyme Butter Sauce

Ingredients: one portion
2                                 asparagus tips
1       gram                  saffron
6-7    ounces               fresh thick cut cod fillet
4       slices                 air-dried ham
2                                  potatoes
5                                  basil leaves
1       tablespoon         Italian olive oil
rock salt or Malvern flakes
pinch ground pepper
1       pint                     fish stock

farm whipping cream
4       ounces                sugar
1                                  lemon
½      teaspoon             rubbed thyme
1       tablespoon         champagne vinegar
500   grams                 pure salted butter
2                                  courgettes (thin, baby zucchini)
4                                  carrots
1                                  spring onion
                                    pinch rubbed sage
¼      pint                     cider and
¼      pint                     apple juice, reduced by ½


Cut 6-7ounces of cod fillet and place the basil leaves on top. Wrap the fish with the ham and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with Italian olive oil.

Boil the potatoes and a small amount of saffron seasoning. When cooked, add sautéed spring onion, and season with salt and pepper.

Reduce the fish stock with the cider and farm apple juices reduced by half. The cider reduction is cider reduced in 4 ounces of sugar, sage, white wine and thyme reduced to a sticky pourable consistency. Add the double cream and reduce by half. When the sauce starts to thicken naturally, add some soft butter and correct the seasoning.

Add the saffron mash to the plate and then place the cooked cod on the mashed potatoes. Brush with a small amount of Italian olive oil. Then add the sauce. The dish is decorated with turned baby vegetables, fresh herbs and topped with English asparagus to complete this wonderful dish.

Roast Cornish Sea Bass on a West Country Vegetable Compression served on a Beetroot Mirror Sauce

Ingredients: two portions
(2)  4   ounce              small fillets of local sea bass
½         ounce              tomato concasse
½         ounce              carrot brunoise
½         ounce              mixed pepper brunoise
2          small               fresh beetroots peeled
½         pint                  fish stock
salt and pepper
3          pieces              fresh asparagus
3          baby                onions
1          teaspoon          saffron oil


Roast the sea bass fillet on silicone paper, season with salt and pepper, and roast in the oven on a moderate heat so as not to dry out the fish.

Sauté the vegetables and compress in a 2-inch stainless steel ring until compact.  Heat the vegetable compression and turn out onto a plate, add fish to the top and put the asparagus around the plate after it has been peeled and cooked. 

Sauté the small onion and finish in the oven, also add these to the plate.  Decorate with beetroot crisps that have been deep-fried.  Encircle the dish with the beetroot mirror sauce.

For the Beetroot Mirror Sauce

White wine
Fish stock
Salt and pepper


Sauté the onion and beetroot then quench with white wine.  Boil all together with the fish stock and diced beetroot and then reduce. Add a small amount of soft butter, season with salt and pepper and then add to the plate.

Bovey Castle Clotted Cream and White Chocolate Fudge

Ingredients: Makes 3 kilograms
1.5       kilograms       castor sugar
500      grams             liquid glucose
500      grams             clotted cream
250      milliliter         double cream
250      grams              unsalted butter
750      grams              White Chocolate (roughly chopped or drops)


Put the sugar, liquid glucose, double cream and clotted cream into a heavy saucepan.

Over a moderate heat with a whisk, allow the cream to melt and the sugar to dissolve, stirring all the time so the mixture does not scorch or burn, and boil to 118 degrees centigrade.

Remove from the heat, stir in the butter and chocolate to combine.

Pour into a Clingfilm lined tin, then cover with Clingfilm and allow it to set in a cool place for about 10 hours.

Caren Serving Afternoon TeaBovey Castle Devonshire Cream Tea Scones

1          kilogram         self-raising flour
50        grams              baking powder
250      grams              caster sugar
250      grams              butter
1          pint                  milk (approximately)
Sultanas (optional)


Melt the butter (you do not want it boiling hot).

Put the flour, baking powder and sugar into a mixing bowl (and sultanas if using them). Add butter and milk to form a dough. Do not keep working the mixture. When it forms a lump of dough, it is ready. If you work it too much the scones will be tough. Roll out the dough to an inch thick and cut out. Put on a baking tray lined with baking paper, leaving them room to spread out a little. Bake at 160 degrees centigrade for about 20 minutes.

When Edward F. Nesta and I were in London in November 2004, we had an excellent dinner at the Lanes Restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel London (www.fourseasons.com). Their Executive Chef Bernhard Mayer graciously treats Luxury Experience Magazine readers to two of his recipes, Sautéed Lobster with Wasabi-Cucumber Risotto and Pink Ginger, and the restaurant’s signature dish, Pineapple Carpaccio with Seared Scallops and Thai Dressing. The sweetness of the scallops combined with the tartness of the marinated pineapple and the hint of chili and coriander, make this dish a very light but tasty appetizer. The recipe uses the freshest scallops caught by hand on the northwest coast of Scotland. (Read about our dinner at Lanes Restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel London in Restaurants.)

Pineapple Carpaccio

Ingredients for 6 portions:
1.5       liter                 water
200      grams              white sugar
4                                  red Chilies – cut in half
4                                  lemongrass – cut in short pieces
4                                  star anises
50        grams               ginger – freshly grated
4                                  fresh limes
1                                  large pineapple


Peel the fresh pineapple and cut it into very thin slices.
Put all the remaining ingredients in a pot and bring to the boil, strain and allow it to cool a little.

Put the pineapple slices in the prepared stock and marinate for about 2-3 minutes.
Take the slices out, place on paper and keep in the fridge until ready to serve.

Thai Dressing:
30        grams               garlic – chopped
35        grams               lemongrass – chopped
30        grams               coriander, fresh – chopped
25        grams               red chili, fresh – finely diced
75        ml                    Thai fish sauce
100      ml                    oyster sauce
280      ml                    orange juice – fresh
1          teaspoon          Tabasco
200      ml                    honey
100      grams               mango chutney – chopped

Mix all ingredients together and stir well. Keep refrigerated.


5 half Scallops per personseared

Small leaves of Rocket and Curly Lettuce

Dressing the plate:
Put the pineapple carpaccio (4 pieces) flat on the plate.
Garnish with a few small leaves of curly lettuce and rocket.
Place the seared, hot scallops on top.
Drizzle with the prepared Thai dressing.

Sauteed Lobster with Wasabi-Cucumber Risotto Sautéed Lobster with Wasabi-Cucumber Risotto and Pink Ginger

Ingredients for 6 persons

300      grams              Carnaroli rice
200      ml                    white wine
20        grams              shallots (chopped)
1          clove               garlic (crushed)
300      ml                    fish stock
300      ml                    cucumber juice
50        ml                    whipped cream
100      grams              Parmesan cheese, grated
30        grams              wasabi paste
1                                  cucumber without seeds (diced)
50        grams              pink pickled sushi ginger
80        ml                    sushi vinegar
6                                  live small lobsters
2                                  red chillies
pink ginger

Blanch the lobsters in boiling water for 6 minutes, and then cool in iced water.
When cold, break the flesh out of the shell, including the claw meat (but extract the bone inside) and the tail meat. Cut the tail meat into 2 cm chunks.  Keep to one side until ready to serve.

For the risotto:
Make sure you have the cucumber juice as well as the fish stock before cooking.
Pour a film of olive oil in a sauté pan and heat gently, add the rice and cook until translucent.
Add the shallots and garlic just so they heat.

Add the white wine and reduce until dry, then slowly start to incorporate the fish stock and cucumber juice. Slowly cook the rice, until almost all the liquid is absorbed.
When the rice is soft but still has some bite to it add the wasabi paste, whipped cream and Parmesan cheese.

Finish and season with the sushi vinegar, salt and pepper.
Keep warm to one side while you cook the lobster. If the risotto is stiff, add some of the leftover of the stock before serving.

For the lobster:
To cook the lobster, heat a film of oil in a pan, season the lobster with salt and pepper and then sauté until cooked, the meat will turn a little white but will still be opaque in colour.
When the lobster is cooked, add the diced cucumber and serve on top of the risotto. Garnish with chilli slices and pink ginger.

Chocolate Crème Brulée Tart

Ingredients for 8 portions
8                                 egg yolks
160      grams             sugar
600      grams             double cream
220      grams             milk
20        grams             cocoa powder
½                               vanilla pod


Blend all ingredients together. Pour the mix on a pre-baked base and bake at 100C, until it sets. Place in freezer until really cold. Remove from freezer and cut into round shape. Press with fresh berries and mint.

Read other articles on London in Hotels & Resorts, Destinations, Music Scene, Chefs’ Recipes and Restaurants.

©March 2005. Luxury Experience. www.LuxuryExperience.com All rights reserved.