Q&A: Ross Whitmill the fuss-free chef
PUBLISHED: 11:27 07 September 2015 | UPDATED: 11:27 07 September 2015
Ross & Ross Food's pop-up restaurants are in unique locations, using the Cotswolds' finest fare
Name: Ross Whitmill
Restaurant: Ross & Ross Food (monthly pop-up restaurants)
Address: 10 Worcester Road Trading Estate, Chipping Norton
Tel: 01608 645503
What is your earliest memory of food?
My mum’s treacle sponge; I’ve never tasted a better one. It’s hard to beat your mum’s cooking and childhood memories.
Tell us about your menu.
Fuss-free, delicious food created using the best locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients.
How often do you change your menu?
Our menu changes with each pop-up restaurant event to showcase how amazing the local produce is. Our catering menus are different for every client depending on what they want – we’re very flexible!
Which dish on the menu would you recommend to a customer?
Our pop-up event menus consist of small bowls of seasonal food that take your taste buds on a journey, so all the dishes need to be eaten for full effect.
What initiated your interest in cooking?
The chef David Partridge. I washed up and plated starters for him as a kid; he gave me the passion. Such a great chef. He had his restaurant, The French Partridge, for over 30 years.
How would you describe your approach to food?
We keep it simple and use only the best ingredients, locally sourced wherever possible. We’re all about fuss-free, delicious flavours and presentation.
What advice would you give to a novice?
Keep practising – you only get better by making mistakes.
Have you ever had any cooking disasters?
There have been times when suppliers arrived with the wrong ingredients, or just not turned up at all. That’s when the pressure really turns on, because you can’t let the customer down, and we never have!
What has been your most memorable meal?
At Marcus Wareing’s Pétrus - such a great meal and atmosphere. It was a long time ago but it still hasn’t been beaten.
Which chef has been your greatest inspiration?
David Partridge. He’s the reason I’m where I am today!
What is your favourite local ingredient?
Wykham Park Farm asparagus tastes amazing, it’s so fresh.
What’s in your fridge at home?
There are always lots of vegetables; my wife is very healthy. I always make sure we have bacon for the family fry-up on Sundays too!
What is your favourite local restaurant?
Wild Thyme in Chipping Norton does great food.
Why should people visit you?
We put on our pop-up events in really unique locations; our July event is in an orchard with amazing views out over the Cotswolds. We use the Cotswolds’ finest fare to create some really high quality, delicious dishes that we hope you’ll all want to come and try.
What would you recommend about the local area?
Just go for a walk, there are so many delights to find. My top tip is the Straw Kitchen at Whichford Pottery… keep it a secret, though.
What would you choose for your last meal on earth?
To start, a small bowl of fresh pasta with Cornish crab, chilli and lemon butter. Then, Heritage tomato, fresh basil & buffalo mozzarella salad with olive oil. For the main, rib beef on the bone, chips and roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, gravy and béarnaise sauce, with bowls of greens and roasted roots.
For dessert, chocolate fondant with vanilla ice cream, and a selection of cheese, toast, celery & apple. To finish, a bacon sandwich at midnight!
Five-course tasting menu for our Orchard Feast pop-up event:
BBQ monkfish, lemon & fennel salad
Grilled focaccia, Heritage tomatoes, basil & buffalo mozzarella
Squid & green chilli sauce
Jacobs Ladder beef, grilled summer vegetables, watercress & salsa verde
Vanilla pana cotta & English strawberries
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