A man for all seasons: The Marlborough Tavern’s Head Chef, Jack Scarterfield
The Marlborough Tavern has built a reputation on delivering patrons great tasting home cooked food with an emphasis on seasonal and local produce. Under the guidance of Head Chef, Jack Scarterfield, the awardwinning pub continues to offer high quality restaurant dishes, but without the stuffiness that can sometimes accompany them.
We speak to Jack about his career to date, his influences, showcasing his talents at this years Pub In The Park and on how becoming vegetarian has improved his cooking skills.
I trained at Bath College who helped me land my first cheffing job at The Royal Photographic Society in Bath. I then went on from this to work for Mark Pearson at The Pump Rooms, Assembly Rooms & Bath Rugby Club.
A real turning point in my career and where my love of cooking seafood really began when I started to work at Green street owned by Mitch Tonks. The head chef there, Garry Rosser (now Head Chef of the Scallop Shell), taught and inspired me to cook with seafood and how the beauty of the ingredients can really speak for themselves. Following on from this I worked around London with Mitch Tonks for 8 years.
After the living the high life in London I opted for a quieter pace of life where I spent two and a half years working for a country pub in Exmoor. Finally, going full circle and returning to Bath to start a family and re-open The Beaufort. After working there for a couple of years I moved to The Bath Pub Company and landed the job of Head Chef of The Marlborough Tavern.
What are your first memories of food?
I was inspired to cook by my grandmother who was a cook in the war. My family are quite foodie, so my mother grows all her own veg and we had chickens giving us fresh eggs every day. So every dinner was the whole family tucking into super fresh produce.
At what age did you want to make a career as a Chef and who has influenced you?
At aged 14 I decided that I wanted to be a chef. With having such a foodie family and growing up around great produce I knew this was what I wanted to work with. My food heroes are Rick Stein and Mitch Tonks. I grew up watching Rick travelling the world and I worked with Mitch for many years. He taught me a huge amount about amazing produce and keeping it simple.
What is the ethos behind the food at The Marlborough Tavern?
Producing great food that people love to eat. We produce fantastic food for everyone in a cosy pub setting, whether you’re in the mood for a healthy salad, a burger, vegan main, Sunday lunch or gourmet special.
How would you best sum up your style of cooking?
I incorporate flavours from around the world using the best possible produce & locally sourced. I like to explore flavours and textures to make the ingredients sing. I spent a year in Thailand so I tend to use spices in some of my cooking.
The Marlborough Tavern will be at this years Pub In The Park. How exciting is it to be part of this fantastic event?
It’s fantastic news that we’re included in the festival this year and i’m really looking forward to working alongside some of the industry’s finest chefs. Pub in the Park is a great opportunity to showcase the wonderful local produce which I get to use on the Marlborough menus every day. My food is local, rustic and packed full of fl avour and I can’t wait to get stuck in!
What do you have planned for the festival?
The festival asks each pop-up pubs to produce three tapas sized dishes so I wanted to create some real crowd pleasers using the ingredients I love to cook with. On the Pub in the Park menu you’ll find:
• Cauliflower & heritage carrot pakoras with red lentil dhal, fried curry leaves, fresh mango & coriander. (Vegan)
• Lamb with aubergine & chickpea tagine, cucumber, yoghurt, pomegranate & fresh mint.
• Salt & pepper squid with chilli jam, spring onion, fresh lime & basil.
You have started someVegan tasting menus at The Marlborough Tavern. What is it about this cuisine that interests you and what makes working with plant based produce unique?
We have now done several Vegan tasting menu evenings which have been fully booked. Five courses for £40pp with a vegan drinks menu to match. We were joined by vegan food writer Sharon Collins at one event who wrote the vegan cook book ‘a bit of the good stuff’, she described the evening as exquisite. The star course of the night (raved about on our social media) was the parsnip hash brown, maple & soy wild mushrooms, parsnip crisps. This dish is the one I have decided to share with you later in the week.
I am now vegetarian myself and fi nd that working with plant based produce means you can be clever with ingredients. I want to make vegetarian & vegan food which excites people. My menus include vegetarian & vegan dishes which are just as tempting as any of the dishes containing meat or fish.
Having worked with vegetarian and vegan menus recently, have you discovery (or rediscovered) any new ingredients that you are excited about?
On a recent Vegan Tasting menu I used banana blossom which I coated in tempura batter to give some texture, this was then paired with nori chips, wasabi pea purée & pickled ginger tartare. Similar to artichokes, banana blossom has an excellent texture and really lends itself to being fried with a crispy batter then complemented with Asian flavours.
With a plethora of produce to choose from this time of year, what will we see on the menu this summer?
Having worked with seafood most of my career I always enjoy using mackerel, scallops & squid. Using beautiful hand dived scallops I like to try and keep it simple by serving them their shell with samphire, garlic & parsley crumb.
Always a great time of year when spring lamb comes on the menu. This year I’ll be barbequing loin of lamb and serving with charred hispi cabbage, crispy sweetbreads, jersey royal & lamb shoulder hash with salsa Verdi lamb sauce I love using strawberries from Cheddar, an idea I have is using them in a tart and serving with lavender meringue, lemon curd, clotted cream & basil.
Finally, what do you have planned for the summer and the rest of 2019 at the restaurant?
We have renowned foodie events once a month at The Tav. This year I have a Welcome to Spring menu coming up and in plans to do another vegan night, and Indian night and after the success of last years game menu we will be doing another of those.
The Marlborough Tavern | 35 Marlborough Buildings | Bath | BA1 2LY Tel: 01225 423731