One of the joys of what we do at Belazu is discovering how chefs take our products and make them “sing to their own tune”. Every month we plan to highlight one of our customers who we believe are doing great things with our produce. This month it’s ;

The Three Oaks, owned by Henry & Katherine Cripps, is a charming and award-winning gastropub that opened in July 2011.

Head chef Mikey Seferynski, his kitchen team, General Manager Wesley Kay and the front of house team, collectively offer tasty and innovative Modern British cuisine and attentive service.

Being customer and produce led with an ever-changing seasonal menu, they were delighted to be awarded their first Bib Gourmand (Michelin Guide) in 2014 and have retained it for 4 years running. Recently they were awarded ‘Restaurant of the Year 2018’ from the SME Business Awards and ‘Restaurant of the Year 2017 & 2018’ from Berkshire & Buckinghamshire Life Food & Drink Awards.

The Three Oaks Team

Head Chef Mikey Seferynski

What’s the first thing you remember cooking?

It all started with a simple scrambled egg that I was cooking for my Mom, she helped me perfect it and we used to joke that I would open a scrambled egg shop someday.

How did you develop your style of cooking?

It took me a while, back home in Poland, when I started out I only stayed jobs for just 4-5 month, I just wanted to learn more. I eventually worked my way up to be head chef for the US Ambassador in Poland. It was a great job, I stayed there for two years. Then moved to the UK but had to start again as a commis chef improving my English. I worked my way up to sous chef at the Newbury Manor Hotel. Working at all these places allowed me to learn from all different chefs and combine the best ideas to develop my own style.

What would you say was the turning point in your career?   

Working for Heston Blumenthal in the Hind’s Head in Bray, it’s now a Michelin star restaurant. I was obsessed with him, it was my dream to work for him. I started to work for Heston as a chef de Partie and after 8 months I got a promotion as a Sous chef in the Hind’s Head.

What was so different about working for Heston Blumenthal?

I learned so much there, I hope that’s what people get when they come here to work with me now. We were curing and smoking salmon, cooking things sous vide, brining, marinating etc. The food was so simple looking on the plate but every dish took maybe 3 days to develop and prepare from scratch to the finished product. We were working with chefs from the Fat Duck and used recipes from Heston’s cookbook “In Search of Perfection”. It was insane!

When did you first start using Belazu products?

It was probably eight years ago in the Clarendon. I love Rose Harissa Paste, the Truffle & Pecorino Nuts obviously and the Merlot Vinegar… stunning! .. and your Orange Olive Oil.

Interesting, what do you use the Orange Olive Oil for?

I’ve been using it in different ways, now I am using it on desserts, I made orange and olive oil cake with it. I’m making a yogurt foam, I emulsify the yogurt with the orange olive oil; it’s got a light bitterness.

Your menu here looks fantastic, how did you develop your ideas?

It was tough in the beginning we had traditional pub food. I had to slowly twist it, getting clients to understand my cooking over time. Fish and chips became breaded fish and chips with some capers and parsley and lemon for the breadcrumbs and a warm tartar sauce.

What would you say is your chef’s top tip in the kitchen?

“A pinch of salt” can take an average dish to an amazing dish. When I say a “A pinch of salt” it actually might be a squeeze of lemon, a little added crunch, some pickles or some parsley stalks. Parsley stalks give you so much flavour, so much freshness and a nice bite, all that from something we normally wouldn’t use.

“A pinch of salt” can take an average dish to an amazing dish. When I say a “A pinch of salt” it actually might be a squeeze of lemon, a little added crunch, some pickles or some parsley stalks. Parsley stalks give you so much flavour, so much freshness and a nice bite, all that from something we normally wouldn’t use.

Stalks are often something people throw away, what made you change your way of thinking?

Watching Heston made me want to question everything, when he says searing steak doesn’t seal the juice in, it makes sense because if you cook a steak and rest it all the juice comes out anyway. That’s what I mean about parsley stalks. Why do we throw them when they have such a great texture & flavour?

Are you big on using all the ingredients?

Yes defiantly, I hate waste, any juices from any cooking meat etc. Thursday, we collect juices for Sunday and use it in Sunday’s gravy as it makes it more flavoursome. I don’t know why people don’t use seeds from cucumber, what’s wrong with seeds? Or tomato seeds? Why do we chuck skins and seeds and use the tasteless pulp? I hate waste.

One final question, if you could go you any restaurant in the world what would it be?

Probably Eleven Madison Park but that could change tomorrow, it’s a difficult one.

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