Meet the Chef

William Dimartino, The Ryder Grill, The Belfry Hotel Sutton Coldfield

William Dimartino, Ryder Grill Restaurant, The Belfry Hotel

William Dimartino will celebrate his first anniversary as Head Chef at The Ryder Grill in a few months, so as he launches a new seven-course Spring tasting menu I grilled the chef for his inspiration.

Have you always wanted to be a chef?

When I was at school I wanted to be an accountant, but I always loved food as a child so when I started cooking in a pub on my weekends it naturally progressed from there.

Who taught you to cook?

My nan was probably the first one who introduced me to cooking, all be it a Sunday Roast.

Which chef has been the biggest inspiration for you?

My old boss and close friend Russell Ford, I worked with him from a commis chef and he was the one who gave me my first head chef job, he is a great chef and took me under his wing and really taught me a lot over the years I worked with him.

Where have you eaten your best ever meal?

The best meal I had was very recent and it was at The Frog by Adam Handling, the whole experience was great.

What are your favourite ingredients to cook with?

Game, butter, truffle and nuts

How would you describe your style of cooking?

I would say it’s clean and simple, we use great produce so we try and treat it with great respect and get the best out of it without messing with it too much.

What can diners expect at The Ryder Grill?

Diners can expect great produce cooked beautifully, with a relaxed atmosphere and top quality service.

Ryder Grill spring tasting menu The Belfry Hotel

To showcase the very best seasonal produce, William and his team have launched a new seven course taster menu. Available for £40 per person, with the option of adding paired wines for £25. The menu includes:

Amuse bouche

Asparagus with duck egg mayo, brioche crumb, burnt onion powder and edible flowers

Whipped chicken liver parfait, savoury granola, pineapple and vanilla gel

Sea trout with almond puree, charred spring onion, chorizo and purple sprouting broccoli

Spring lamb, charred baby gem, artichoke hummus, red pepper and broad bean

Vanilla crème brulee and poached strawberries

Passion fruit tart, mango, bitter chocolate and coconut.

The Ryder Grill, The Belfry Hotel , Lichfield Road, Wishaw, Sutton Coldfield B76 9PR

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Curtis Stewart, Restaurant 23, Leamington

Curtis Stewart chef

At only 29 years old, Curtis no stranger to fine dining, with his culinary career talking him from luxury Cotswolds hotel Foxhill Manor and the two Michelin-starred Whatley Manor in Wiltshire to Quill in Manchester.

Restaurant 23 Leamington Spa Warwickshire

As he is now heading up Leamington’s Restaurant 23, I got the chance to find out about the ‘guy who just cooks the food’.

Have you always wanted to be a chef?

Always. From a very young age, I knew I wanted to cook for a living; think I was around 8 years old.

Who taught you to cook?

My Grandmothers. Coming from a mixed race background, (Jamaican and English) both my parents’ families were great cooks and I would always help out over the weekends.

Which chef has been the biggest inspiration for you?

John Campbell. He was the chef that taught me the foundation of cooking and understanding the fundamentals of food and how to constantly think outside the box and question everything.

Where have you eaten your best ever meal?

It’s hard to pick one definitive best meal, as so many have been amazing in their own right. In no particular order, my top three would be – Casamia (Bristol)  Restaurant Story & The Square (London).

How daunting was it to take over the brigade at Restaurant 23 after Peter Knibb’s decade there?

Taking over any kitchen has its challenges, but if you bring a new, fresh concept that inspires others, then believing in you becomes a much easier task.

Do you use any local suppliers at Restaurant 23?

Yes. I like the feel of community and insist that we source our products locally. We have some great suppliers on our doorstep with incredible products and skill.  This is obviously not always possible, as some items need to be imported or sourced from specialist suppliers.

What can diners expect from you at Restaurant 23?

Interesting, technical, dynamic, alternative British cooking – a  culinary journey.

Restaurant 23 34 Hamilton Terrace, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire @Restaurant23

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