An Interview with Chef Steve Hyde

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Chef Steve Hyde (SH) is one of the judges of the’ Battle of The Chefs. A reality TV cooking competition which is broadcasted on ZBC TV. He has travelled around the world as a cook. In an interview with 263 Africa journalist Tapiwanashe Rubaya (TR), Chef Steve shares some of his secret recipes that have made his diners return time and time again.

TR: Who is chef Steve Hyde?

 SH: I was born in Kadoma and I started cooking at a very young age. I remember preparing a full English breakfast for my mother on Mothers Day.  I must have been four at the time.  She was very patient, it was like eating a four course meal, the toast would go, 10 minutes later the bacon, followed by eggs.  When I look back she put up with a lot!! but I think that started me off on the path to the culinary world.  I remember careers advice at secondary school, every time I was asked what I wanted to do for a career  my answer was always I want to be a chef.

TR: Share with us how you ventured in the cooking industry?
SH: I started my training at age sixteen, I was never very academic! So I went off to the big city, London to be exact.  What an awakening! Professional kitchens are so very different from what many people imagine. They are harsh, hot, busy and often brutal.  Mistakes were not tolerated, but I learnt a great deal, not only about cuisine but about people and mostly myself. I have always been a “foody” and I wanted to gain as much knowledge as I could and as quickly as I could.  I worked extremely hard, completing my apprenticeship and college course in half the prescribed time.
At nineteen years of age I was appointed as Head Chef within a countryside hotel, restaurant and banqueting centre, I stayed in that job for four years, my ongoing passion for food continued but also diversified.  Training people within the kitchen was now a great passion.
My career proceeded, I took a position as a sous chef on a cruise line company, travelled the Caribbean and the west coast of America, the hardest and longest shifts I have ever done, believe me!  American tourists can EAT!! Food was served 24/7.
From the American experience I went to Europe, worked in a variety of places, then on to Australia, Thailand and the Far East. I have also owned and operated three restaurants and even managed a pub!  I must have worked in 30 different outlets across 5 continents,  It has been an amazing journey.

Eventually, in 1993 I started teaching and went back to university to gain a degree.  I worked in education for 17 years as a chef lecturer, then on to managing culinary arts department and later as Head of Hospitality, Travel and Tourism. I have been very fortunate in my career, I have worked with many nationalities and along side some of the best chefs in the world, people like Anton Mossiman, Heston Blumenthal, Gordon Ramsay, James Martin, Anton Eidelman and many more.  The most gratifying aspect is now watching the people who I taught, they are now the rising stars of the culinary world, John Lawson-Melbourne, Lennox Hastie-Sydney, Gajraj Sharma-London and Rewari-Haryana and Jamie Oliver.

TR:What are some of the challenges you face as chefs?
SH: Working within the hospitality industry is not easy, we have to tolerate diverse cultures both within the workforce and of course our clients.  We have to work whilst the rest of the population are either relaxing or enjoying free time.  Being a chef is not a job, it is a vocation!  A chef must have true passion, it may only be food or sustenance to the majority of people, but, to us, it is an art form.  But, we cannot please all our customers all of the time, which is unfortunate. We as chefs are only as good as the last meal we serve.

TR: What are some of  the important kitchen utensils that must be in every chef’s kitchen?
SH: There are a variety of utensils which have to be in every professional kitchen, anything from blenders to robo-coups, decent stoves and pots are very important, but, above all decent knives are a pre-requisite.

TR: What wont you allow in your kitchen as and chef?
 SH:This is a very difficult question to answer, I definitely will not allow convenience sauces to be used, that is a personal preference, ensuring the use of fresh ingredients helps with producing good flavours without the synthetic textures that often appear with convenience foods. Apart from that, the one thing I will not allow is a bad attitude!!

TR:Tell us your favourite dish and briefly what is needed to prepare the dish?
SH: Chicken liver parfait, a simple dish,  I have too many favourites!!! Chicken Liver Parfait with Cumberland Sauce
Ingredients List Mixed Salad leaves, 1lb of Cleaned chicken livers, Tartlette cases, Milk For the Cumberland sauce, 1lb Unsalted Butter, Port 1/2 measure of White wine, Shallots, 1/2 measure of Madeira Juice of orange
Small julienne of Orange and Lemon 1/2 measure of port, Redcurrant Jelly, Thyme, Bayleaf, 1oz Finally chopped Shallots and crushed garlic Seasoning, 2 Eggs
METHODS.1. For the Parfait. Soak the Chicken Liver overnight in milk to extract any bitterness. 2. Finally chop/blend in the Robo-coupe until the livers are very smooth, then pass through a sieve. 3. Sweat the shallots and garlic in butter until cooked but without any colour, add the thyme and Bay leaf add all the wine, Madeira and port and reduce. Allow to cool. 4. Add the liver to the Robo – coupe again, then adds the reduced shallot mix but remove the thyme and Bay leaf first. Process again until smooth add the butter and mix thoroughly then add the eggs and mix further. 5. When thoroughly mixed season and taste. Pour into an oiled and double wrapped with cling film Terrine mould. 6. Steam for 26 mins only at 100 degrees Celcius until the core temperature has reached 73 degrees Celsius. 7. When cooked Remove from steamer and lift up the top layer of cling film pour in some Brady and place back the cling film, now weight down and blast chill until cold. 8. To make the Cumberland Sauce. Finely chop the shallots and ginger, sweat until soft but no colour. Add the port and orange juice and reduce all the way down. 9. Add the Cumberland jelly and reduce further.10. When well reduced blanch the julienne of lemon and orange and when blanched add to the Jelly mix, place in sterilized jars and cool 11. To Serve. Using an hot, wet knife cut a slice of pate and place in the center of the plate, place a bunch of dressed salad leaves at the top of the plate and a tartlette of Cumberland sauce on the side drizzle the edge with olive oil and spots of reduced Balsamic vinegar.

TR:Which is the most difficult dish,that most chefs fail to prepare.
SH:There is an old dish, often it is over cooked, Gordon Ramsay has said in the past that you can tell if a chef is decent if they can produce Fillet of Beef Wellington.
When preparing the dish one must understand textures and temperature control. Seal the whole beef fillet in a very hot pan, reserve and cool.
Prepare mushroom duxelle, minced mushrooms and onions cooked with butter and sherry, ensure the mix is fairly dry.
Coat the beef fillet with duxelle then wrap in pancakes ( this ensures there is no moisture absorbed by the puff pastry).
Cover the whole fillet with a good puff pastry, pastry should be approximately 3mm thick, mould into the shape of a Wellington boot.Brush with eggwash, use egg yolks, salt and a little water, this will give you an even golden colour once cooked
Bake in a hot oven, 220 for 10 minutes, then reduce to 180 to complete the cooking process.
Puff pastry should be fully cooked and the fillet of beef itself should be pink, maximum degree of cooking, medium.
All too often you find the pastry is underdone, or the pastry is fully cooked but the beef is well done
This dish was first produced for the Duke of Wellington, shaped to reflect the boots he used to wear hence the name!

TR:Among some  prominent international chefs whom would you like to share your kitchen with?
SH: I have been lucky enough to work alongside many prominent chefs,  If I had the opportunity I would like to work with Joseph Seeletso, an ex student of mine, originally he was from Botswana but he now runs a culinary studio and wine bar in Poland, if not him, Pierre Thiam a passionate Senegalese chef who is based in New York.  I admire both of the chefs, they are so passionate about what they do!

TR:Any celebrity you would like to cook for…
SH:I have been lucky enough to cook for a variety of people, from Hollywood stars to musicians, politicians and royalty.  Give me an ordinary person who appreciates food and I would love to cook for them.

TR:Which dish are you going to serve him/her(describe for us the dish briefly how its done)?
SH:It depends on the persons taste, Pan fried King scallops on mussel chowder.
A simple dish but a lot of skill required to produce it, a lot of good flavour.
requirements/recipe:
Chowder,sweat onion in butter with a little diced pork belly, moisten with white wine, add live mussels and steam. Remove mussels once shells have opened, add fish stock and simmer gently, add thinly sliced potato cut in paysanne, simmer until potato are almost done, add a little milk, bring to the boil, add mussel flesh to reheat.
Place chowder in a shallow bowl, dust scallops with seasoned flour and fry in foaming butter,place scallops on top of chowder and present Chowder can be enriched with butter and a little cream, for further flavour add fennel in julienne with the onion at the beginning.

TR:What will you prefer a blackforest cake or fruit cake?
SH: A good fruit cake

TR:Tell me how to prepare a steak
SH: Ensure your steak is mature, hang for a minimum of 21 days. Cook to customer requirements, either grill, fry, poach or braise or use sous vide.  There are so many ways to prepare and present steaks.

TR:Can you finish the following statement: for one to be a professional chef he or she…
SH: needs to be passionate about food with uncompromising standards….

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