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Jack Foster from Hyde Park's Sepentine Bar & Kitchen

Beefing Up Service

Henson’s salt beef has been proving a popular menu choice at London’s trendy Serpentine Bar and Kitchen eatery.

With more on his plate than most over the coming months, head chef Jack Foster is beefing up his act. This has nothing to do with how he works, but rather the raw ingredients he chooses to work with, for the 27-year-old, who originally hails from Nottingham, is fast gaining a reputation as one of London’s most exciting young chefs for his skillful re-interpretation of classic English dishes. Take his inspired, menu winning braised salt beef dish.

Think of salt beef and most likely it is as the cold filling to a sandwich or bagel but Jack, who heads the brigade at Hyde Park’s Serpentine Bar and Kitchen, returns it to the hot starring role it once enjoyed. He makes it the centre piece of a plate that includes a celeriac remoulade, soft poached egg, panchetta tuille and red watercress garnish.

He has also served hot braised salt beef, which he sources from Fairway partner Hensons Foodservice, in a puff pastry topped pie with mash and green beans. On another of his menus, it featured with pesto Savoy cabbage and lobster bisque. Says Jack, who recently won the best chef in the company award for benugo, which owns the Serpentine Bar and Kitchen: “Salt beef is basically cured brisket and until the middle of last century, it was a staple for a lot of people because brisket was a cheaper cut and curing it was a way of preserving it.

“More recently, brisket has become less fashionable. I believe this is because people have forgotten or don’t know how good it can taste. I have a passion for cooking and believe we can learn a lot from how things used to be done. I believe in using the best suppliers for the freshest, best quality products. I then work to create menus that are uncomplicated and full of natural flavour.”

Hensons Foodservice, which also supplies salt beef to Selfridges, delivers across the UK. Telephone 020 7609 2299 – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday.

For Jack’s salt beef recipe click here.

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