Meet the Chef: Dino Pavledis of Terre a Terre

Dino Pavledis is head chef at Brighton's renowned vegetarian restaurant, Terre �  Terre. He started at the restaurant in 2000 as a chef de partie

What is your signature dish?Better batter, which is buttermilk soaked halloumi in crispy chip shop batter, topped with lemony yemeni relish, served with minty mushy peas, vodka spiked tomatoes, pickled quail's eggs and sea salad tartare sauce.

Tell us about the dish: its name, what’s in it (if not a secret), why you like cooking it and why it is specialIt’s one of the most successful and best-loved dishes on the menu and one I can call my own. It’s a rather fitting tribute to the kitsch, kiss me quick Brighton seaside, although there’s nothing fishy here, only hot, light batter encasing soft, fleshy halloumi. It’s accompanied by lemony pickle, a smudge of comforting, familiar minty mushy peas and the most grown-up tomatoes you can imagine (do they still count as one of your five a day if they’re drenched in vodka?). Delicate quail’s eggs and accompanying sea salad tartare sauce unify the dish, a celebration of piquant, salty, straight from-the-sea tastes. Recipe available in our cook book, Terre � Terre: The Vegetarian Cookbook.

How long have you been a chef?  Since I was out of training at about age 21

What made you want to become a chef?  My mum... her cooking... living in our family hotel on the Isle of Wight

Where did you start your career?I grew up in my parents’ hotel on the Isle of Wight where I learnt cooking from my mum, who was a great head chef. After a couple of years at college I worked in several five star hotels in the UK before joining the Terre � Terre team

Who has influenced you most?Ms Amanda Powley – one of my bosses and an inspirational chef. She continues to be the executive chef at Terre � Terre, and we all work together to develop and change the menu every two or three months. Her incredible vision and desire to create challenging meat-free food has made Terre � Terre what it is today and contributed to a change in the national perception of vegetarianism.

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What do you enjoy most about being a chef?The team...and when it all comes together in the end!

Your top cookery tip for readers?Time... great food needs time to cook and develop.

Your must-have kitchen gadget?I love my Moulis, it makes the most perfect vegetable spaghetti.

Who would you like to cook for?Joyce Molyneux of Carved Angel.  While so many London chefs were experimenting with nouvelle cuisine in the 1970s and 1980s she was focusing on good quality, well-sourced ingredients prepared simply.

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