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Martin Hewitt - My life on a plate 1

Martin Hewitt – My life on a plate

Featured in issue 40 – October 2019

Martin Hewitt - My life on a plate 2Who are you and where do you work?
I’m Martin Hewitt and I am the Head Chef at The White Hart in Hingham. I have been here for two years and I love it. Hingham has such an array of quality ingredients and enthusiastic diners.

Where did you train?
I trained initially in North Notts College. At that time, in the mid-80s, there was a lack of quality dining establishments in the North of England just after the Miners’ Strike, so I learnt my trade properly and enjoyed 15 years in high end hotels in the West End of London and the last 10 years in Norfolk.  

Who is your favourite chef?
Brian Turner, without a doubt. Like myself, he was frustrated about the lack of opportunities in the North of England during that time and he took himself off to London and started from scratch at The Savoy before working his way to the top and having his own restaurants.  

What three ingredients do you always have in the cupboard?
Randomly, the three things I always have are chillies, garlic and celery salt. I put chillies in almost everything at home. I believe garlic is a staple and I can’t eat eggs without celery salt.

What’s your foodie guilty pleasure?
I’m quite traditional, with a Sunday roast being my favourite meal. I also can’t resist a bag of Haribo, and ice cream.  

Describe a perfect meal
Again, it would a Sunday roast in the garden at home by the lake or going for an Indian with friends. I always think it’s a novelty to have someone cook a delicious meal for me and, as my current menus have an English style to them, I like to dine further afield and try more eclectic cuisines.

Where do you like to eat out in Norfolk and beyond?
I try not to eat at the same place twice. I love to find off the beaten track country pubs where I can usually find some new inspiration and ideas, and also new places which are currently talked about favourably by word of mouth. I do have a soft spot for The Crown Hotel at Wells and their Black Slate starter.

Tell us something we don’t know about you
I cooked on TV with Gary Rhodes and Brian Turner on UK TV Food back in around 2008. I was also lucky enough to cook for the Queen whilst I was cheffing for the Australian and New Zealand High Commission. I believe she enjoyed my meal…

A favourite tipple?
Like all chefs I do enjoy a refreshing lager with my team after a busy evening but my real passion is for a gin and tonic. At The White Hart, I love that they serve in the traditional gin glasses with juniper berries to enhance
the flavour.

What are your foodie predictions for the next few months?
Recently we launched plant based, whole food dishes which are naturally vegan. This has been a huge success and we have seen a massive rise in meat eaters opting for a vegan dish as something lighter. There is a lot more on offer in the way of vegan options which makes providing these thoroughly enjoyable and a new string to my bow. 

Christmas is around the corner – what’s planned for the festive season at The White Hart?
We have launched our two or three-course Christmas Party Menu which runs throughout November and December (and January is possible, also). We naturally have our Christmas Day Special Lunch but this year we are
making sure that everyone feels welcome and thought about, and we are providing a Vegan Christmas Dinner throughout: Meatless Breast, ‘Happy Pigs in Blanket’, Homemade Stuffing, Roasted Root Vegetables and Chef’s
Vegan Gravy.  

 

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