CHATTING FOOD WITH . . .
Steve Edwards, etch.
We sat down with Steve Edwards, owner of etch, to discuss the importance of the tasting menu, the introduction of his brand new soda flight and of course, tips for future contestants of MasterChef.
etch. by Steven Edwards is located at 216 Church Road, Hove BN3 2DJ
etch. by Steven Edwards is open Wednesday-Saturday for dinner and lunch on Saturdays only. The restaurant and its private dining room – seating eight people – is also available for private hire. For bookings and enquiries visit www.etchfood.co.uk or contact 01273 227 485/ email@example.com.
Firstly congratulations. etch. has just celebrated its 2nd birthday, and by the looks of it your award cabinet is filling up nicely.
What do you believe makes etch. so popular?
I believe it's the team. We all work the same shifts and operate as a family. We are all driven individuals whom all share the same passion for the guest's experience.
How important has it been to work with local suppliers? Does this affect your menu planning?
I have been working with local supplies for the last 12 years since I moved to Horsham. I have an excellent relationship with them, and I see it as a partnership, they are always looking for me to use their best products and I want to use them when they are at their best (in season).
Our menu changes monthly and the suppliers have a massive say in what goes on that menu. I want to do them proud.
There was a little bit of a debate a while back about the "end of the tasting menu". etch. only offers set tasting menus, why do you believe this is still one of the best ways to dine?
I think we went through a phase of every restaurant offering a tasting alongside their ala carte menu. I don't mean the high-end restaurants, even my local pub was offering a tasting, and it was just a bit over the top. I believe the success at etch is because we do it properly. This is all we do and take the guest on a journey rather than just offering our most popular dishes on the side that are half the size.
You recently launched a "soda flight" to be paired with your tasting menus. We think this is fab, but what prompted you to make this decision. Do you sense a change in diners drinking habits?
The change came about because of the lack of options for someone that doesn't drink or is driving. Because we are heavily wine-focused, we wanted to make sure that if someone is driving, they could have a similar experience rather than sat with a diet coke and a glass of water.
We've sat down for your tasting menu; we are going all in. How would you best describe the dining journey at etch?
The best way to describe the journey is that you get a little taste of the British larder. Each dish focuses on a different category of food with two main ingredients leading the way, so you get a real intensity. We use no spices at etch, so we really want to let the ingredients do the talking.
You won MasterChef The Professionals in 2013 – very tough competition to enter. The next series is currently filming, what would be your advice to any chef about to step on to the MasterChef rollercoaster?
My advice would be to stay calm and not to panic. I think when the cameras on you it's really easy to make a mistake or do something you wouldn't normally do. Have confidence in your cooking and serve something that you would love to eat.
Where do you see etch. on its 4th birthday?
I would like to see etch become more established nationally, I feel in our first two years we have grown the trust and respect of the locals, but I would like to be able to entice guests from further afield also. For me, it's just about progression. As long as we get a little bit better each day, I'm happy.
A Quick Chat
Your favourite restaurant? Casamia, Bristol
Food Hero? Massimo Bottura
Favourite Ingredient? Squab pigeon
What will be the next food trend? North African cuisine
Worst food trend? Foam
Guilty Food Pleasure? McDonald's