A taste of the exotic

Ian Dick, head chef at The Green Dragon, Cockleford, near Cowley, Gloucestershire

Ian Dick, head chef at The Green Dragon, Cockleford, near Cowley, Gloucestershire - Credit: Archant

From Hong Kong to Cornwall, Ian Dick has tasted good food far and wide, but he’s more than happy with a Kronenbourg in the Cotswolds

• What is your earliest memory of food?

My earliest memory was as a child making scrambled eggs for breakfast, with my mum in our kitchen at home.

• Tell us about your menu.

I always use the freshest of ingredients with seasonal availability, and try to balance the menu for both price and variety.

• How often do you change the menu?

I change two or three dishes on starters and main courses on our weekly menu, and I have a daily specials board.

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• Which dish would you recommend to a customer

This is very dependent on the seasons, but the most popular is our fish pie.

• What initiated your interest in cooking?

When I was young I lived in Hong Kong and travelled to many exotic places with my family. Trying different and unusual foods sparked my initial interest, and I always knew that I didn’t want to work in an office. I thrive on a fast-paced environment.

• How would you describe your approach to food?

I always try to keep things as simple as possible, using the freshest, least expensive ingredients which helps keep our dishes good value for money.

• What advice would you give to a novice?

If you are passionate and enjoy cooking the position is very fulfilling, but at the same time understand that to get to the top, long and unsociable hours are part of the job.

• Have you had any cooking disasters?

I worked in a hotel and I was catering for a wedding of 70 guests. On the menu for the main course we had roast pork. The wedding co-ordinator had made a mistake and it was actually roast beef instead. She told me an hour before service. Luckily one of our sister hotels had a carvery and we used their meat which was transported to us.

• What has been your most memorable meal?

It was in Penang, Indonesia, at the Rasa Sayang Hotel where I had fillet steak with pepper sauce cooked at the table (Gueridon style).

• Which chef has been your greatest inspiration?

Gary Rhodes as a TV presenter is very clear and doesn’t make it complicated. Paul Rankin is my biggest inspiration professionally – fantastic chef.

• What is your favourite local ingredient?

Canon of lamb, which unfortunately we can only use at Christmas because it’s so expensive.

• What’s in your fridge at home?

I love filtered milk and always make sure I have some on my cereal. I also have antipasti, meats, cheeses, fresh fruit, vegetables and chocolate ice cream.

• What’s your favourite local restaurant?

My favourite local restaurant in Cheltenham is Prithvi as it reminds me of my time travelling in Asia, and it’s just so different from any other Indian restaurant. The very best restaurant I would travel to in the UK is Nathan Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen in Port Isaac, Cornwall.

• Why should people visit you?

The team we have at the Green Dragon Inn are very good and have been there a long time. You are only as good as your team. Plus the pub has also got so much history and character, with the traditional open log fires.

• What would you recommend about the local area?

I am a really keen cyclist and photographer, so when I’m cycling around I get to see things I miss when I drive. We have some of the most picturesque roads, villages and stunning settings in the Cotswolds.

• What would you choose for your last meal on earth

Tough one to answer, really. On one hand I would like it to be a huge calorie-laden cheeseburger with fries and a pint of Kronenbourg. But on the other hand, maybe some fresh mussels in a Thai broth followed by a rack of lamb and Dauphinoise potatoes, with a selection of fine wines… or maybe both!


This article is from the October 2014 issue of Cotswold Life magazine