Michael Caines MBE, was born in Exeter, Devon, and is one of the UK’s most respected chefs. He is currently head chef of Gidleigh Park in Devon, the Royal Clarence in Exeter, and The Bath Priory in Bath, as well as developing the Abode hotels concept with Andrew Brownsword. Caines worked with influential mentor Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons in Oxfordshire, before moving to France to learn under Bernard Loiseau in Saulieu and Joël Robuchon in Paris. In November this year, The Sunday Times Food List and Harden’s restaurant guides, named Gidleigh Park the best restaurant in Britain.
I spoke with Michael to discuss his favourite Scotch egg, as well as some inspiring creations and possible new developments to the retro bar snack.
Q. In three words, how would you describe a Scotch egg?
A. Simple, British, flavoursome.
Q. Best served hot or cold?
Q. Served with or without condiments? If with, then which?
A. A seasoned Scotch egg is fine on its own, but when I was a kid I’d have salad cream with a cold Scotch egg. I think that’s the problem with people’s perception of the Scotch egg; it’s usually from their childhood when they were given a cold and bland one at a picnic. At ABode Chester we’re serving Scotch eggs with grain mustard mayonnaise, and that seems to be proving very popular.
Q. Are there any variations on the Scotch egg you enjoy?
A. I know some chefs experiment with the meat, sometimes opting for venison over sausage. You can experiment with herbs and seasoning of the meat, seasoning I think is vital. Use some sage and onion, perhaps some spice, to find new variations in the flavouring. How about keeping the eggs in a scented box before preparation? Maybe use truffles so that there’s a musty, woody aroma to the egg.
Q. In your opinion, where serves the best Scotch egg?
A. I had a delicious venison Scotch egg only the other week at The Barn at Coworth Park (head chef is John Campbell). Is was deep-fried and crunchy with a fabulous runny yolk at the centre.
Keep track of Michael Caines at: http://www.michaelcaines.com
You can follow Michael Caines on Twitter: @michaelcaines