Shiny new addition to tastecard and Whitbread brand, Beefeater introduced us to Mervyn Desir, their Lead Development Chef, for our Meet the Chef series. He gave us the scoop on the new menu additions as well as telling us a bit more about him.

Meet Mervyn

Gushing over his role, Mervyn told us what his typical day at work is like: “Working as Lead Development Chef for Whitbread is great! I love what I do daily, as I have a special focus and big passion for creating menus with new exciting dishes that will hopefully enhance the reputation of Whitbread brands.”

No two days are the same: “We brainstorm ideas, cooking and sampling lots of food. We meet with new and existing suppliers at their factories for either first production runs or to understand how our ideas are replicated on a larger scale. And sometimes, we visit major cities in the UK or abroad looking for the latest food trends.”

Mervyn’s aiming to make the Whitbread restaurants “The Best in Class” within their sector: “We want to create a safe adventure for our guests with great choice to appeal for all.” This includes keeping their food free from anything artificial, with a big focus on health and nutrition, putting quality and good flavours at the front of everything.

To get to know Mervyn a little better, we put our Meet the Chef questions to him…

What’s your first cooking memory?

“Making Salt Cod Fish Cakes with my grandmother for Good Friday.”

What inspired you to get into cooking?

“Again, my grandmother and mum.”

Favourite music to cook to?

“When I started out working in kitchens, we weren’t allowed music. We’d work for the weekend and think about when we could go out and party. One of my favourites now though would be “House Every Weekend” by David Zowie.”

Name five ingredients you can’t live without…

“Eggs, flour, water, rice and steak.”

If you could share a meal with anyone, who would it be, and what would you eat?

“Japanese with my partner, without the kids.”

What Beefeater dish gets ordered most?

“It was the Double Bacon & Cheese Burger and Smothered Chicken until our new Mozzarella Filled Chicken wrapped in Pancetta launched in spring.”

What’s the strangest ingredient you’ve ever cooked with and how did it turn out?

“The first time I came across sweetbreads. But they’re superb once cooked.”

What’s your favourite Beefeater dish to eat?

“Beer Battered Lobster Double Stack Burger.”

Describe dining at Beefeater in 5 words…

“Occasion, Opportunity, Delectation, Gastronomy, Fulfilment.”

A whole new menu

Bringing new exciting dishes to customers that they’ll love is a big part of Mervyn’s role. That’s where the ‘Best Ever’ range comes in: “It’s been created especially for our guests, taking their favourite dishes and making them even better with the best quality ingredients and flavour combinations.”

Known for their juicy steaks, you might be surprised to see a whole lot of variety cropping up on their new menu. As well as pub classics, there are veggie and vegan dishes, non-gluten options and dishes under 300 or 600 calories.

“As part of our ‘Best Ever’ range, we’ve introduced a Posh Prawn & Lobster Cocktail, made up of king prawns, prawns and succulent lobster in a Prosecco Marie Rose sauce. There’s an impressive Double Short Rib & Maple Glazed Bacon Burger and Premium Surf & Turf Combo featuring an 8oz sirloin steak, lobster mac ‘n’ cheese, juicy king prawns, calamari and triple cooked chips. And a deliciously indulgent Triple Chocolate Brownie to finish.”

Like the sounds of Beefeater’s new menu? With tastecard, you can bag 2 for 1 on starters, mains and desserts available 7 days a week. So, there’s even more reason to get your chops round their new dishes.

So, what are you waiting for? tastecard it today.
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