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Chef Q&A: Brett Russell, Tierra and Mar

PUBLISHED: 16:37 12 February 2018

Brett Russell of Tierra & Mar, with wife Silvia

Brett Russell of Tierra & Mar, with wife Silvia

Archant

Brett and Silvia have brought an authentic taste of the Mediterranean to land-locked Gloucestershire

Name: Brett Russell

Restaurant: Tierra and Mar

Address: 29 Sheep St, Cirencester GL7 1QW

Tel: 01285 642777

www.tierraandmar.co.uk

What is your earliest memory of food?

Baking biscuits with my mum and two sisters when we were young.

Tell us about your menu...

We have various menus, including the tapas menu that offers dishes in two sizes, a five-course sharing menu, and seven-course tasting menu. All of these include Spanish-influenced dishes and give our customers plenty of options to choose from.

How often do you change your menu?

I like to change it as frequently as possible to give our regular customers something new to look forward to each time, making sure to work around the seasons to get the most out of our produce.

Which dish on the menu would you recommend to a customer?

I would recommend the octopus as it’s one of my favourite products and not something that many people would usually eat.

How would you describe your approach to food?

I always put flavour before anything else and like to get the most out of my produce, utilising every element.

What advice would give to a novice?

Every ingredient is important and every single thing can be used whether it’s bones for a sauce or herbs for oils.

Have you ever had any cooking disasters?

When I was a commis chef, I forgot to put yeast in five batches of different types of bread. Luckily, we started early enough in the day to correct this before service – that wasn’t a very fun morning!

What was your most memorable meal?

My most memorable was at Sepia in Australia, as my wife Silvia bought the meal for the both of us for my birthday, and the food was amazing. It was the week we were leaving Australia after living there for six months, and we followed the meal with a cruise around Darling harbour.

Which chef has been your greatest inspiration?

Miles Nixon from when I worked at Aubergine at The Compleat Angler. It was there that I became really passionate about food.

What is your favourite local ingredient?

My parents run a smallholding near Cirencester, and my favourite ingredient has to be their hand-reared lamb. It’s a bonus knowing exactly how the animals have been cared for, and makes the meat taste better.

What’s in your fridge at home?

Lots of pickled vegetables, chutneys and Spanish cheese.

Why should people visit you?

Everything we serve is made from scratch, from the bread down to the ice cream. We use fresh produce, local suppliers and put care into every detail, including serving Venta Del Baron with our bread – voted the best olive oil in the world.

What would you recommend about the local area?

The Cotswold Water Park is a must for the walks, water sports and beaches. Cirencester is also full of history and there is always plenty to see and do.

What would you choose for your last meal on Earth?

Steamed mussels, octopus and calamari, eaten on the seafront.

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