Head chef has the right ingredients for the best dish

SMASHING The Bat and Ball head chef Simon Bone with Judge Colin Simpson
SMASHING The Bat and Ball head chef Simon Bone with Judge Colin Simpson

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FOR the most delicious pub meals in Hampshire you’ve got to go east.

Chefs from the historic Bat and Ball, in Clanfield, and the Old House at Home, in Havant, came first and second in the Fullers and Hampshire Food Festival’s dish of the year competition.

Simon Bone, who has only been head chef at the 300-year-old countryside Bat and Ball pub for six months, impressed judges in the final of the competition last week by creating a delicious meal using only local produce in just 30 minutes.

He went head to head with five other Fullers pub chefs from across the county.

But it was Simon who impressed with his pan-fried turbot fillet, new potato broad bean and garden pea fricassee and watercress salad with a rapeseed oil dressing.

He said: ‘Turbot is a fish I really enjoy eating myself, and the other components of the dish were all good local Hampshire ingredients. Combined, they made a really nice meal.

‘It feels really good to have won.

‘It is positive for the pub too as my winning dish is just like the food we serve every day at the Bat and Ball.

‘We believe in using local ingredients as it supports our community and it also means we can trace our products.

‘It was a nerve-wracking experience being up on stage and cooking in front of all those people but I’m really pleased I did it.’

Simon, 27, trained at Highbury College, Cosham, and has worked at Uplands Hotel and The Rake Inn, in the past.

He joined the Bat and Ball in 2009 and became head chef at the beginning of the year.

The final of the competition was held at the Taste of Hampshire event at Sparsholt College.

The judges included Kate Hibbert from The Southern Co-operative, Billy Owton from Owtons Butchers and Colin Simpson from Fuller’s.

Stephen Sweeting, executive chef at Fuller, Smith and Turner said of the results, ‘This year’s competition was of a very high standard and extremely challenging for all the chefs.’