Heading up one of the capital’s hottest openings of the year is no easy task. The Harrods Dining Hall’s summer launch saw Executive Chef Andy Cook and his team running on all cylinders to ensure that guests left having received the best experience that lived up to Harrods’ high standards.
Featuring the freshest ingredients and produce available, the Harrods Dining Hall is made up of The Pasta Bar, The Grill, The Wine Bar, The Sushi Bar, The Fish Bar, and the authentic Indian Kama by Vineet.
Having visited the historic department store as a child, Cook wanted to bring the same excitement and sense of wonder to each person who visited the iconic art deco-tiled hall. From his tips for cooking the perfect steak to his pick for the UK’s rising star chef, Luxury Lifestyle Magazine gets the scoop on all things food with Chef Andy Cook.
Could you tell me about your team and how you go about menu development?
I have a great team of chefs at Harrods. We work on dishes together, discuss ideas and produce every day whilst also collaborating on the menus for the restaurants. Anyone in the kitchen is allowed to input into the creative process from the commis chefs to the head chefs. This is great as we are all continually learning from each other.
What is your current favourite dish at the Dining Hall?
Lobster cheese toastie at The Fish Bar and also the dry-aged heritage bread ribeye steak at The Grill.
What is the secret to cooking the perfect steak?
Seasoning is something that people always underestimate. The perfect steak requires good quality fine rock of sea salt and cracked black pepper before cooking. Ideally a wood charcoal grill will give the best flavour which is how the steaks are cooked in the Dining Hall.
Alternatively, if cooking on a stove, make sure to use a heavy bottomed pan. If you want to take things to another level then at this point, add a spoon of salted butter to the pan, a clove of crush garlic and some thyme. Let the butter foam and then baste over the steak until its reached your desired cooking temperature.
Always make sure to rest the meat on a rack for a couple of minutes before serving. This helps to settle the juices inside so they do not all escape when you cut in to it.
You have cooked in cities all over the world. Which was your favourite and why?
Living in California was amazing. I can say that the produce I used was some of the best in the world.
Which up-and-coming UK chef do you currently have your eye on and are most excited about?
London now has so many rising stars so it is difficult to choose. I had an outstanding meal at Kebab Queen recently. The Chef, Manu Canales, has produced really simple and well-executed flavours.
When you´re not at Harrods, where can we find you drinking and dining?
Soho is great for late night cocktails, and East London is great for dinner. My favourite spot has to be Smokestack. No one else can compare with David Carter when it comes to BBQ and smoking.