Featured in issue 45 – April 2020
Who are you and where do you work?
I am Ionut Blana. I work for Brasted’s restaurant plus the events and catering side of the business, Complete & Utter Brasted’s.
Where did you train?
I trained in a city called Lasi in Romania, which is where I grew up and lived for the first 27 years of my life.
Who is your favourite chef?
Aside from the chefs at Brasted’s, Gordan Ramsay and Jamie Oliver – two very different chefs but I like them for two very different reasons. I like Ramsay’s temperament as he is straight to the point and knows what he wants, as well as what he is looking for in a dish. However, I like the ethos and style of Jamie’s cooking; wholesome meals at home with the family.
What three ingredients do you always have in the cupboard?
Milk, eggs and flour – I’m always ready for pancakes!
What’s your (foodie) guilty pleasure?
Fish and chips with a pint of beer by the seaside, preferably with the kids playing quietly nearby!
What’s your favourite tipple?
It has to be a classic gin and tonic; something like Tanqueray with a slice of lemon and plenty of ice and, of course, it has to be a double! It’s very refreshing after a long shift in a hot kitchen.
Describe a perfect meal
Something that is so tasty that I am wiping my plate clean with a piece of bread to make sure I don’t miss out on a single drop of the dish. This usually happens when I have a curry and am mopping up all the sauce with my naan bread.
Where do you like to eat out in Norfolk and beyond?
I love to cook for my family so we rarely go out but, on the occasions we do venture out, a gastro pub is the ideal spot for us all to enjoy. However, when we go back to visit Romania, it is an absolute must that we go to a restaurant that only serves Romanian food. We get so used to eating English food, and I love living and working here, but it is bliss to go back and enjoy the food I ate growing up.
Tell us something we don’t know about yourself
Back in Romania I was a semi-professional footballer.
What are your foodie predictions for the next few months?
I’m not sure about the next few months as these things take time, however, in the future I definitely think that molecular dining (the blending of physics and chemistry to produce transformations of ingredients and textures – think Heston Blumenthal and say transparent ravioli) is going
to be popular.