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David Brown of Lewtrenchard Manor

David Brown, head chef of Lewtrenchard Manor in Devon, reveals the dishes he believes should be on your bucket list
cullen skink david brown
Cullen skink

David Brown, head chef of Lewtrenchard Manor in Devon, reveals the dishes he believes should be on your bucket list

Lobster thermidor

The first time I made this classic dish was while working at Gleneagles in Perthshire, Scotland. As lobster is expensive, it’s not the type of thing you’d eat often, but it’s a treat to savour with a glass of Chardonnay or Gin Martini.

David’s tip: Thermidor sauce is versatile, so don’t be afraid to mix it up. I like to add a good quality brandy and use both dijon and english mustards. Elevate the flavours further by using lots of fresh herbs, lemon juice and parsley.

Steak tartare

This is one of my all‑time favourite dishes. The first time I tried steak tartare in a restaurant the chef made it at the table as I watched. The theatre of the experience made it hugely memorable and I can still vividly recall the flavour of the meat.

Classically, steak tartare comes with capers, gherkins, shallots and a raw egg but, at Lewtrenchard, we pair it with a hollandaise sauce which creates a creamier, more luxurious finish.

David’s tip: Source the best beef you can afford. Traditionally, chefs use fillet steak but it works just as well with a cheaper cut like hanger – it’s a little chewier but a third of the price and the flavour is brilliant. Serve it simply with a golden slice of toast.

Steak tartare

Lorne sausage

Also known as square sausage, this is a Scottish delicacy I grew up eating. It’s hard to find in England, so whenever I go home it’s the first thing I look for.

It comprises beef, pork and fragrant spices, and tastes like a delicious burger‑sausage hybrid. For a proper Scottish breakfast, stuff it into a roll with lots of brown sauce and, if you’re hungover, wash it down with an Irn‑Bru.

David’s tip: Don’t buy a cheap knock-off as it’ll be disappointing. Source the meat from a quality butcher if you plan to make it at home, or order the real thing direct to your door from a proper Scottish butcher.

Cullen skink

Another Scottish speciality close to my heart is cullen skink, a traditional smoked haddock and potato soup. It’s the ultimate comfort food (I used to have it on cold days at my Nana’s house) and is inexpensive to make.

The smoked haddock is cooked in milk and then removed from the pan before potatoes, leek and onion are added. Once cooked through, I blend the veggies and flake in the smoked haddock. I like to keep some cooked potatoes back to add in at the end for a chunkier texture.

David’s tip: If your day isn’t going well or you’re feeling poorly, make a comforting bowl of cullen sink to cheer yourself up. Mop it up with Mother’s Pride bread slathered in butter.

Crab sandwich

When I moved to the South West – originally to Looe – the first thing I wanted to eat was a crab sandwich. I remember they were sold out everywhere locally, but I managed to get my hands on one in Fowey and it was incredible.

My go‑to now is multigrain bread with lots of white crab meat, a little brown crab meat, lemon juice, chives and baby gem lettuce. It’s also got to be eaten on the coast with a cup of tea, while fending off seagulls.

David’s tip: Use freshly baked bread and handpicked crab meat instead of pasteurised – the flavour is much better.

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