Luxury Family Hotels People: Andrew Chan, Award-winning Head Chef at the Polurrian in Cornwall
Andrew Chan joined the Polurrian in June 2014, after working his way up through a number of prestigious properties including the Bristol Marriott Royal, Cadbury House Bristol (now Doubletree by Hilton), Loch Fyne seafood restaurants, and most recently Luxury Family Hotel’s own Thornbury Castle. A father of two, he won the South West Professional Chef of the Year 2013 award. Andrew talked to us about his work and shared one of his favourite autumn recipes from the hotel’s menu.
Andrew, you were born by the seaside and have worked in seafood restaurants. I’m guessing that cooking fish and seafood are a passion of yours? Obviously Cornwall is a great place to indulge such a passion... Can you give us a little information about your use of local produce and your inspirations behind the menus at the Polurrian?
Having come from a seaside area in Somerset, there was always that passion for cooking and dealing with fish, but coming to Cornwall has given me the opportunity to use really good local produce. I’ve been able to speak to local suppliers about the local produce that is coming into season and had the luxury of incorporating it into our menus.
How old were you first became interested in cooking and what sparked it off? Did you come from a family in which food played a large role?
I became interested in cooking when I was about 10, when I first made Scotch pancakes. Food played a massive part in my family as they opened up a Chinese restaurant in Somerset and when I was old enough I would always help them out.
You have young daughters. Are they showing any interest in cooking, and what type of thing do you like to eat as a family?
I have two girls, Aaliyah and Ebony, and to be honest they are not as interested in cooking as I would like them to be! – Aaliyah is really into gymnastics and is entering competitions, and Ebony is into horse-riding. But we all love our good home-cooked food.
What were your first impressions of The Polurrian Hotel?
What most struck me was how the staff were so welcoming – and that fantastic view when you enter.
Andrew’s Recipe for Sea Bass with Celeriac and Girolle Mushrooms
160g sea bass
6 girolle mushrooms
1 vanilla pod
Salt and pepper
200ml chicken stock
200ml white wine
200ml double cream
Peel the celeriac. Dice half of it and place in a pan with the water and milk and cook. Then blend and pass – you can use some off the liquor to get a smoother purée.
Scrape the stalks off the girolles, wash them in water three times and drain on to a cloth.
Take the second half of the celeriac and cut in half again. With one half, cut into 1cm dices and roast in the oven for five minutes. With the other half, cut into round discs, slice finely and place in lemon water.
For the sauce, reduce the white wine by half. Add chicken stock and reduce by half again. Add the scraped vanilla pod then add the cream and reduce by a quarter. Take the vanilla pod out.
To cook the fish, start it off in a medium-heated pan skin-side down, then place in the oven for three minutes.
While waiting for the fish, start sautéing the girolles then add a little bit of lemon juice to heighten the flavour.
Assemble the plate.
Image: copyright South West Chef of the Year/Steven Haywood Photography.