Interviews

Mark Birchall, Moor Hall

After making his name at L’Enclume, Mark Birchall is now chef-owner of Lancashire restaurant-with-rooms Moor Hall

After so long in the planning, how did it feel to be back in the kitchen?
Amazing, especially after being so involved with the development. I was well and truly ready to start the next journey.   

What was it that drew you towards picking Moor Hall as a venue for your first restaurant?
I always wanted to open a restaurant in my home county and luckily Moor Hall sits in six acres with some amazing outbuildings and grounds all steeped in history. I couldn’t ask for more!

What can diners expect when they dine with you?
They can expect to eat quality seasonal produce treated sympathetically. Other elements to enhance the dining experience are the open kitchen and walk-in cheese room.

How did you go about compiling your new menu? What were your influences?
The menus are influenced by my career to date and our surroundings. We are very lucky to have some fantastic produce within a stone’s throw.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
My aged beef tartare dressed in charcoal oil, mustard and celeriac. It’s a dish inspired by my time at El Celler de Can Roca. Also, oyster with cured ham fat, buttermilk and dill – a lovely fresh dish that complements the oyster well.

Name one ingredient you couldn't cook without
Vinegar – whether it’s a flavoured home-made fruit or floral vinegar or a simple sherry vinegar, I generally season a lot of sauces and garnishes with a little acidity.

What is the vital ingredient for a successful kitchen?
Quality ingredients, consistency and a good stable team.

If you could cook for anyone (past or present) who would it be, and what would you cook for them?
I’d cook lamb masala for footballer Steven Gerrard while watching the 2005 Champions League final.

Do you have a favourite restaurant?
The Ledbury in London – amazing flavours and cooking, especially their game.

Who do are the most interesting up-and-coming chefs?
James Lovatt and Lewis Spencer of Moor Hall.  

When you get home at the end of a long day, what do you like to cook?
At the end of the week I like to cook a simple roast dinner to enjoy with my family.

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