Q and A: Jarrold Executive Chef Nick Harris
From family carveries in The Pantry to refined lunches and afternoon teas at Benji’s, when it comes to food and drink at Jarrold it’s more than just cheese scones and tea – just ask executive chef Nick Harris.
There is no doubt that the cheese scone is what Jarrold is famous for. Get into the city early enough and you can smell the daily batch of cheesy treats cooking in the oven (scones are made daily from around 5.30am). In fact, many of our loyal customers will come in frequently for morning coffee and a cheese scone, and many would say that it is one of the best scones they have tasted.
The popularity of the Jarrold cheese scone is seconded by the decadent afternoon teas served daily from 2.30pm at Benji’s on the first floor and the traditional lunchtime carvery at the third floor Pantry, but if you think that this is all Jarrold has to offer to tempt your tastebuds, think again.
In charge of the Jarrold kitchen’s across all cafes and restaurants is executive chef Nick Harris. A member of The Craft Guild of Chefs and the Masterchefs of Great Britain, Nick has cooked for HRH Queen Elizabeth, Kylie Minogue and Elton John – to name a few. Having worked at prestigious establishments such as The Lanesborough in London’s West End, Nick believes food should be fun as well as enjoyable, curating delicious menus using a wealth of seasonal produce and independent local suppliers.
Jarrold editor Emma Harrowing grabbed him after a busy lunchtime shift to find out more…
When did you become a professional chef?
I have been a professional chef for the past 30 years. I started off working for my parent’s restaurant in Cornwall, before being dazzled by the bright lights of London and the Home Counties, where I worked at the Cliveden and The Crazy Bear, and The Lanesborough, Quaglino’s, 51 Buckingham Gate and The Caprice Group in London’s West End.
And you have cooked for celebrities, including the Queen?
It was a privilege to cook for HRH Queen Elizabeth. I have also cooked for Prince Andrew, Princess Ann, John Major, John Prescott, Kylie Minogue, Elton John – and many more! Oh and Donald Trump…
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Working as head chef at Quaglino’s, 51 Buckingham Gate and the Cliveden Hotel. All were either 3AA Rosette or Michelin star standard so it was a good experience to be the head chef for such prestigious establishments.
How would you describe your signature style?
I believe that food should be fun as well as enjoyable so along with ensuring that high standards in preparation and taste are met, I like to have fun with the presentation of the dishes.
How often do you change the menus at Jarrold?
The Pantry and Metro menus do not change too much – we always have our popular carvery on at The Pantry and the English breakfast at Benji’s on Saturdays, for example, but at Benji’s the menu is more seasonal and refined, so we tend to change the dishes on offer every six to eight weeks.
What’s your favourite dish on the menu at the moment and why?
Roast sea bass served with dill potatoes, cucumber spaghetti, shaved fennel and citrus dressing (£11.50). It's a great summer dish and accompanied with a glass of organic prosecco you cannot go wrong.
What's your favourite ingredient?
I love cooking with seasonal produce. One of my favourite seasonal ingredients is Asparagus, when it's bang on season it's delicious!
What’s coming up on the menu this year?
Following on from trends in London we have come up with a Matcha (green tea) cookie sandwich with mango salsa and toasted coconut (£6.00) to add to the menu soon.
Examples of Nick's asparagus dishes (not always available).