Skye Gyngell has teamed up with Miele to bring us a selection of delicious and easy-to-make healthy home recipes
Australian chef Skye Gyngell is one of our most respected and celebrated chefs. She became known for her distinctly seasonal, elegant cooking at Petersham Nurseries, before opening her own groundbreaking restaurant, Spring in the heart of London. Skye Gyngell has collaborated with Miele for the launch of The Perfection Series which champions its innovative steam technology. Here she shares a healthy recipe from the partnership and chats home cooking, family favourites and navigating the gender gap in the culinary world.
Did you always want to be a chef growing up?
No; as a young girl growing up, I dreamed of being a lawyer – I fell into cooking by accident.
Who taught you to cook?
I loved being in the kitchen with my mother growing up – I was always eager to help her with whatever she was preparing. I became chief salad dressing maker! Layla Sorfie was the first person to really spend time with me and teach me many of the foundations, which I still rely on today.
Tell us about Spring, was there a lot of pressure to succeed following Petersham Nurseries?
Spring is in Somerset House in the Strand. It is a beautiful, light filled restaurant in the space that actually used to be in land revenue. For me, Spring is my first solo venture and a dream come true for me.
What’s your favourite dish on the menu?
The menu changes weekly – I don’t have a favourite dish. We work closely with Fern Verrow (a bio-dynamic farm); I tend to just completely love whatever is right in front of me.
Where does your inspiration come from when drawing up new menus?
My inspiration comes from many places, but mostly from my relationship with Jane and Harry, who grow 90 percent of Spring’s produce.
The restaurant industry is often perceived as male dominated; is this still the case? What are some of the challenges a female might experience working in it?
I think it would probably be fair to say that our industry is largely still male dominated – although that’s not the case at Spring, where over half the chefs in the kitchen are women. The hardest thing about working in a restaurant is the long hours and physical demands it places on your body – I think that’s hard for both men and women.
Describe your cooking style in three words.
Simple; light; fresh.
What three kitchen gadgets can’t you live without?
Tongs; pestle and mortar; non-stick pan.
What do you like to cook on your day off?
Very little! But I enjoy vegetables, pulses and grains, so that is generally what I find myself cooking at home.
Are there any cuisines you might like to explore in a future venture?
I like eating all sorts of different and diverse cuisines, but I’m happy with how I cook now.
Are there any other chefs that have shaped your career or have inspired you in any way?
Alice Waters; Judy Rogers; Maggie Beer.
Where do you like to eat in London?
The River Café; Lyles; A Wong.
What’s your favourite dish from childhood?
My grandmother’s pavlova.
What’s been your top career highlight so far?
It’s all been pretty wonderful…
Skye Gyngell Shares Her Recipe for Steamed Cod with Seaweed, Cucumber
and Beurre Blanc
6 cod fillets, filleted and skinned
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
400g double cream
5 small middle eastern cucumber, sliced very finely
100g of fresh seaweed
6 courgette flowers
For the butter sauce
Infuse the double cream with a third of the seaweed overnight in the fridge. The following morning strain the cream getting rid of the seaweed. Beat the cream with an electric whisk until it splits, discard the liquid and press firmly the solids with a cloth. Keep refrigerated until needed (you will need in total 250g of butter).
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 glass of dry white wine
12 black peppercorns
A couple of sprigs of fresh thyme
1 shallot, peeled and minced
You can make the butter sauce one hour before and leave in a warm place.
To make the butter sauce, combine all the ingredients in a saucepan over a medium high heat and reduce until you have about 2 tablespoons left of liquid and strain. Very gently over a medium to low heat start adding the butter to the vinegar reduction a little at a time while whisking constantly, making sure it’s fully emulsified. Check the seasoning and keep warm until needed.
Slice the seaweed into fine strips and steam alongside the sliced cucumbers and courgette flowers on 80°c for 2 minutes until just wilted but still vibrant.
Season the fish and steam until just cooked through (75°c for 6 minutes, depending on the thickness).
Arrange the fish on a plate, spoon over the butter and arrange the vegetables on top.