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I loved food as a child--growing up in a large family, helping my mother in her large vegetable garden--but I didn’t think of it as a career until I was about 16 years old. I began to work part-time at a restaurant where I was told I had talent. I’m inspired nowadays by observing the seasons, sampling other restaurants, and traveling to other food regions. Recently, I was in Istanbul, which I found very interesting in the way east and west come together there. Last week it was France.
The Dartmoor lamb of Devon is unique in terms of the way it’s bred, pastured and slaughtered, and of course for its flavor and texture. I’ve had the same supplier since I arrived at Gidleigh Park. We get young lambs in the spring and summer. Later in the year, when the lambs are older, we age the meat to tenderize it and bring out its flavor. I cook the saddle sous vide, then grill it in whipped butter. The spring lamb is served with boulangère potatoes, confit shoulder, fennel purée and tapenade jus. I use a little mint in the oil blend, and I coat the lamb with Dijon mustard to make a crust.