It’s been a month since my last service in Ludlow, writes celebrity chef Will Holland. I left on a high, serving my food to my loyal guests and demonstrating to thousands of people at the town’s food festival.
After seven hard years in the kitchen at La Becasse, working approximately 80 hours per week, I’m enjoying a little relaxation. I’ve been able to do some of the things that I simply couldn’t do when I ran the restaurant.
For instance, I’ve been able to experience a wide variety of other restaurants. I know that sounds strange but a lot of restaurants are shut on the same days which limits your choices.
Now that’s changed, so I’ve been able to enjoy a number of great meals out.
But you can’t keep a chef from the kitchen and last week I had the privilege of cooking with one of the region’s best.
John Williams runs The Pound, at Leebotwood, near Shrewsbury, and once a year he organises a gourmet night, when he cooks eight courses for guests.
John has an exceptional pedigree: he was the chef and owner at Shrewsbury’s only Michelin started restaurant, Sol, some years ago. He’s also one of a very small number of Master Chefs of Great Britain. He has cooked for a long time at the highest level.
I’ve always been a fan of The Pound and I eat there regularly. John knew I’d got a little spare time and invited me to help him in the kitchen. We were clear about who was in charge – I was in John’s kitchen and we were cooking his food – and I really enjoyed working under him.
It was good to put a chef’s jacket on and work alongside such a fantastic chef. We were serving eight courses to 25 guests – that’s 200 plates of food – and every plate had to be perfect.
There were a number of dishes that stood out, have given me some inspiration and I’m itching to get back into a kitchen again soon.
* Will Holland is a multi-award-winning Shropshire chef who formerly ran Ludlow’s La Becasse Restaurant, on Corve Street and is famed for his appearances on James Martin’s Saturday Kitchen and BBC TV’s Great British Menu.