Fego’s South African Head Chef, Craig Gandy, reveals his vision for evening menus at Beaconsfield
Since opening our first site at Sunningdale in 2002, our restaurants have become go-to destinations for delicious breakfasts, brunches and lunches. The Fego name is often associated exclusively with daytime dining – but that’s all about to change, as our Beaconsfield branch is expanding into dinner and evening meals with some exciting new menus.
“We were originally a café, but are now the second dinner site after Banstead,” says Craig Gandy, development and head chef at Fego Beaconsfield. “The competition in the area is quite high, so we need to up the quality and style of our food, in order to be a little bit more competitive. We want to have fun, while raising the standards and creating something new and interesting.”
Craig is spearheading Beaconsfield’s move into night-time trading. Working closely with sous chef Jamie, he and his team have been getting their creative juices flowing, coming up with dishes that will excite and inspire our customers, while retaining Fego’s core ethos, spirit and identity.
“I’m a person who believes in very simple food,” he explains. “I like good, fresh food that’s cooked and presented well, so that’s what I’m looking for, but with a twist to it that we might not normally do. It will be slightly more technical, but still within the parameters of what Fego does, without making it too complicated.”
This emphasis on quality and simplicity is set to shine through in the menus, which Craig is keen to change or adapt regularly going forward. Braised lamb, mussels and chocolate fondants are just a few examples of what he has in mind, introducing richer, creamier and more filling comfort food to see in the colder winter months ahead.
“We’ve created some new flavours and incorporated more butter and cream, going for a winter menu of hearty food,” he confirms. “It’s a bit heavier, and although the portion sizes might seem smaller, they’re more filling, because they’re quite heavy dishes. It’s what we think will work and want to try.”
Seasonality is key, as Craig is excited to introduce specials boards that will evolve with time. There’s an element of experimentation involved; indeed, Craig is the first to admit that this is uncharted territory for Fego, having focused on morning and afternoon custom for so long. But it’s that same potential that motivates him in the kitchen, where the possibilities are endless.
“The idea is to do something exciting that’s feasible within the Fego group,” he concludes. “We’re starting with our site, where we’ll be able to see what works, then adjust it accordingly Fego-wide. We’re experimenting in our kitchen and our area to see what catches on first.
“I’d like to have four or five menus that we can change and swap around, with a few different items to roll over as the seasons change and popularity increases. I want to understand what people like, what sells, what’s exciting for customers, and what kind of food is going to make them want to come back.”
Photograph 1: Avocado Burger…as you’ve never seen before!
Photograph 2: Pan Fried Calves Liver
Photograph 3: Mille Feuille (A million layers)