Meet The Chef
Posted on 2nd October 2023 at 20:31
As we celebrate the launch of our delicious new menu, read on to find out all about our exceptionally talented new Head Chef
When we took over the pub we knew it had previously had a reputation for high quality food and we wanted to bring that back. It was important for us to find a chef that shared our values and outlook and that would want to stay with us as we grow and develop the business.
We were delighted then to meet Ian Cullen, who joined the team in the middle of September after 19 years at Gloucester Rugby Club. Ian says that when he met our landlord Joe for the first time he was delighted to find they were on the same page. They both want to create a place for the community to come together and enjoy themselves, where the food, drink and entertainment on offer fits with the vibe created by customers and staff. As a team, our aim is for The Bell to become a destination pub where our customers know they will feel welcome and have a great time, whoever they are. Ian's food is an important part of that - almost everything on his new menu can be served as a half-portion to cater for smaller appetites, and you definitely won't walk away hungry after a meal here - generosity is Ian's middle name!
As Head Chef here, Ian says his focus is on cooking “good, proper pub food at the higher end of the market. I don’t use packet mixes or frozen food or anything pre-packaged, I make my own spice mixes, the meat for my curries is all marinated before being added to the homemade sauces - the curries you’ll have at The Bell won’t be the standard ones you’ll find in other places.”
Ian says that what he enjoys most as a chef is “having the freedom to be creative and express myself through food - that’s what made me want to come and work at The Bell. My ethos is around creating fresh, home-made, high-quality, well-presented food that people want to eat. My food is locally-sourced and seasonal. It’s all about the quality and the taste, and that’s reflected in the price”.
Ian will only use ingredients that are the highest quality available, so he spends time every day talking to suppliers and reps about topics such as the traceability of the meat he uses. “It’s important that the animals have been grass fed, not stuck in a barn somewhere, and have been well-cared for - animal welfare is very important to me”. He is also a chef who admires vegans, and goes out of his way to create delicious plant-based meals with a difference. His Chickpea and Lentil Curry in Mango and Coconut Sauce, served with homemade Onion Bhaji, is just one delicious example.
Every day in the kitchen is different for Ian. Today, for example, he has been doing some butchery in preparation for tonight’s service, preparing garnishes, making curry sauces (long, slow cooking and resting enhances the flavour), making celeriac crisps (Ian can’t abide food waste so even vegetable peelings are re-used), working on creating today’s specials - and serving lunch to customers and staff! He has also been experimenting with home-made bar snacks, ready for the launch of our new autumn menu - beer-battered gherkins anyone? (Say yes, they are AWESOME!!!).
We feel incredibly proud and privileged to have Ian as part of our team and everyone that has tasted his food so far has said the same. You can find our new menus here and we will be publishing Ian’s Christmas menus soon. There will be lots more ideas coming along from his remarkably inventive brain - so watch this space!
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