5 Minutes with our new head chef Gary White
Gary White is an award-winning chef who joined the Bateaux London team six weeks ago. We caught up with Gary to ask him why he wanted to join Bateaux London and to get a tease of his exciting new menus for London's leading restaurant cruise.
Hi Gary, having joined us just six weeks ago, what have been your first impressions?
There is a real passion here! From the start I have had this feeling that everyone really enjoys working here. There is an incredible passion for what they do and a real thirst to strive and to give the guests an exceptional experience. Some people are fairly new to the business, others have worked here for years and there is a real collaboration within and between the teams and all members. It makes for a great atmosphere and it is a very motivational environment to work in!
Not everyone knows that we are part of the Sodexo Group, but I believe that was you main motivation into working for us…
That’s right! I have worked in some really prestigious restaurants and venues in London and across the world. Sodexo is a global company and my respect for them has only increased over the years. They run major events including the Chelsea Flower Show, the Henley Regatta and Ascott; incredible operations where they always manage to deliver the best quality. I am very proud to now be part of this.
Bateaux London combines the functions of being a restaurant for individuals but can also be an exceptional venue for large events. For me as a chef, this means that I compete with some of the best restaurants of the capital but I also have to be able to serve large scale events without losing on quality or prestige - that’s my kind of challenge!
What do you have in mind for Bateaux?
When our guests join a Bateaux London cruise, they want to visit London from the river and see the famous landmarks of the capital. I think this is a great occasion to also visit from a culinary perspective, with a great British menu!
There is a real resurgence of the best of British and I am a great supporter of this. Sourcing your produce locally means you know where it comes from and you support local business. It is a guarantee of quality and it reduces our carbon footprint - win-win. As we show the best of London, we’ll show the best of the British produce too!
Our menus will be British with modern hints and flavours from all over the world. London was once a great hub for the spice market, coming from India and the Caribbean and has remained a great crossroad for cultures from all over the world meet. Past and current British cuisine has inherited all these influences - making it diverse and fascinating. It's why I love it.
Speaking of menus, you will soon be launching your menu, can you tell us more?
Well, at the moment, it is still a work in progress. I have a lot of new ideas for dishes that I want to put in place pretty soon, but I am also keeping a couple of elements of the current menu that are really popular. For example, the team has been doing a great Ox cheeks dish for dinner which I really like; it is typically a British ingredient that is underutilized. Here it is slow cooked in red wine, giving a very rich texture and taste; I will balance it up with a peas and thyme risotto cake and butternut squash spaghetti; adding citrusy flavours and a bit of a bite to it.
Then of course, there are elements that are totally new to our menu. I am particularly excited to launch our dessert menu. As stone fruits are in season, we’ll have a simple spiced plum dessert, again, a great local produce to which we’ll add a twist of exotic fragrance. Poached in star anis, peppercorn and clove, the plums will be served with a pistachio sablé and a ginger ice cream.
Also, one of my favourite British desserts is the treacle tart. I have added lemon and thyme to the mix to add freshness and it will be served with clotted cream to cut through the sweetness and topped up with an edible flower and bee pollen for the summer touch! We are aiming to launch this April, it is really exciting!
We can't wait to share the new menus with you so to stay up to date with us do follow us on Twitter and Facebook. To find out more about our cruises, call us on 0207 695 1800 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org