Dan Speak has created a Chef’s Signature Menu for 1539 at Chester Racecourse, showcasing some of his favourite dishes which run alongside his summer a la carte menu. Here he tells us all about it
How do you decide on the dishes for your signature menu such as this?
I try to keep the ingredients seasonal, the menu has to be balanced in flavour and we like to also see what foods are on-trend, we do a daily lunch menu so this is a good way to practice and try out new dishes
What was your inspiration behind this menu?
This menu was very personal using a lot of ingredients and flavours that I like.
Do you have a favourite dish?
I think the wood pigeon, roasted pearl barley, hen of the woods, pickled brown cap mushrooms is my favourite. It’s something a bit different, great flavours and the hen of the woods garnish is just divine.
What is a dish or flavour that shouts summer to you?
There is nothing better than a fresh, juicy homegrown tomato with a pinch of salt, eaten while out on a family picnic.
What is your guilty food pleasure?
Corned beef and brown sauce.
Which 3 ingredients could you not live without?
Butter, eggs and potatoes.
What was the first dish you learnt to cook?
My first job was in a small family run restaurant, the head chef was from Bakewell and taught me how to make a traditional Bakewell tart.
Who was your main cooking influence growing up?
I feel quite lucky that I have always known what I wanted to do for a career from a very early age, my Mum has always helped and supported me in this and taught me what she knows in the kitchen.
Do you have a signature plate that you like to cook at home?
A favourite of my girlfriend’s is pan fried sea bass with sautéed potatoes, savoy cabbage, caper, shallot and Dijon sauce.
What has been your proudest moment?
Going to cook for the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street for a special St David’s Day celebration, back in 2015.
1539 Chester overlooks Chester Racecourse at Nuns Road, Chester CH1 2LY, 01244 304 611, www.restaurant1539.co.uk.
Nearest Merseyrail station: Chester