Am Bratach No. 252
October 2012


The Inner Man
by Chris Duckham

And so it’s that time of the year again already, the 2012 season has ended and the restaurant is now closed for winter. As I write the nights are already closing in, nearly everything is stopping growing and it seems natural to call a halt as the seasons suddenly change. People often ask what we do in winter instead of having the restaurant open our usual three nights a week but of course there is always plenty to do behind the scenes and lots of planning to do before we open up again at Easter. This year all the dishes on the menu were completely new and I plan to give our guests the same sense of surprise next year so that returning customers will have a completely new experience. So ideas must be formulated, concepts tried and tested and refined and practised so that I know in good time that they will work in a busier, stressful situation during service. It is good to have the spare time over the winter months to try out some more complicated ideas too. This winter I will work on the new desserts first as some of the components can be technically quite challenging and I could do with the luxury of plenty of time to work on them. Blown sugarwork for the second dessert, I think, and a moulded mousse for the first. The sugarwork is usually great fun of course as long as it is not your turn to clean the kitchen!

New ideas for savoury dishes will come next, then finally canapés and petit fours. Tasting wines for next season’s list is another winter job too. Serviceware needs to be considered at some point as well. This year we have been serving part of a crab dish form pipettes standing in stones from the beach with holes drilled into them. If I had known what hard work it was going to turn out to be to drill all the holes I probably would have thought of another dish but I had already ordered the pipettes so there was nothing for it but to knuckle down to many hours of drilling in the garage. But new dishes will also mean some new ways of presenting them so I may yet be spending cold hours in the garage again after all. Updating and freshening up the restaurant website will be another job to keep me busy during the long dark nights and who knows I might even finally start on the Cote du Nord cookbook. I have been toying with the idea of doing a cook book for some time as it would perhaps make an ideal souvenir for some of our guests. However up until now I haven’t really thought that I have had enough original material to consider it feasible. But having done so many new dishes this summer makes me wonder if I now have sufficient recipes. Time to get all the old menus out and see. Watch this space!

Chris runs the Cote du Nord restaurant at Kirtomy.

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