Feeling in the pink

PUBLISHED: 15:11 08 February 2008 | UPDATED: 15:01 20 February 2013

Mike Lecouteur

Mike Lecouteur

Chic décor, cool cocktails - and the food's not bad either: what's not to love about Cerise Restaurant & Bar at The Forbury Hotel in Reading, asks chef Mike Lecouteur...

DESCRIBE your menu in four words:
Honest, modern, diverse and seasonal.

Which chef do you most admire and why? You've got to admire the Marco's
and Gordon's of this world for what
they have brought to the culinary stage.
I mostly admire Tommy Boland at The Capital.

What are your predictions for the next food trend? Anything from Spain. This is an area to be observed, as they are pushing boundaries as far as possible.

What's been your best culinary idea? Using different textures to complement flavours on the plate.

How often do you change the menu? Our lunch menu changes weekly and the à la carte every seven to eight weeks according to the abundance and availability of seasonal products.

What is your favourite utensil? Pacojet, a revolutionary food processor for ice creams and sorbets, and Espuma bottles for foams and mousses.

What is your most memorable meal? Pig's head terrine and floating islands at Arbutus, in Soho, or the Terrace at Café del Mar, in Ibiza, watching the sun set.

What is your favourite cheese? Maroilles - it's creamy and sumptuous with a glass of Chateau Gazin Merlot.

If you hadn't been a chef what would you have done? Maybe something with design but I have always been hands on and aspired to be a chef.

What do you choose to drink? When I'm not working, I like a glass or two of Corton Charlemagne.

Wines, new world or old world and why? New world: our new sommelier Benoit is educating me every day, but one must never forget the old world classics!

Describe a food combination? Scottish Black Beef and a bottle of Crozes Hermitage. A nice combination of snappy tannins and a chocolatey bouquet.

What do you think of the cult of celebrity chef? I think it's a good thing. Anything that can help bring the next generation into fine cuisine, can only
be positive.

Name a favourite Berkshire producer or supplier? Anne Wigmore for her cheeses.

What do you like most about your restaurant? What's not to like? The colours, the staff, the bar, the potent cocktails. It's a perfect scenario, not forgetting the food!

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