Thursday, 31 October 2013

Rufino – Chef at the Coach House Cafe

I recently sat enjoying a latte in the Coach House Cafe while waiting to speak to Rufino who has been the chef at the Cafe since April 2012.
You will be glad to know I resisted the temptation to indulge in one of the delicious cakes on display at the counter.... if I had succumbed  it would all have been in the name of research of course! I have eaten at the cafe many times and often enjoyed a scrumptious monster of a scone with my afternoon cuppa and also had lunch on more than one occasion with friends. The soup is excellent and just the job on these blustery autumn days, and of course you can always add a sandwich. There is so much on the menu that you are bound to be spoiled for choice.
Originally from Angola & brought up in Portugal Rufino was initially a landscape gardener before training to be a chef. He loves to travel and has worked at various hotels around the world including time spent at The Carlton in Amsterdam. His travels have taken him to France, Spain & Kenya where he could indulge in his hobby of the history of food. 
Here is a little background information in Rufino’s own words.
“I moved to England in 1999 and started working as a chef at Fayrer  Garden House hotel in Bowness for 3 and a half years,  during this time I also trained at Kendal college for my level 3 and Advanced diploma in Patiserie. After finishing the course in Kendal I started working as a part-time lecturer teaching NVQ1 and 2 and 3 in catering. I moved to Linthwaite House Hotel as Head Pastry Chef and then Miller Howe in Bowness as Head Pastry Chef.

I started University in 2007 studying Landscape Management because I wanted to combine my passion for food and the Environment.”
It was during this time that as part of the degree course he volunteered to work at Ford Park and completed his degree in 2010.  It was a marriage made in heaven when he took over the running of the Coach House Cafe.  The idea that he could create meals from produce grown virtually right outside the kitchen door appealed greatly to him. In the beginning he liaised with Sarah the gardener as to the best produce to grow to use in the restaurant.  At the moment he is using a lot of courgettes & chard as well as onions, garlic & various herbs and salad leaves in his recipes.
Originally trained as a pastry chef he loves to makes cakes & especially scones, his favourite main course dish to make at the moment is Falafel which is an Egyptian dish  made of ground chickpeas or fava beans or both and these can be found throughout the Middle East. The ingredients are mixed together to form a deep fried ball or patty and can be served in a pitta or wrapped in a flatbread known as “lafa”. They can also be served with salad & pickled vegetables.
It seems to me that with his love of gardening & his ability as a chef Rufino is in the perfect job.