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Meet the chef: Ernst van Zyl

Our quick interview with chef Ernst van Zyl, owner of The Lord Clyde in Kerridge, Cheshire. Find out what he likes to do on a Sunday, his must-have ingredients and his idea of a perfect supper...

My favourite wine is…

I have to be patriotic here and say Pinotage, one of my home country of South Africa’s finest exports.

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In the fridge there’s always…

Plenty of Marmite and a very mature cheddar cheese – one of my most favourite snacks is a cheese and marmite toastie.


My favourite 15 minute supper to make at home is…

A light and flavoursome chicken Caesar salad. I love lots of Parmesan, garlic croutons, herb paste roasted chicken breast, baby gem lettuce and homemade Caesar dressing and anchovies. If I’m really pushing the boat out I’ll add a poached egg and some Serrano ham on top too. 


My guilty pleasure food is…

Chinese take away: sweet & sour chicken and egg fried rice.


If you gave me a tenner I’d spend it on…

Even though I own lots already it’s got to be a cookery book. Every book teaches and sparks new ideas.


A restaurant trend I see being the next big thing is…

Being as self sufficient as possible. I not only make my own bread for the restaurant but mill my own flour – it means I know everything about the provenance and processes of my ingredients.

We’re already seeing more restaurants growing their own vegetables and raising their own animals; I think this trend is set to continue for sure. 


On a Sunday I like to…

On the basis that I’ve got a rare Sunday off and I’m not cooking in the restaurant, I love being sat on the other side of the table enjoying a Sunday roast. I’m a firm believer that family is everything so a Sunday wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the cinema or bowling alley with my daughter.  If there’s time I like to tend to the kitchen garden, which is just getting established, or embark on some foraging for the week ahead.  I’m never far away from food.


My favourite country to visit for foodie inspiration is…

Scandinavia has won my heart – Denmark, Sweden, Norway, I love all of it.  These countries are certainly the trendsetters in culinary terms.


What are the 3 most important ingredients and why?

Salt–a pinch of salt can change an ingredient or taste from average to amazing.

Butter – because it adds such wonderful flavour.

Love – dishes always taste better when you can tell the cook’s put their heart and soul into it.


Born and raised in South Africa’s Cape Town, Ernst van Zyl is the owner and chef of The Lord Clyde in Kerridge – the only pub in Cheshire to hold three AA Rosettes and one of only four North West pubs to appear in the Top 50 UK Gastropub’s list 2016.

Before opening The Lord Clyde, Ernst worked at Etrop Grange in Manchester as well as the Radisson Manchester and London’s Park Lane Hotel. 


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