Chef Adam Handling at Royal Ascot

By Poppy Millett -

 

Renowned for his creative flair and innovative techniques, we were incredibly excited to learn that Chef Adam Handling will be making his Royal Ascot debut this year. Handling will take the role of Chef in Residence at The Balmoral - a brand new, fine dining restaurant in the Royal Enclosure; a restaurant whose name sets the tone perfectly…

Said to evoke the spirit of the Scottish Highlands, Image removed.The Balmoral will serve the very best of British ingredients, including Scottish seafood, Royal Estate beef, locally sourced, artisanal cheese and - for those with a sweet tooth - indulgent afternoon teas. Though, despite this seemingly traditional fare, diners can rely on Handling to surprise and delight with the ingenuity of his cooking methods and flavour combinations: Beef Wellington with broccoli and hollandaise anyone? Yes please.

Adam has collaborated with Sodexo on a range of initiatives this past year - running masterclasses with our chefs and judging dishes at Sodexo’s annual culinary showcase, Salon Culinaire. So, it’s with an informed opinion and a plate-load of enthusiasm that we anticipate Adam’s Ascot inauguration.

We spoke to Adam about his food philosophies, his creativity and his upcoming stint at The Balmoral.

 

The Balmoral’s concept is based on a summer in the Scottish Highlands, how did you use this as inspiration for your menus?

For me, the inspiration really came from Scotland’s incredible produce which has such great flavour. I’ve created a barbecued mackerel dish which evokes memories of a Scottish summer barbecue, but Scotland’s also not renowned for it’s sunny weather (!) so I’ve also got a Beef Wellington which is wrapped in delicious Scottish haggis and is a real comfort on those rainy days.

 

With a strong emphasis on British food at The Balmoral, what is it that appeals to you about sourcing British and British cooking as whole?

I’m very proud of being Scottish and as a chef, I’ve always tried to showcase the best of British seasonal ingredients. I’ve travelled so much all over the world and I’ve been known for using international cuisine as one of my inspirations, but I always try and create that using as much British produce as possible. The quality of British ingredients is superb, and I will always use the best products I have available to me and that’s exactly the ethos behind The Balmoral.

 

You opened your first restaurant at 26 years old and have gone on to launch many successful restaurants and eateries since including Frog by Adam Handling and The Frog E1.  As someone who has achieved a tremendous amount at a young age, what drives you?

I’ve always been a very competitive person by nature, and I’m always thinking about what’s next and how I can improve. The hospitality industry is so fast-paced and it’s important to keep up with that. I love cooking, and it might be a cliché but I’m a big believer in the idea that if you’re going to do something, you’ve got to do it right. Not just right, but make it great. I want to be proud of every plate that leaves my kitchen.

 

Have any, and if so what, personal experiences have influenced your cooking?

I’ve travelled a lot in my life – when I was younger, I spent a few years living in Germany and I’ve also spent a lot of time travelling round Asia. It’s still my favourite place to go on holiday. It’s important for me to take my experience of different cuisines across the world, the look, taste, and smell of different foods, and think about how I can incorporate that into my style of cooking. As a chef, you have to constantly be exploring with food, connecting dots and always creating and adding to your repertoire. People are important, too – food is so personal and different people in countries all over the world have different tastes and preferences, and they can introduce you to so many interesting things.

 
You have a ‘no waste’ approach to running your estate of restaurants and businesses - could you speak a little about this?

The idea for Bean & Wheat [Handling’s London-based group of sustainable delicatessens] actually came about because we didn’t want to waste any ingredients – there were certain cuts of meats and vegetables that we weren’t using at the restaurant and I hated the idea of wasting them. So we take them, turn them into something else, and sell them at Bean & Wheat. I buy whole ducks for the restaurant but I don’t use the liver – why not turn it into a duck liver parfait? That’s actually one of my favourites! I’ve really been trying to focus on the sustainability of the group as a whole – we grow our own produce at our farm in Sussex and we use every inch of those ingredients, whether that’s in the restaurant or at Bean & Wheat. I think the biggest challenge, not just for me but for the industry as a whole, is encouraging people to make the most of and enjoy off-cuts and not see them as leftovers, or waste. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with them – they’re just different parts of the ingredient and are just as delicious and nutritious.

 

To learn more about Adam’s delicious menus at The Balmoral restaurant, click here. Available to book at +44 (0)344 346 0346 |hospitality@ascot.co.uk

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