Chef profile - Ray Moody, Santos Higham Farm Hotel & Restaurant
PUBLISHED: 00:00 08 June 2018
Ray Moody, head chef at Santo’s Higham Farm Hotel near Alfreton, answers questions and shares two favourite recipes from their newly-launched menu
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I’ve been a chef for 27 years, starting out on a Youth Training Scheme many moons ago. I’ve lived in Derbyshire nearly all my life and started training at the Gateway Hotel in Nottingham when it first opened – that is actually where I first met Santo.
How would you describe your approach to food?
I ensure that we always use local ingredients where possible. I also have the added bonus of an extensive herb garden and apple and pear trees.
Tell us about your menu:
The entire menu changes with the seasons, right down to the light bites. It has a diverse feel – from classic favourites to curry – and we are just starting to collate a fresh-tasting menu ready for summer.
Which dish would you most recommend?
The 12-hour belly pork with saag aloo, carrot bhajiis, pickled raisins and tikka foam.
Which ingredient could you not live without?
Seasoning. Salt and pepper are universal and change the flavour of a dish.
Any career highlights?
Training young chefs – seeing them flourish, their confidence and passion come through and watching them excel.
What has been your most memorable meal?
It was a filet mignon cooked perfectly by a local chef – the same day I proposed to my wife, Kerry.
Who would be your dream dinner party guests?
My mother, grandmother and grandfather because they never got to see what I have achieved.
What would you choose as your last meal on earth?
A large bowl of Haribo sweets – I’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth and I’m young at heart!
Which chef is your greatest inspiration?
Robert Brown – ‘the grey flash’. He was old-school and would show you something once, then a second time and if you didn’t know it by then, God help you! Saying that, he would explain it in such a way that you didn’t need telling a third time. He took the time to really show what he knew.
What advice would you give to a novice?
Ask questions – and taste. Prepare to fail but never give up! It’s a hard, demanding trade but the rewards are great. u
Santo’s Higham Farm Hotel, Main Rd, Higham, Alfreton, 01773 833812, santoshighamfarm.co.uk