Dino Pavledis is chef at Hannahs at Seale-Hayne’s Bistro. He tells Taste Buds about his work and his locally based menus
What attracted you to this post?
I could see that Seale-Hayne had such a diverse programme and the ethics of this organisation are forward thinking and seem clear and instinctive. I really wanted to be part of it. Dame Hannah's is an established charity and at Seale-Hayne it feels fresh and alive and growing. I just knew I would feel at home here straight away.
What is your signature dish?
I am still working on that – it changes from time to time. I currently like the house oak-smoked salmon, with mixed leaves from our garden, herb-infused extra virgin olive oil, poached free-range egg, garlic herb croutons and a creamy yogurt, dill and red onion dressing.
What is best about being a chef in Devon?
There are few places left in the country like Devon, where there is a real feeling of self-sufficiency. There are some inspirational producers and growers to get excited about, all of whom are located in this really beautiful setting. It's early days and I am just scratching the surface of what produce we can get to cook here.
How are you incorporating local produce into your menu?
We use amazing salad and herbs grown on the site here by Emma and her team, plus from the Husbandry School nearby in Bickington, I can source some lovely Tamworth bacon and lamb. Our main butcher, Queen Street Butcher in Newton Abbot, sources most of his produce from Devon and our fish is landed locally. I am keeping menus as seasonal as possible, and changing them frequently to reflect that.
Give us a 'must-try' dish.
On the evening menu, a dish I am running is Creedy Carver chicken breast, with mustard and thyme, bacon from the Husbandry School, shallots and our braised salad hearts, potatoes, white wine and cream.
Describe your typical day.
I'm in the kitchen before 8am, when I check the fridges, kitchen and deliveries, and start prepping for the menu and for any functions, and cooking any breakfast orders. I then set up and serve lunch, clean down and get ready for dinner for the nights we are open, carry out the ordering and prepare lists for the next day. I then spend some time doing the paperwork needed to organise and control the operation. Then it's home for some tea and cuddles with my lovely wife and daughter.
Any tips for budding chefs?
Read cook books, listen not just hear, ask questions, watch others, learn from them (that's how I learnt the most). It's possibly one of the hardest jobs around, but one of the most rewarding. You get to use all your senses and be creative, but you must be able to work methodically. The best thing anyone ever taught me is try not to lie to yourself - always ask yourself, "Am I being honest?" That will help you stick to the right path.
Why should we eat your food?
I am trying to cook food as if it was cooked by your granny or your mum, yet you wouldn't cook it at home. It should feel like it is meant to be there, as if it fits in with the surroundings and place, and should provide lots of comfort when eating it. discoverhannahs.org/eat
Published 30 June 2013
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