Chef Q&A: The Lucky Onion Group's executive chef Ronnie Bonetti

PUBLISHED: 10:42 10 February 2020 | UPDATED: 10:42 10 February 2020

Ronnie Bonetti (photo: Kirstie Young)

Ronnie Bonetti (photo: Kirstie Young)

Kirstie Young

The Lucky Onion Group's executive chef believes the secret to good cooking is a happy, positive and simple attitude

Name: Ronnie Bonetti

Restaurant: The Lucky Onion Group executive chef

Tel: 01242 822950

Website: www.theluckyonion.com

What is your earliest memory of food?

Eating polenta from a cast iron pot cooked over an open fire.

Tell us about your menu

The menus are an eclectic mix from traditional English to classic brasserie, and some pan-Asian.

The Hollow Bottom in Guiting Power and The Crown Inn at Minchinhampton have more traditional British classics on the menu. These give me great pleasure cooking, as I believe this country has lost some of these old favourites, such as spotted dick, and ham, egg and chips, which is a real treat.

The Tavern menu is edgy, and there are fab Tuesday night treats, with specials on like Taco Tuesday - which went down and treat - to more of a winter warmer, like pie.

No.131 is the place to impress and to be seen, with a British and European flare; and then The Wheatsheaf Inn, Northleach, headed up by Pete McAllister, has a wonderful menu that includes the great cheese soufflé, to amazing steaks to share, and a fabulous choice of vegan/vegetarian dishes.

How often do you change your menus?

Approximately every six weeks, and also seasonally.

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

Favourite right now would definitely be the ham, egg and chips, served at the Hollow Bottom and The Crown. The ham hock falls off the bone and melts in your mouth. This would be followed by spotted dick and custard.

What initiated your interest in cooking?

I was washing dishes and was fortunate enough to be persuaded by an amazing female chef who insisted on me to take on an apprenticeship.

How would you describe your approach to food?

Always a happy, positive and simple attitude; everything else will fall into place. People tend to over complicate cooking.

What advice would you give to a novice?

Be patient, and learn as much as you can from your seniors. Don't try and rush, as there is so much to take on.

Have you ever had any cooking disasters?

Hahaha! Yes, I remember this time Valentine Warner and I were doing an event outside on the barbecue, and the table collapsed with all the food sliding down the grass past all the attending guests! All was a shock, but sorted in the end.

What has been your most memorable meal?

Cooking and eating fresh chilli mud crab in North Queensland.

Which chef has been your greatest inspiration?

I'd choose two: Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers.

What is your favourite local ingredient?

Beetroot, which we use in No.131's heritage salad, using cooked and raw beetroot (three types: golden, red and candid) served with feta, walnuts, chicory and aged balsamic dressing.

What's in your fridge at home?

Always Parmesan.

Why should people visit you?

Each Lucky Onion property has its own DNA, using the best locally-sourced - as much as possible - ingredients. Some of your best memories are made around a table with your friends and family, and we try to offer something unique for everyone to enjoy.

What would you recommend about the local area?

Check out Dunkerton's Organic Cider Distillery at Dowdeswell Park in Charlton Kings, where you can go on a distillery tour or have a cider and cheese pairing.

Sample menu from The Crown Inn

Starters:

Pan fried devilled spiced kidneys and sourdough toast, £9.50

Baked field mushrooms stuffed with garlic and Stilton, £9.50

Roasted beetroot, chicory, feta and roasted pine kernels, £8.50

Crispy fried squid rings and mayonnaise, £11.50

Mains:

Dry aged 10oz rib eye steak, fries, watercress, Béarnaise or peppercorn sauce, £24.50

Dunkerton's Cider battered cod, fat chips, mushy peas and tartare sauce, £14.50

Organic fried chicken, fat chips and gravy, £17.50

Braised shin of beef, mushrooms and gravy, mushy peas, £16.50

Desserts:

Sticky toffee pudding with custard or ice cream, £6

Jam roly poly with custard or ice cream, £6

Spotted dick with custard or ice cream, £6

Treacle tart with custard or ice cream, £6



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