Hi and welcome to the first of our series of interviews with local chefs and food writers!
This week we chat to Belle Du Brighton from www.bdbrighton.blogspot.com you can also follow her on twitter @belledubrighton
Do you like living in the South East? and Why?
I love it, Brighton has been my home for just over 6 years and I only lived a little way along the coast before that. I am so happy to have the beach on my doorstep, and the South Downs literally a bus ride away! I love the view from Devils Dyke almost as much as the West Pier in the sunset (this must be the most photographed view in Brighton I think!)
With London stealing a lot of the limelight in the restaurant scene do you think towns like Brighton are underexposed?
Definitely, although I do think that we are starting to close the gap! Working in a hotel I get to speak to a lot of visitors and the general feeling I’ve been getting recently is that there is SO much ‘choice’ in London, but not a lot of quality. Generally the places that are really over hyped in the press become over crowded and poor quality, I have experienced this in London too, and I now ensure that I choose somewhere that has been personally recommended to me. I’m sure there are towns and cities all over the UK with talented chefs preparing amazing dishes, and hopefully with the advent of sites like trip advisor these restaurants will really stand out and continue to excel!
What do you think the local food scene is missing? Why?
Brighton has so many amazing restaurants that cater for world cuisines, from Italian food, to North African cuisine and everything in between, that I sometimes feel like you cant get a good ‘proper’ English type of dish. I’m thinking Gourmet pies or Beef Wellington, or even some really good homemade soups. Many local (non chain!) pubs do great roasts on a Sunday, but a pretty average menu of burgers and the like during the week!
Who is your favourite chef?
It’s probably got to be my Mum. She has an amazing array of pudding that she can produce at the drop of a hat, all the recipes are stored safely in her memory and her chocolate cheesecake is absolutely divine. Her savoury dishes are pretty good to, and she makes a mean humus too! although I have to say that the roles have reversed recently and she comes to me for Christmas Dinner each year now! I worked as a Kitchen Manager in hotel, but prefer to cook for pleasure now! If I had to choose a celebrity chef I think it would have to be good old Delia, her recipes never fail!
What is your favourite local restaurant?
This is a tricky one, because I have a few go to places dependent on the occasion! For a quick and easy meal it would have to be Pompoko on Church street. Their Japanese food is amazing, and I have been reliably informed it is pretty authentic too! (Plus I am not a fan of sushi, so places like Yo! Sushi don’t appeal to me at all!)
For a more formal occasion or celebration it would be the Ginger Pig on the Hove border, great wine list and perfectly presented food, or the Chilli Pickle on Jubilee street, nouveau Indian at its finest!
How do you think social media is helping the local community?
Tripadvisor and other similar websites can be as damaging to local business and community that helpful. It takes one bad review (which can sometimes be exaggerated!) for a reputation to be tarnished, but saying that I think ‘word of mouth’ is now more powerful than ever, with the advent of twitter, facebook and other platforms. I think as long as business are willing take constructive criticism on board then it isn’t all bad, as it ensures people know what their customers really want! Luckily good news tends to travel further than bad!