New chef praises local produce

A NEW chef is full of praise for the local produce he uses in his cuisine.Rufus Wickham, the new head chef at Adnams Crown Hotel, is looking forward this weekend to dishing up line-caught cod he bought off the boat of a Southwold fisherman.

A NEW chef is full of praise for the local produce he uses in his cuisine.

Rufus Wickham, the new head chef at Adnams Crown Hotel, is looking forward this weekend to dishing up line-caught cod he bought off the boat of a Southwold fisherman.

"I like to go down to the harbour and see if any of the boats are flying their flags to say they've brought in a catch," he said.

"I like to have a chat about their fish, and then buy it to cook for the restaurant. I have just bought some locally caught brill which is superfresh and delicious."


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He moved to Reydon with his wife Mifawny and young son Oscar to start work at the Crown last month, and is so far very happy to exchange the fast pace of life and crowded tube, for a bicycle and bosses who insist he takes time off to be with his family.

"I love cycling over the bridge into Southwold and seeing the sun rise," he said. "It's a perfect place to bring up a family."

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Mr Wickham trained as a chef with Pierre Koffman, who also trained Marco Pierre White – "he trained all the best chefs," he said.

"People ask me what my favourite ingredient is and I say salt," he said.

"The truth is I like all food, and believe cooking is a holistic thing – it's about finding the right balance for lots of different things, like a choir that sings together."

He strongly believes that a chef is just one ingredient in the process – the other kitchen staff all have an essential part to play too.

"I couldn't do it on my own," he said, and to prove it insisted on the rest of his team being photographed with him to reflect the fact.

In the past he has cooked in Kensington Palace, La Tante Clair and the River Café. He has also catered for film stars at Cannes festival, and spent time in the Caribbean.

He said his greatest influence is the simple but excellent cooking of Provence, France.

"I believe in using local ingredients, and food that has been caught or grown in an environmentally friendly way. I love the simple food that has been tried and tested, and is cooked well."

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