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George Barson

Cora Pearl

George’s passion for cooking and food stemmed from childhood family feasts at home in Devon, and trips to the restaurant where his mother worked; where he’d often sit and watch the chefs in the kitchen.

Equally inspired by the wonderful range of produce available in the West Country – buying freshly caught fish in his local harbour, foraging for sea kale on the clifftops and beaches, picking elderflower and blackberries in the hedgerow and searching for mushrooms in the woods, not to mention the local clotted cream – from a young age George was set on a career as a chef.

Following catering college, and a short-lived attempt at running a bar with friends in Exeter town centre, he moved to London where he worked in several reputable kitchens including at Nuno Mende’s Viajante and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. He later took a job as part of the development team at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen. In 2007 he began working at River Cottage in Devon, where he quickly climbed the ranks to sous chef. George became head chef at Kitty Fisher’s in Mayfair’s Shepherd Market in March 2017.

His love of foraging and fuss-free food is demonstrated throughout the menu. His unique style will also take on a new but recognisable form through the dishes at Cora Pearl, the second restaurant from the Kitty Fisher’s team, which will open Covent Garden in June 2018. He now takes the role of executive chef across both restaurants.

 

Q&A

What is your favourite dish on your own menu and why?

Difficult to answer as there are lots really but most recently a ham and cheese toastie with pickle at Cora Pearl. It took a long time to get right and is surprisingly complicated to make, but has a great flavour and packs a real punch.

What is your desert island dish?

Fray Bentos steak and kidney pie!

What is your favourite seasonal dish?

I love quinces and they are just coming into season now. Really anything with them from game dishes to puddings, but currently doing them slowly cooked and served with buttermilk sorbet and a honey mousse at Kitty Fisher’s.

What drink would you pair with it?

We pair a cocktail made using hay, gin and chamomile but a Tokaji would also work very well.

What is your favourite restaurant in London and why?

Currently a restaurant called Aquavit. It’s a beautiful space and they serve modern Swedish food – everything is delicious. I personally like to sit at the bar and have the smorgasbord and aquavits!

What is your favourite London pub and why?

My local – The De Beauvoir Arms, great pub food and a lovely space.

Who is your most hotly tipped young chef?

Arjun Gurung, a great friend who I’ve worked with for many years including at Kitty Fisher’s. He’s recently left to become head chef at Berenjak – the new JKS restaurant opening later this year in Soho. The food will be based on Iranian street food and I can’t wait to try it.

What is your favourite thing about Taste?

I really like that you can taste lots of different restaurant dishes in a short space of time and it always has an great atmosphere.

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