Tasting Notes: Mark Jordan, Ocean Restaurant
Mark Jordan loves food. In fact it's one of the reasons he ended up on the island of Jersey. 'I fell in love with the island, and the local food. Having so much amazing produce literally on your doorstep is just incredible. I couldn't imagine being anywhere else'. Executive Head Chef at The Atlantic Hotel's Michelin-starred Ocean Restaurant as well as sister establishment Mark Jordan at the Beach, it's hot in the kitchen for the busy chef, who's also known for his regular TV appearances on BBC's Saturday Kitchen. We grabbed a few words with him between courses.
What's your take on food trends for 2013? I think we'll see a return to traditional simplicity with more 'classic favourite' type dishes being reinterpreted. The most important thing for me is to ensure I understand ingredients and where they've come from, and then cook them properly, so that you're eating them at their absolute best.
What does Jersey do best when it comes to produce? You can't argue with the quality of our sea fish, and the scallops and lobster are fantastic. If you're coming to Jersey, you don't want to miss out on our local seafood.
Where have you had your best dining experience? The Square in London. Phil Howard's style is clean, straightforward and not pompous - completely my philosophy. He takes simple ingredients and puts a twist on them. I had one of the best meals in my life at The Square, I'd love to go back!
What's your favourite season for food? Autumn. I like the change from the light food of summer to substantial, hearty dishes like venisons, roe deer, autumn cabbage and wild mushrooms with all those sticky, deep flavours.
Who would you say your role model is? I always looked up to the late Keith Floyd, because when I started working for him as a chef, he told me to get good quality ingredients and cook them well, and his advice has served me so well through my career. I also like Peter Gilmour at Quay in Sydney, and although his style is more complicated than mine, I admire his concepts of freshness, textures and diversity.
Who's got it right locally? I'm so proud of one of Ocean Restaurant's young chefs, Glenn Noel. He's earned a six-month placement in the kitchens of Noma (beginning this May), and it's so rewarding to see a 20-year old lad walking out of our kitchen straight into the world's best restaurant. He's a local boy who trained at Jersey's Highlands catering college and to have this amazing accolade just shows you get out what you put in. We're all very proud of him.
Langoustine tails on a rock, Ocean Restaurant at The Atlantic Hotel
What's your favourite dish on Ocean's menu? It would be Langoustine tails on a rock with oyster mayonnaise and ebène caviar or the Jersey seashore dish which is a tasting of the bay with foraged seaweed, anchovy sand and tomato essence. I love those unique experiences that literally give a local flavour to my cooking. It's food theatre really, incredible ingredients but with a Noma-style twist.
And your favourite dishes at Mark Jordan at the Beach? Poached Jersey oysters with spinach and chive beurre blanc and cucumber confit. It's a fantastic dish. Then it would have to be the Lancashire hot pot. It's absolutely mouthwatering and it reminds me of cold nights in Wales and my mum's cooking!
What's your signature dish to prepare at home? A risotto with crab and sweetcorn. And my pear tarte tatin is pretty good if I do say so myself! I cook it in a Le Creuset pan with puff pastry, pears and lots of sugar. It can't be complicated because I have to wash up afterwards...