Chef of the moment . . . Tim Turner, The Jockey Club Rooms, Newmarket

Tim Turner

Tim Turner - Credit: Archant

With the racing season in full swing, the Newmarket chef is busier than ever

What’s your background and training?

I started my career 27 years ago and I began work experience at Colchester Mill Hotel while at school. I then took a job at the mill as a commis chef when I left school. I was trained in classical cooking which I have adapted over the years to put my skills into modern

day cookery.

What inspired you to become a chef?

My mum was a chef and my sister is a pastry chef so I was always around food. I was also taught butchery and all the other sections of a busy hotel which soon inspired me to make this my career. It’s a lifestyle not just a 9-5 job.

What’s on your spring/summer menu?

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On my spring menu I try to use as much local produce as possible. There are so many great ingredients in Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. I use Norfolk crabs, Dedham Vale beef, Dingley Dell pork, asparagus from Kings Lynn and vegetables straight from the farmers field from across Norfolk. Even Suffolk chorizo is a fantastic product better than most Spanish chorizos. I work closely with suppliers and use what’s in season and my way of cooking is to use several different cuts of pork, beef and lamb rather than just using the prime cuts.

What’s inspiring you right now?

This time of year is my best season because of all the great produce coming through the door, trying new ingredients, speaking to suppliers, going to markets and seeing the abundance of local produce – you can’t help but get inspired and get back to the kitchen and try new recipes. Recently, the introduction into dry-aged Dingley Dell pork was amazing, it holds such a different taste and texture to standard pork. I always have it on my

menus now.

What is your style of cooking?

My style of cooking is modern with a classical twist. Working at The Jockey Club Rooms I get to cook all different styles of cuisine from simple traditional to fine dining seven course tasting menus, using all local and seasonal produce.

Who is your favourite chef?

My favourite chef is Massimo Bottura from Osteria Francescana in Italy. His attention to detail and simplicity is amazing and his food is more than a meal, it’s a plate of art. My ambition is to eat at his restaurant.

What are you favourite types of dishes to cook?

My favourite dish to cook is Thai food especially when I’m at home; it is simple fresh and healthy. I also like cooking fresh pasta dishes. My son, who is three only eats pasta, so I try new dishes on him first.

What are you looking forward to this season?

We are full swing into the flat (horse) racing season so we will be very busy with meals pre and post racing. Later, we then come to non-member events which include open house sunday lunches each month, private birthday and anniversary parties and business events. Our next open house fine dining night is June 12 so there are plenty of menus to be written. We have 21 bedrooms often filled with guests both member and non-member, depending on the time of year, so there is always breakfast to do.

What do you like or feel is unique about your restaurant?

The Jockey Club Rooms is such a unique venue. I’ve never worked anywhere like it before, every day is different no two days are the same. With the history and grandeur of the building I feel very privileged to be the head chef.

Why should people visit?

It has been great that we have been able to open the doors to the public to be able to come in and see the artwork and the fine rooms while still maintaining the historic club as an exclusive home-from-home for our members during sacrosanct periods. Non-member guests can come for a tour followed by traditional afternoon tea in the main dinning room, Sunday lunch which is extremely popular, fine dining nights and they are able to book a private party. The setting also makes an amazing place to get married.

I would highly recommend all to come to one of the open house events as there really isn’t anywhere around like The Jockey Club Rooms. Guests can eat in grandeur and try some of the best local produce where everything is freshly prepared and cooked with care and attention. n

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