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07 October 2014

Inside the Manor: An Interview with Dale McIntosh

Our head chef and chef patron will be going head to head with a chefs from all over the region in the semi-final of 2014’s South West Chef of the Year.

Semi-Finals 2014 South-West chef of the year

This weekend, our head chef and chef patron will be going head to head with a number of chefs from all over the region in the semi-final of 2014’s South West Chef of the Year. As Visit Cornwall’s ‘chef of the month’ and the county’s only finalist, Dale will be flying the flag for Cornwall on October 11th.

 Dale McIntosh - Merchants Manor head chef

With a busy week of work and preparation ahead, we managed to ask Dale a few questions so you too can discover the man behind the Manor’s food…

Tell us, how did this lifelong passion for cooking start?

After leaving school I tried several professions including carpet fitting, plastering and mechanical engineering, but none of them worked out for one reason or another. Eventually I fell into the pub trade where I did shifts behind the bar, in the cellar and washing dishes. That was it, my interest in food had been sparked and from here, I worked my way up the kitchen.

Tell us about your vision for The Brasserie at Merchants Manor?

The emphasis on the brasserie is local, seasonal produce, well cooked and simple with big flavours. Our menu is well balanced and has something for everyone – leaving it very hard to make the right choice. The kitchen’s great food coupled with a relaxed environment and friendly service has firmly put the Brasserie on the map for places to eat in Falmouth.

You put a great deal of effort into sourcing your produce locally, why is this?

The ingredients we have on our doorstep make my menu very interesting, which is why I go to extreme lengths to source the right produce. I love using the very best local suppliers like Primrose and Warren’s butchers. Doing this makes my job harder – I could just phone one supplier at the end of the night and order everything I need, but if you really want quality produce throughout the menu you have to go the extra mile. We support the local fishermen, farmers and small businesses and it’s important to me to keep money within the county. It’s a real passion of mine and the comments we get back from our diners makes it worthwhile.

With the help of your team, how many people are you able to cater for at any one time?

From two in the brasserie to over 200 in the Trelawney suite or whether it’s an intimate dinner or a large-scale event we’re able to look after your party whatever the size. We offer a wide array of mix and match menus to suit events of all size and budget, none of which compromise on quality. As well as flexible food options, the Manor also offer a choice of rooms for you to dine. Intimate events can be held in the library, whilst a celebratory banquet will require the ballroom. Whatever the occasion, we’ll be able to provide the food and room to compliment your needs.

What’s your favourite dish on The Brasserie menu at the moment?

My favourite dish on the menu has to be the saddle of Tregothnan estate venison; pomme purée, cavolo nero, blueberry jus and market fresh vegetables. The saddle is delivered from the estate and butchered in-house to ensure quality in every dish. Packed full of flavour and presented with an artistic flair, this dish is truly autumn on a plate. 

If you could host a dinner party for any 6 people in the world (dead or alive), who would it be?

1. My cousin and best friend who died 11 years ago when my career started progressing, I would love to see him eat my food today

2. Bill Shankley, LFC legend

3. Steven Gerrard, captain marvel

4. Tom Kerridge, culinary wizard

5. Michael Owen, childhood hero

6. Roy ‘chubby’ Brown, comic legend