The Riverside Restaurant

We settled back into our leather chairs, looking out through a glass wall on to an impressive view of the Trinity Bridge over the River Irwell, and asked Sous-Chef Ferdinand Reitz his thoughts on working at The Riverside Restaurant at The Lowry Hotel…

 

 

What inspires you in the kitchen?

Ferdinand:
To be honest I get my inspiration from everywhere, every day. Social media platforms like Instagram for example, are great because you can see what chefs all over the world are doing. Another big inspiration would be going to the market. Seeing what vegetables are fresh and coming up with different ways to cook them – sous vide, marinating, confit – it’s not really inspiration, it is passion. Passion is what makes a good chef!

Where does your passion come from, what made you want to be a chef?

Ferdinand:
Growing up in Germany, cooking with my grandmother. We used to go to her house for Sunday lunch, and I cooked mostly traditional, local based dishes with her. She always shouted at me in the kitchen, so I became quite used to it early on!

Locally produced food at The Lowry
The Lowry - Sous-Chef Ferdinand Reitz

You have worked in Germany, Austria and Switzerland before coming to England. Do you find cultural or food differences when cooking in different European countries?

Ferdinand:
No, there is no big difference in how people cook – it is the people you work with who make the difference! In Germany everything is planned and it is quite a strict hierarchy in the kitchen, but in England I have found more freedom in being able to do what I want to do.

How does this work in a kitchen, is it a more collaborative approach here?

Ferdinand:
Yes, my experience has been that the creativity is more spread out here and ideas can come from anyone in the kitchen. That is not to say that there aren’t German kitchens where creativity is encouraged, but it was not my experience…

Is there a philosophy behind the cooking at The Riverside Restaurant, something that influences or underpins the menu creation?

Ferdinand:
Well, trends play a part definitely, but we focus on what produce is locally available. We try to use as much from this area as we can, so of course this will influence the creation of dishes. Locally produced food is at the heart of our menu.

Have there been any recent trends that have had an impact?

Ferdinand:
I think that street food can be as good as fine dining. In my opinion there is no difference, it is just the execution that makes the difference?

If you know what you are doing, your techniques are sound and you season well, then even street food can be Michelin starred!

Are there any exciting projects on the horizon?

Ferdinand:
Our dairy party is coming up in around six months, which is a big event for our suppliers. At the moment we are working on a new menu for the Spring/Summer, and our seasonal menus change every month, so there is always something to work towards…

Is there anything specific that you look for in a plate, or is it always the food that dictates how it is to be presented?

Ferdinand:
In my view, the eye is eating first. The plate should complement the food. If you have something like the sea trout I showed you earlier on a plain white plate, it would not look as appealing as it does on your new product – Concrete. Plates are as important as the food, because they help to create that first impression in the eye of the customer.