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David ' Billy' Brown - My life on a plate 1

David ‘ Billy’ Brown – My life on a plate

Featured in issue 42 – December 2019/January 2020

David ' Billy' Brown - My life on a plate 2Who are you and where do you work?
My name is David ‘Billy’ Brown and I am the head chef at The Hare Arms in Stow Bardolph, which is a small village near Downham Market. I have worked there continuously for 32 years!

Where did you train?
I trained at the College of West Anglia, King’s Lynn, for two years, but to be honest, most of my training has been through experience.

Who is your favourite chef?
Probably Rick Stein. He is very passionate about seafood and travel which is a perfect combination, and his enthusiasm for local and traditional food is
very inspirational.

What three ingredients do you always have in the cupboard?
Eggs – you can always rustle up something decent with an egg.

Good quality olive oil – staple for dressings and cooking.

Truffle oil – I will literally put that on anything!

What’s your (foodie) guilty pleasure?
A really good traditional roast chicken dinner. When I’ve been travelling abroad I get a craving for it when I get home.

What’s your favourite tipple?
My favourite tipple at the moment is a decent gin and tonic. I am particularly fond of rhubarb flavoured gin with ginger ale but am very much open to trying new flavours. With a meal I enjoy a nice glass of Amerone wine.

Describe a perfect meal
A perfect meal starts with good company. I’ve been lucky to have eaten at some fantastic places; from a small tapas bar in Spain to enjoying Lobster Thermidor overlooking Sydney Harbour. They’ve all been perfect!

Where do you like to eat out in Norfolk and beyond?
I like to try different places but I do like the Duck Inn at Stanhoe and The Victoria at Holkham. If I go into London I like Wahaca in Covent Garden which is basically a Mexican street food restaurant, well priced and tasty. I have recently been to the two Michelin starred Midsummer House Restaurant in Cambridge for my special birthday which was an amazing experience.

Tell us something we don’t know about you
When I first left school I used to make kitchen doors and front doors, and I’ve also cooked for Robbie Williams.

What are your foodie predictions for the next few months?
I’ve noticed on visits to restaurants recently that menus are reducing in size, making them more manageable for chefs. Also, diners are becoming more inquisitive about where ingredients are sourced, with some menus including these details. I’ve even seen some restaurants stating the percentage of food obtained locally within a specific radius. I think these trends will continue.

 

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