Coming from a family of pubs passionate about offering fresh, local, seasonal dishes on our menus, we’re delighted to introduce you to the Head Chef of The Temple Inn.
Dale Harris has been part of the Red Mist Leisure family for over 12 years, having previously worked at our sister pub The Duke of Cambridge in Tilford and also our pub in Farnham, The Wheatsheaf. His career in the pub industry even goes back to before Red Mist owned The Duke of Cambridge, when he was Assistant Manager of the pub.
We managed to pull Dale away from the kitchen for a minute, to sit down and ask him a few questions to find out what goes on under the chef’s hat…
What was your dream job when you were growing up?
Like many young boys, I wanted to be a racing driver. Cooking wasn’t really something I had considered until later in life when I joined the Red Mist team.
Where did you grow up and was food always a part of your life as a child?
I grew up locally, I’m Farnham born and bred and was lucky enough to dine out at a lot of the local restaurants and pubs. Having seen the transition of the traditional ‘pub grub’ over the years move towards a more gastro experience has definitely been a big influence on my love for, and being a creator behind, food to be shared and enjoyed amongst friends.
Tell us a little bit about your background… What inspired you to become a chef?
I started my working career, in my teens, as a waiter at The Duke of Cambridge, Tilford and was quickly promoted to Assistant Manager. It was around this time that Red Mist Leisure took over the pub and they kept me on in my role. After being part of the Red Mist family for some time, and expressing my love for helping to create the delicious homemade desserts (sticky toffee pudding being my favourite!), I was given the opportunity to train in-house to become a chef and that’s how I transitioned from front-of-house to the kitchen, where I feel much more at home. Since then I have loved forging new culinary skills and being able to experiment with flavours and ingredients.
Who is your favourite celebrity chef and why are they your favourite?
This seems to be the answer for the majority of Red Mist Head Chefs, but it has to be Tom Kerridge – we’re all very inspired by his success. I admire his style; he takes such simple dishes and packs them with so many incredible flavours. If you ever get the opportunity to splash out and treat yourself to a meal at his pub, The Hand and Flowers in Marlow, I would highly recommend it, although you usually have to book quite far in advance.
What is your favourite ‘go to’ dinner when you’re having a relaxing chilled evening at home?
When I’m not working in the kitchen and I get to enjoy a relaxing evening at home, I like to cook something super simple like a piece of meaty, fresh white fish with lots of vibrant salad and crusty white bread (with soft, salted butter).
Do you have a top tip that you share with people in the kitchen?
Hmmmm…. don’t rush or panic when cooking as this is when you’ll make mistakes. Take your time, read (and re-read) any instructions you’re following and enjoy the cooking process. Also taste along the way, it’s surprising how few people taste-check when cooking.
If you could cook for anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
Matt Le Tissier, because he is the greatest footballer to ever wear a football shirt (Southampton shirt!!). The Man is an absolute legend and it would be an absolute pleasure to cook for him (if you’re reading this Matt, you’re welcome any time!).
What’s your favourite thing about British Pubs?
I love the fact that the majority of traditional British Pubs all have their own distinct character and history, they’re unique in their own way; but a good pub for me is one that has a great local village feel and community spirit. You can walk into a pub on your own, or as a group, and will always see someone you know and have a bit of banter with (as well as delicious local beer and food to fill up on).
What are you most excited about for the new Temple Inn?
I love a challenge, so I’m really excited to step up to the role of Head Chef at The Temple Inn and develop menus offering the pub classics that everyone loves, alongside dishes that feature seasonal ingredients from our local suppliers. I’m also excited to meet the locals and hope that they will be as proud as we are in being part of the all new ‘village pub’.
Come and try Dale’s delicious dishes, by booking a table online to enjoy lunch or dinner at The Temple Inn. Bookings are available from 12th July 2018.