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In the Kitchen with… Richard Valder

Taste Buds talks to the Head Chef of @Angela’s Restaurant in Exeter

What is your inspiration?
I have lived and worked most of my life in the West Country: it’s got everything you could need, including fabulous fish from our amazing coast, along with excellent meat and game. For me, getting around to see my suppliers and selecting the best produce in Devon is my inspiration.

Must-try dish on your menu?
To start, I recommend the fresh squid in chilli breadcrumbs with a lemon and herb mayonnaise. For the main course, try the fillet of Brixham turbot and scallops with a tarragon and lemon beurre, or loin of venison with a dark chocolate and red wine jus. I would choose the iced caramelised pecan nut parfait for dessert.

Sum up your cooking style in three words?

Classic, fresh, genuine.

Local produce to eat now?
Asparagus – one of the most popular starters this time of year. As per my cooking style, I make some fresh hollandaise and serve it steamed.

Do you prefer to eat in/out?
When we are at home, we enjoy the company of friends and family. We’re looking forward to summer for a few family BBQs (or ‘braai’ as the South African side of our family say). When we eat out, we always choose an independent restaurant and support local.

Top tip for budding chefs?
Listen to your peers, you never stop learning. I have been cooking since I was 15 and this year I turn 50, so 35 years and still time to get it right! I buy a new book, take a chocolate or cookery course each year to learn more, improve a technique, or find out something new. 

Favourite food gadget?
The Thermomix. When I am working on my own, this machine is like a commis chef. Switch it on, set the temperature and timer, and you can get on with something else, knowing the end result will be great.

What is the most unusual thing you have cooked/eaten?
I have eaten crocodile, in South Africa. Not really my cup of tea!

@Angela's Restaurant
38 New Bridge Street Exeter
Devon EX4 3AH
01392 499038
angelasrestaurant.co.uk