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Donkey Sanctuary

In the Kitchen with... Chris Morris

Taste Buds catches up with Chris Morris, Head Chef at The Kitchen at The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth

How long have you been at The Donkey Sanctuary?
I joined a few months before the Sanctuary opened its new restaurant, The Kitchen, in June 2017, and helped create the initial concept. I continue to hone its development today. With a fantastic team around me and support from our customers, The Kitchen goes from strength to strength. Every penny of profit we make supports the donkeys and mules in our care and in communities around the world.

Sum up your style in three words?
Fresh, seasonal and uncomplicated.

What is the must-try dish on your menu?
If we were open, we would have been running our Spring Menu and from this, I would have chosen the Turkish-inspired Bulgur Wheat Salad. Not only is it tasty but it also reflects our work as an international charity. While it is quite a simple plant-based dish, it offers fresh flavours and different textures.

What is the best local produce to eat now?
If you can get it, then Bok Choi, as well as broad beans, runner beans, watercress and English strawberries.

Do you prefer to eat in or out?
I enjoy both, but with a young family, eating out has become more of a treat. I love introducing new flavours to my children and the luxury of not having to wash up afterwards is always a bonus!

What is your favourite food gadget?
To be honest, I am not a massive fan of kitchen gadgets. I was classically trained and therefore enjoy to cook in that way. To me, an essential piece of equipment is the humble tasting spoon – taste, taste and taste again!

What is the most unusual thing you have cooked with/eaten?
Having been lucky enough to work in different countries around the world, I have cooked and eaten with an array of weird and wonderful ingredients. We have recently been working on lots of exciting new vegetarian/vegan dishes, including experimenting with jackfruit – a versatile fruit that can be used as a healthy meat replacement. It works especially well with bold, spicy flavours.

What influences your product choices?
I am always led by good quality local produce, especially when it comes to meat. As a passionate animal welfare organisation, we ensure that all meat dishes are responsibly sourced from producers with high standards of farming and welfare, while vegan or vegetarian options are prominent and varied on our menu. I like to source the best ingredient, and treat it with simplicity and care, allowing the produce to take centre stage.

The Donkey Sanctuary
Sidmouth
Devon EX10 0NU
01395 578222
www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk