Constantine Chris Yerolemis is the new Head Chef at the Granary Grill, the on-site restaurant here at Weston. Nino, as he is known, has been making himself at home in the Grill kitchen for the last 6 months, so let’s find out a bit more about the man himself, his food, inspirations and what we will can expect to see on the menu.
The food offering at Weston is as diverse as the estate itself; you will find coffee and delicious homemade cakes, sandwiches and salads in the Granary Deli; over in the main House thousands of guests a year celebrate a wedding or significant occasion with elegant menus crafted by the estate’s Head Chef Gemma LeClare and in the Grill, open daily throughout the year, is where you will find Nino’s informal bistro classics.
Why did you want to become a Chef?
My father owns and runs two fish and chip shops in the West Midlands so you could say its in the genes! About 20 years ago I had ambitions to run my own Greek restaurant so I went to the Birmingham College of Food, now UCB, and completed NVQ Levels 1, 2 and 3 in Catering and Hospitality.
Where have you worked before coming to Weston?
I have worked at one Michelin starred Simpsons in Leamington Spa, Olivers in Nottingham and the Buffalo & Rye smokehouse in Birmingham as well as some really big hotel chains. I prefer the smaller operations as you can be really creative in the kitchen.
Describe your food
I would hope that it’s not style over substance. Even though we want to deliver a relaxed experience in the Granary Grill I want my plates to be sophisticated and ingredient led. I use modern techniques, only when it improves a dish; the classics don’t need to be reinterpreted.
Food not only has to taste good, it has to look good too – you eat with your eyes. My new autumn menu features the following dishes; Confit duck leg with crispy skin, piquant blackberries, pomme anna and lightly spiced red cabbage; fillet of sea trout resting on a crab and spring onion potato cake, glossy hollandaise, wilted and crispy kale, deep fried capers and a soft poached egg. For dessert diners can enjoy coffee crème brulee with hazelnut shortbread or apple and pear crumble, almond topping and toffee custard.
What is your favourite ingredient?
I love cooking with lamb – low and slow; one is slow roasted Welsh lamb scented with wild oregano from Cyprus. My go to dish is slow cooked lamb shoulder, resting on sliced potatoes, lemon, bay and cinnamon and cooked together resulting in meltingly soft lamb with a hint of spice.
What do you do to relax?
I like spending time with my family, watching the football, BBQ’ing for the kids, or watching cooking programmes – I never really switch off!