Something to suit all tastes at the Jersey Gas Spring Lifestyle Show
Tom Ogg meets some of the chefs and foodies who will be showcasing their skills at the big event.
The Jersey Gas Spring Lifestyle Show will be returning in April.
Organised by EC Events and supported by the JEP, the two-day event will see a range of local exhibitors showcasing their products and services at the RJAHS in Trinity.
And among those set to participate will be a number of professional head chefs, cooks and foodies, who will be taking to a purpose-built Pastella stage kitchen to prepare, cook and bake some of their favourite dishes, with hourly demonstrations held throughout the weekend.
Among those taking part will be Wok Fusion chef Chong Yee Loong Low, who will be creating a range of authentic Chinese cuisine, and Number 10 head chef and co-owner Joseph Baker, who will be preparing a number of high-quality dishes using seasonal ingredients. In addition, Jersey Hemp’s David Ryan and his colleagues will be giving a 20-minute talk on the health benefits of their hemp-based products.
Here are some others who will be entertaining Islanders at the free-to-enter event this April.
- Lee Smith, head chef at Ormer
Lee Smith has established a reputation as one of the Island’s top chefs since moving to Jersey as an ambitious 26-year-old in 2006.
The Mansfield-born chef spent seven years working in the kitchen at Bohemia Bar & Restaurant, before then moving to the newly-opened Ormer in 2013, where he took up the position of head chef. Since then, the Michelin-starred restaurant has gone from strength to strength, while Lee’s flare and passion for food has seen him taking part in a number of local initiatives, such as last year’s Let’s Get Cooking Programme in which he and Caring Cooks founder Melissa Nobrega taught schoolchildren how to make the perfect Christmas pudding.
‘I think it is important to show people how rewarding a career in the kitchen can be,’ says Lee. ‘We regularly host groups at Ormer and talk to them about our work and our ethos. I am very proud of what my team have achieved and any opportunity to share that with people is something I always enjoy.’
Not surprisingly then, Lee is looking forward to displaying his cookery skills at this year’s Jersey Gas Spring Lifestyle Show.
‘I think it is really important to get out into the community and find out what people are talking about and what they are interested in when it comes to food. As chefs we cannot hide in the kitchen and just cook what we want to cook – we need to be delivering dishes that people will get excited about.’
To this end, Lee will be cooking dishes that are easy to prepare yet done ‘exceptionally well’.
‘My style of cooking is focused on really simple dishes, but made using the best ingredients I can lay my hands on, and, wherever possible, sourced from local producers. We are so lucky in Jersey, not just with the quality of our produce, but also the care and commitment shown by our growers, farmers and the local fishing community. My job is to showcase their hard work on the plate.
‘Also, it’s good now and then to step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself, and cooking in public can be quite nerve-wracking. One of the things I enjoy about it is the questions you get asked – you have to be on your toes.’
At present, Lee has yet to decide exactly what he will be cooking at the show, although as with so many of his dishes, it will almost certainly incorporate local produce.
‘The dishes will reflect a bit of what we do in the restaurant, but will also be something that people can cook at home,’ he says. ‘Eating should be an experience to enjoy, whether it’s at your own kitchen table or at a Michelin-starred restaurant like Ormer. It is the whole that is important – taste, presentation and the company you share the meal with.’
For more details on Lee’s cooking, visit ormerjersey.com.
- Kate McCullum, founder of Cakefm
‘Cookbooks are now the only literature in my life and the Food Network is my go-to channel on TV’ – so says Kate McCullum on Cakefm.
The popular cookery website – which specialises in homemade cakes, cookies, tarts, pies and ‘flippin’ good flapjacks’ – was founded by St Clement-born Kate in 2014 after she returned to the Island having graduated from Ashburton Cookery School in Devon.
‘I actually took part in the Jersey Gas Spring Lifestyle Show in 2016,’ she says. ‘It was my first experience giving a public cooking demonstration and I was so nervous. I had no previous experience and so I had no idea what to expect, but it turned out surprisingly well and I ended up having lots of fun. I’m a great fan of cookery programmes on television, and with a microphone in my face and a camera on me, it felt like I was a TV chef myself. It was daunting, but I tried to bounce off the energy from the audience and I incorporated a bit of humour to really show others how much fun cooking can be. With this approach, people genuinely seemed to come away from the show inspired to try baking on their own. I loved the feeling that my cooking had encouraged others to try something new.’
Kate says that anyone with a sweet tooth is guaranteed to have their sugary cravings satisfied during her demonstrations.
‘I will be providing lots of chocolatey treats throughout the event and will be selling my delicious selection of brownies. I will also be handing out lots of tips and tricks when I demonstrate how to make Ooey Gooey Chocolate Tart, which is a mouthwatering Cakefm favourite. It’s one of my very favourite desserts to make – and to eat!’
In addition, Kate will be giving a recipe for tarts and offering tips on how to make the perfect pastry, something she perfected during her patisserie course at Ashburton Cookery School.
‘For me, presentation is important, but it’s definitely not as important as taste. I think flavour is key. I’ve tried and tested all of my recipes to make sure the flavour is spot on, and I always use the best ingredients I can to ensure I get great tasting food every time.’
So what then, if push comes to shove, is Kate’s all-time favourite cake?
‘Oh, I have an endless list of cakes and desserts that I love, but if I had to choose I’d say carrot cake would be the winner for me. I’ve worked very hard on my recipe, which I call the Best Ever Carrot Cake on my website. Now I know that’s quite a claim to make, but since perfecting this recipe, I haven’t quite found one that lives up to it anywhere else. It’s deliciously moist, not too sweet and partnered with just the right amount of tangy cream cheese frosting. It’s music in your mouth.’
For more details on Kate’s cakes, visit cakefm-jsy.com.
- Trudie Hairon-Trox, Jersey Walk Adventures guide
Trudie Hairon-Trox will be familiar to most Islanders as a Bronze Badge guide for Jersey Walk Adventures, which she runs along with her husband, Derek.
However, the Bavaria-born travel writer also teaches seaweed foraging classes at Highlands College, during which she and Derek share their experience of collecting, cleaning and cooking seaweeds – or ‘edible sea vegetables’ – and it is this that Trudie will be talking about at the Jersey Gas Spring Lifestyle Show in April.
‘It will give me the opportunity to share knowledge about how to collect and cook our local seaweeds, and the tasty uses they have in cooking,’ she says. ‘I will be showing how to make a variety of simple dishes, from starters and salads to side dishes.’
Trudie is particularly looking forward to cooking one of her favourite dishes – smoked mackerel paté and Jersey Royal with sea vegetables – and says newcomers are often surprised by just how tasty seaweed-based dishes can be.
‘There are many who only know seaweed as an ingredient in sushi. Most people have rarely tasted seaweed in any other form, unless they come from Ireland or Wales, so I am looking forward to highlighting the versatility of edible sea vegetables.’
- Daniel Bracewell, head chef at Bracewell’s
Someone else who enjoys cooking with sea vegetables is Daniel Bracewell, who is head chef at Bracewell’s Restaurant, which he co-runs with his partner, Mary Michael.
Previously, the St Brelade-based eatery has offered diners a special ‘seaweed set menu’, which featured such dishes as seaweed soup, seaweed-flavoured bread, tagliarini with seaweed and even sushi ice cream with wasabi, ginger and, of course, seaweed.
And it was Daniel’s talent for cooking with seaweed that led Bracewell’s Restaurant regular Trudie Hairon-Trox to suggest he join her in taking part in the Jersey Gas Spring Lifestyle Show.
‘Trudie often recommends people to come to Bracewell’s because of the way I do scallops, fish and seaweed dishes,’ says Daniel. ‘Individual seaweeds vary hugely in how they taste. I find people are sometimes hesitant when considering whether to choose a seaweed dish to eat. However, they are usually very pleasantly surprised and often ask for the same dish the next time they visit the restaurant.’
The Liberian-born chef says he particularly enjoys creating food that has the element of surprise and, as such, he intends to cook some unexpected combinations of ingredients at the show in April.
‘There will be a variety of tastes, but as with any surprise, I don’t want to give too much away beforehand,’ he laughs. ‘I’d prefer to let the food to do the talking.’
Due to work commitments, Daniel will only be attending the show on the Sunday (‘I will be at my restaurant on Saturday’), but as anyone who has spoken with him at Bracewell’s will know, he is sure to give a thoroughly entertaining cookery masterclass.
‘I have done public cooking demonstrations in both London and Switzerland and I always enjoy showing people how easy cooking can be,’ he says. ‘I like to pass on some tips on organisation, preparation and timing, which will hopefully help others. I’m sure taking part in the show is going to be an interesting experience.’
For more details on Daniel’s cooking, visit bracewells.je.
- Trizia Clarke, Italian chef
She may have been born and raised in Cambridge, but there are few who are more proud of their Italian roots than Trizia Clarke.
A prominent member of the Jersey Association for Italian Cuisine, Trinity-based Trizia runs her own home-cooking business, Trizia’s Italian Kitchen, in which she teaches budding chefs how to bring a taste of the Mediterranean into their kitchens. In addition, she also co-organised and co-hosted last year’s Viva Italia, an Italian-themed festival which saw celebrity chef Gino d’Acampo visiting Jersey to give Islanders a live cookery demonstration.
This time, however, it will be Trizia herself who will be demonstrating her cooking talents, with a slot at the Jersey Gas Spring Lifestyle Show in April in which she will showcase the many sights, smells and tastes of her authentic Italian cooking.
‘It’s such an exciting event,’ says the married mother-of-two. ‘Spring is also my favourite time of the year as it is then that lots of Jersey’s produce is at its best. I can’t wait to show some of it off in my recipes.’
Among the Italian dishes Trizia will be preparing at the show are tortellini, which stems from the north-east region of Emilia-Romagna, and ‘real’ spaghetti carbonara from Rome.
‘It’s so satisfying to show how real carbonara is made, with no cream, no garlic and no mushrooms,’ she says. ‘I love bringing recipes to life and showing people that cooking meals from scratch is easy, and that the results are not only better for you but much more delicious than ready-made meals.
‘Of course, as a mum I have to make sure my food looks good as well to encourage my children to try everything – and I’m pleased to say I’ve raised two foodies.’
For more details on Trizia’s cooking, visit Trizia’s Italian Kitchen on Facebook.
- The Jersey Gas Spring Lifestyle Show opens on Saturday 21 April 2018 at 10 am, with the first demonstration at 11 am, and further demonstrations hourly until 7 pm throughout the weekend. The show is free to enter, with free parking outside. For further details visit www.ec-jersey.com