Drew Knight, Dylan’s at the Kings Arms, St Albans on his style of cooking
- Credit: submitted
The chef-proprietor at the St Albans restaurant and bar on sourcing locally, the importance of citrus, and beef dripping triple-cooked chips
Describe your style
Modern British relaxed pub dining.
How do you decide your menu?
By working closely with our suppliers, locally where possible. Inspiration for the menu and daily specials board comes from what produce is best in season and available from the markets.
What Herts producers do you use?
We use Sparshotts fruiterers based in St Albans who provide us with fresh fruit and vegetables on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The majority of our menu and daily specials are provided by St Albans Market as we prefer to buy locally-sourced seasonal produce as and when we can.
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Which menu dish do you most enjoy preparing?
Due to our menu always changing, I most enjoy ordering in unusual cuts of the freshest produce to experiment with – especially for sharing dishes for the whole table.
Recently I took a whole ox tail, stuffed, braised and served with different seasonal garnishes. I also love to serve various cuts of our Galician beef imported from San Sebastian as it’s unique and a fantastic sharing option with our beef dripping triple-cooked chips, charred iceberg lettuce and red wine jus.
What ingredient is most important to your cooking?
Citrus – everything from seasoning our fish with lemon juice to zesting a lime into our Scotch Bonnet egg, we use it throughout the menu.
Your best culinary idea?
Dylan’s Snacking Menu. It splits the restaurant from the bar menu and allows us to develop small bites to complement the ever-changing beers on offer. Our Scotch Bonnet egg served with our homemade habanero jam has been on the menu since day one alongside our Beef Shin Chips topped with Colston Bassett stilton.
Who did you train under and what did they teach you?
I trained under Michel Bourdin at the Connaught Hotel in London where I learned classical French cuisine and the basics of every department in the kitchen. Under Angela Hartnett I learned modern fine dining, speed and punctuality, and under Phil Thompson I learned precision cooking, modern techniques and leadership.
Prediction for the next food trend?
A more prominent focus on healthy eating in informal, relaxed environments with emphasis on sharing and family style dishes for the whole table.
What’s in your fridge at home?
Hot sauce, citrus fruits, steak.
Favourite quick meal?
Thai style broth.
Top three tips for amateur cooks?
A notebook, enthusiasm and punctuality.
Mark Hix, Great British Food.