10 Chefs On The Seasonal Ingredients They’re Using Right Now
10 Chefs On The Seasonal Ingredients They’re Using Right Now

10 Chefs On The Seasonal Ingredients They’re Using Right Now

Any chef will tell you ingredients that are in season taste better – plus, they’re more abundant and cheaper. With that in mind, we asked nine of the best what they’re planning to use and cook this season, and the produce to look for at the supermarket.
By Sheeri Andrew

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Theo Randall

Theo Randall at the InterContinental

“Autumn is a fantastic time of year for root vegetables, mushrooms, chestnuts, cavolo nero, celeriac, walnuts, fennel and, of course, truffles. It’s also the best time for squash, which comes in many varieties – dark green delicata squash, onion squash and crown prince squash are my favourites. Celeriac is another wonderful vegetable as it has five times more fibre than potato – look for super fresh celeriac with its leaves. The fresher the celeriac, the sweeter the taste. In terms of meat and fish, lamb is great this time of year, as the meat has developed more flavour and cooks better because of the extra fat, while the best fish is red mullet. Cook it whole on the bone. It’s naturally sweet and has a wonderful texture. I buy fish from La Petite Poissonnerie in Primrose Hill and get deli items from Primo Italian Provisions on Regent’s Park Road. It stocks authentic Italian staples, cheese, salami, and an unbeatable selection of olive oil, wine and fresh and dried pasta.

“One dish I love at this time of year is a fish stew. Start by peeling four large prawns and removing the heads. Place them in a hot saucepan with a glug of olive oil and cook for a few minutes until they go pink. Add diced celery, fennel, fennel seeds, diced carrot, a bay leaf, one whole chopped leek, a glug of white wine and a pinch of salt. Cook for five minutes then add 750ml of water. Bring to a simmer, skim and leave to cook for 30 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve, discard the prawn shells and cooked vegetables, and leave the strained stock to one side. Then, in a hot pan with a tight-fitting lid, add a glug of olive oil and whatever seafood you like (I use mussels and clams). Cook until the shellfish starts to open and add 500g of puréed tomatoes. Ladle in the prawn stock, then carefully place seasoned monkfish, red mullet or sea bass fillets on top. Cook until flaky, finish with parsley, and serve with crusty bread.”

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Filippo La Gattuta

Big Mamma UK

“I look forward to cooking pumpkin, which is naturally sweet and earthy. I like to use delica varieties in vegan dishes, like whole roasted pumpkin steak, or as a filling for ravioli or risotto. I make it like a classic risotto but add pumpkin broth instead of stock. To make the broth, roast peeled and chopped pumpkin with onions and herbs, then blend with vegetable stock. Look out for porcini mushrooms at the supermarket which are fantastic with fresh tagliatelle. Simply fry the porcini with butter and garlic, add some stock, then toss with the pasta and serve with a crumble of chestnuts which have been roasted with rosemary. Serve this with a salad made from bitter leaves like chicory and radicchio. You can find the best Italian ingredients at Natoora in Bermondsey for fresh produce, and Prezzemolo E Vitale for pasta, sauces, cheese and charcuterie meats. Finally, autumn is the season of richer and full-bodied red wines like Barolo or Montepulciano – and, of course, grappa, the only way to warm yourself without a heater.”

Visit BigMammaGroup.com

Sofian Msetfi

Ormer Mayfair

“I love cavolo nero. It’s versatile, can withstand several cooking methods, and goes with most autumnal ingredients. The sprout and squash season has already arrived, so these are also at their cheapest and best quality. Plus, we are nearing the end of the elderberry season, and if you manage to find some, they’re great for pickles or in sauces paired with strong flavoured meats. As it’s game season, find a local butcher that regularly has venison and game birds like partridge and pheasant, and look out for pollock at the fishmonger. It has a similar texture to cod, just with slightly smaller flakes. I buy produce from Natoora, a grocery company that’s popped up all over London. They pride themselves on supplying only hyper-seasonal ingredients. They also import fresh mozzarella and a range of deli products from Spain. Drink-wise, it’s a great time for mulled wine or cider, infused with plenty of citrus zest and spices.”

Visit Flemings-Mayfair.co.uk


Amy Poon


“At this time of year, I love a dense, rich, nutty pumpkin. I also love chestnuts, roasted on their own, raw or braised in a dish of chicken and Chinese mushrooms. Pears and apples are in abundance, as is sweetcorn and fish like turbot, which becomes fatter as the weather gets colder. This month, I’ll be making a dry stir fry with mushrooms, cooking them in a dry pan on a high heat until the moisture burns off. I finish it with a little soy sauce and sesame oil. Nourishing Chinese soups are also a staple in our household, so I make these with partridge or quail. I love my local farmers market in Notting Hill, located in the playground of Fox’s Primary School on Saturday mornings. Then, I go to Dorset Fish for seafood, Karaway Bakery for delicious apple muffins, and Panzer’s for bagels. This weekend I’ll make a typical Chinese dessert of baked pears, cored and stuffed with banana, mango, walnuts, star anise and dates, all baked in apple juice. It’s a great alternative to crumble. I’ll also make Chinese pear tea with snow fungus, apricot kernels and goji berries.”

Visit PoonsLondon.com

Jack Stein

Rick Stein Restaurants

“I’m looking forward to using salsify, a root vegetable with an oyster-like flavour, as well as truffle. We’re at the end of the summer salad season so keep an eye out for dark green veggies like cavolo nero which is perfect with beetroot and cheese. Other favourites include pumpkin, great in a risotto with sage (not just for Halloween) as well as kale, mushrooms and any type of brassica. Now is also the time for lamb shanks and beef short ribs – anything that works well in a warming stew. Down in Cornwall, I love Padstow Kitchen Garden, a great farm shop with an excellent selection of veg. Then there’s Flo’s Kitchen, a new deli in Polzeath with a great cheese selection. This weekend, I’ll be making a steamed ginger pudding to enjoy with Cornish apple cider. I also love sweet wine paired with blue cheese – something like Sauternes is great.”

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Rahel Stephanie


“I love cooking with nutmeg as the weather gets colder. It’s an Indonesian spice, as are cloves, which are both great in Asian dishes like chicken or beef stew. Aubergines, figs and wild mushrooms are also fantastic right now, as are heartier meats and fish, like mackerel. Living in southeast London, I buy produce from local fruit and veg stalls and stores in Deptford. My favourite Asian grocery store is Lai Loi – a great spot for southeast Asian ingredients and far better than most supermarkets. This month, I’ll be making klappertaart, a Dutch-influenced coconut cake originating from Manado in south Sulawesi. It's a gorgeous coconut tart with hints of rum, and it's sprinkled with raisins.”

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Alex Reynolds


“Look out for Jerusalem artichokes. They’re versatile and delicious, so long as they are cooked properly. I like to braise them in port and cook them whole on the grill. The flavour is said to resemble oysters and they are also delicious poached in a little fish stock. I live in northeast London so almost every street has amazing greengrocers. They get a lot of their produce from the same markets that restaurant suppliers do. The trick is to ask when they get fresh stock in so that what you buy hasn’t been sitting around for too many days. Autumn is also game season; grouse is great, as is pigeon. I’ll have this followed by apple or pear tarte tatin, made with puff pastry, roasted fruit and caramel.”

Visit RestaurantEline.co.uk

Tom Tsappis

Killiecrankie House

“Autumn marks the start of game season. It’s also when pumpkin and root veg comes into season (great with a sweet miso glaze), as well as Scottish shellfish like oysters, clams and cockles. I like to roast the veg with a sweet miso glaze. Orchard fruits like apples, pears and quinces are abundant, alongside wild harvests like bilberries, chestnuts and elderberries. One of my favourite ingredients right now is daikon radishes. They are used often in Japanese cooking but can be harder to find in the UK – if you manage to get some at a farmers market, braise them in a stock made from sake, tamari, mirin, sugar and dashi. It’s delicious served with different types of mustard and crispy leeks for a surprising, warming dish. For a seasonal pudding, nothing beats a crumble. So easy to make and works with whatever you have available. I love it with pears, a dash of cinnamon and some raisins that have been soaked in brandy – served with lashings of custard, of course.”

Visit KilliecrankieHouse.com

Rowley Leigh

Chez Rowley

“It's the best time of year to cook grouse, partridge and rabbit, as well as wild mushrooms, truffles, squashes, apples, pears and quinces. One of my favourite recipes is cheese-baked pumpkin – cut a hole in the top of a large green hubbard pumpkin and scoop out the seeds. Season the interior and fill the hole with a mixture of grated gruyere, croutons fried in butter and double cream. Put the lid back on and bake in a medium oven (180°C) for three hours. I’ll pair this with a bottle of Rhône red, followed by queen of pudding made with quince jam and topped with meringue. I buy local produce in my little corner on the Devon/Somerset border: Bampton Butcher for meat, Bampton Fresh for veg and Tiverton Pannier Market for fresh produce.”

Visit ChezRowley.com

Claire Thomson

Food Writer & Chef

“First and foremost, look out for beautiful squash and pumpkins that top counters as they’re so versatile. It’s also the time of the year when a proper Sunday lunch begins to make an appearance after months of summery picnics and alfresco lunches. I love a good roast chicken for Sunday lunch with family and friends, or I like to cook it over cinnamon pilaf rice in my Everhot, which makes the kitchen smell great. Pudding-wise, the upside-down apple and caramel cake in my book Home Cookery Year is a great choice. Plus, let’s not forget the wine to be enjoyed at this time of year. I write the wine lists for a couple of places in Cornwall like The Gurnard’s Head and The Old Coastguard. Right now, I’d have something red from Piedmont to serve with a mushroom dish, perhaps some polenta too, with soft, washed-rind cheese.

"I live in Bristol and I’m lucky with the variety of shops here in the city – Mexican, Korean, Chinese, Italian, Spanish and more. I try and shop in my local area to support independent shops, especially those on the Gloucester Road, and then do the odd online shop for more household centric products.”

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