16th August 2011

Interview with Harry Hallam

Harry Hallam, outside Harry's Place (Credit: Steve Hill Photography) Harry Hallam at his desk (Image credit: Steve Hill Photography)

In their listed Georgian home on the outskirsts of Grantham, Harry and Caroline Hallam offer just three tables, a short menu and a whole world of heartwarming hospitality. A rare gem of a restaurant, Harry's Place is well into its third decade of operations, and continues to go from strength to strength. The Good Food Guide put some questions to Harry.

What would you cook Great Britain's Olympic team?

Fresh pasta with chicken and spicy tomato sauce, followed by plain yoghurt and fresh fruit.

What kitchen gadget could you not live without?
A mini food processor, and sharp knives.

What is the biggest myth about being a chef?
Good cooking is not beyond anyone. In recipes and teaching, attention must be paid to each stage in order to know what to look for and to build basic technique. I have shown customers how to make bread and pastry, with good feedback.

What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
The point at which we realised that we had created a restaurant that attracted people from all over the world, and that we had put Great Gonerby on the culinary map. 

Do you have a favourite local recipe or ingredient?
Blue Stilton cheese from the Vale of Belvoir, and young roe deer from Sandringham Estate. 

What is your favourite tipple?
Grainstore Ten Fifty beer from Oakham, Rutland and Masia Barril Priorato from Spain – 17.5%!

What excites you about the restaurant industry today?
That there is more emphasis on the provenance of ingredients.

What do you eat when you're feeling lazy?
My home-made pasta with Caroline's tomato sauce – and if I'm feeling really lazy: Indian takeaway!

What's the most ridiculous culinary term you've heard

Harry Hallam baking (Credit: Steve Hill Photography)What's been the worst culinary trend of recent years?
Square pieces of food (particularly belly pork with unrendered fat), smears and blobs, and overly elaborate presentation at the expense of flavour.

... And the best?
A greater interest in cooking amongst the general public.

What's your favourite job in the kitchen?
Cooking game. 

What's the best training for a chef?
In-depth training: from sharpening knives through to the making of stocks and sauces, and egg, meat and fish cooking – whether this takes place in college, restaurant kitchens or a combination of both. And then building up the stamina to produce your best, day in and day out.

What are your favourite food combinations?
Beetroot and horseradish, rhubarb and orange, apple and calvados.


Restaurant information:
Harry's Place, 17 High Street, Great Gonerby, Lincolnshire, NG31 8JS
Modern French | £70 

Images © Steve Hill Photography