York Racecourse, our August Venue of the Month, is arguably our biggest and one of our most prestigious venue partners in Yorkshire. We’re honoured to have been working together for over thirty years on raceday and non-raceday events, we even have a dedicated, stand-alone team of forty full time York Racecourse Hospitality staff including chefs, event managers and sales executives, and believe us this world-class venue is so busy, it needs it.
We caught up with Stefan Butler Head Chef and Pete Higginson Executive Chef at York Racecourse Hospitality to hear what a typical raceday in the kitchen is like for them.
How long have you worked for York racecourse hospitality?
Pete: This is my first season.
Stefan: This is my third year!
What culinary delights can customers expect from the 2018 Ebor festival?
Pete: Expect as always to see locally sourced fresh ingredients, from Yorkshire lobsters to beef sirloin and grouse aged right here at the racecourse. We’ll have homemade terrines, York-made chutneys to go with our Yorkshire cheese boards and everyone’s favourite… pork pies! As well as sausage and beef burgers all from our local butcher at the end of the Racecourse, Ged Bell’s.
You make an effort to use local produce in your menus, why do you think this is important?
Stefan: Customers are very aware of the provenance of food today. We use local suppliers for a number of reasons, to ensure the products we use are the best quality we can buy, to support our local economy and producers and to reduce our carbon footprint.
Where are you based on a raceday usually?
Stefan: I am based in the central production kitchen within the ground floor of the Ebor Stand.
Pete: I spend my race days walking the whole racecourse, going into every kitchen and food outlets.
Describe a typical raceday in the kitchen?
Stefan: My day usually starts around 5am doing all the final prep for the day ahead in the central production kitchen, from there I control the distribution of food products around the whole racecourse for each day.
Pete: My day involves going around the race course restaurants and food outlets to ensure they have everything they require to ensure the customers’ expectations are met. This can be from delivering any food shortage, last minute changes to menus, carving a joint of meat in a private box or just being a pair of hands during a busy service.
What has been your favourite dish of the season so far?
Stefan: My favourite dish of the season is the chicken & pheasant terrine, fig chutney & hazelnut and potato salad. It’s a dish that is produced every meeting and has been very popular throughout the year. We’ve served it in all the boxes in every stand.
Pete: My favourite dish is the bisque butter poached lobster, salmon & sea bass terrine, gin & juniper smoked salmon ceviche of scallop & razor clam. We produced the dish for the main sponsors of the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival. I’ve supplied part of the recipe below so budding cooks can have a go!
Bisque butter poached lobster
Cooks in: 2 hours (+ 24 hours marinating)
Difficulty rating: Intermediate – hard
1 fresh lobster (We used Yorkshire Lobster)
250g unsalted butter melted
25g tomato puree
4 heritage tomatoes chopped
2 cloves garlic
4 sprigs of parsley
2 bay leaves
5 pepper corns crushed
1 carrot chopped
1 medium onion chopped
1 leek chopped
1L fish stock
Prepare the lobster,remove the tail from the body and carefully remove the meat from the shell.
Stick a skewer through the tail to keep straight and chill.
Chop up the tail and head shell into smaller pieces and roast in a shallow pan with the aromatics, vegetables and garlic.
Transfer into a deep pan and deglaze the roasting pan with brandy.
Add the chopped tomatoes, puree and fish stock to the deep pan and bring to a boil, simmer for 1 hour.
Place the bisque into a blender and blend on a high speed until smooth, season and then chill.
Whisk together the butter and bisque and pour into a vacuum pack pouch, add the lobster, seal and allow to marinate overnight before cooking in a water bath set at 65°c for 25 minutes.
Heat up the bisque until piping hot.
Plunge the bath pouch into ice water to cool when done.
Remove from the pouch, carefully remove the skewers.
Cut the lobster length ways down the tail place in the bisque and serve.
If you fancy having a go at the recipe be sure to let us know how you get on by tagging us on social media!