By Steven Saunders • 24 January 2020 • 19:20
My Spanish friend and client adores my beef bourguignon.
This week Celebrity Chef & Fellow Master Chef Steven Saunders, proprietor of The Little Geranium in La Cala shares a recipe with special memories, perfect for a chilly winters evening.
OF course I shall never forget my first Chef/ Patron job of a charming restaurant called The White Hart in Gt Yeldham, North Essex.
It was 1981 (does that make me old?) I hadn’t turned 20 yet when I was asked to run this beautiful old coaching Inn dating back to the1500s. When I saw it for the first time, my heart missed a beat, it was beautiful! It sits proudly just off the A604 on the road to Haverhill.
Its Tudor façade is striking and as you drive over a little bridge, there it is standing alone and loaded with history. I was taken aback by the immaculate landscaped gardens bordered by the River Colne, which flooded in the winter months!
There are huge inglenook fireplaces in every room and the aroma of burning wood and the charm of the old beams literally everywhere, it was and still is a breathtaking building.
I wrote my first ever menu there and on it I had dishes like, crispy duck salad (now famous as Princess Diana’s favourite) whole roasted duck for two, Lamb Navarin, Beef Wellington and Beef bourguignon with buttery mash.
I used to set light to the duck and present it flaming to the guests and then carve it at the table. It was quite modern to have the chef patron being seen by everyone and serving in the restaurant not just stuck in the kitchen.
I was and still am a bit of a showman and I love the entertainment side of the business and even to this day I come out of the kitchen and chat to everyone at the end of every evening service.
The menu was printed and ready to launch and with anxiety and excitement the menus went over to my customers. I peeked through the kitchen door at what I will always remember to be my first ever clients.
In the bar that evening I could see (and hear!) the Yeldham family. I had heard about them but not yet met them. They were the farming royalty around here and can be discerning, I was told!
A short while after, we all became great friends and I shared many fond memories with both Ian and Karen Yeldham and still keep in touch via Instagram and Facebook.
Back in the restaurant, this couple had just ordered and on the order was my beef bourguignon. My mother used to cook me this classic dish.
She had French roots so knew how to make a stew delicious! I can still taste the rich sauce made with gallons of red wine, coupled with the smoky flavour of the bacon when she first made it for me.
After the clients were served the bourguignon I enquired about them and whether they were enjoying their meal. The waitress shrugged her shoulders and said, “I am not sure, they keep moving the food around the plate a lot!” So I put on a tall chef’s hat and went over to table five to see them. Crossing my fingers and toes I asked ”Is everything OK with your bourguignon?”
The lady turned and looked at me and said in an American accent, “honey it’s not the bourguignon it’s the last 24 years of marriage!” I often wonder if they stayed together!
At the Little Geranium, I serve a miniature saucepan of this delicious bourguignon along side a mini Beef Wellington filled with truffles and wild mushrooms. It is the most divine combination!
Steven Saunders’s opinions are his own and are not necessarily representative of those of the publishers, advertisers or sponsors.
Ingredients for four
For Cooking the Bourguignon
To Finish Dish
Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3
Follow Steven on Instagram … saunderschef –
Email any questions … [email protected]
The Little Geranium, Winner of Best Contemporary International Restaurant 2019
Costa Del Sol – www.thelittlegeranium.com
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Steven Saunders FMCGB - The Little Geranium - La Cala de Mijas & Marbella
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