Located in the heart of Mayfair, The Chesterfield Hotel is within easy reach of some of the city’s finest restaurants. From Mount Street to Shepherd Market, there are plenty of wonderful places to eat in the area, including our own renowned Butlers Restaurant. Helmed by Executive Chef Ben Kelliher, Butlers blends first class service with elegant, fine dining fare, crafted using only the freshest seasonal ingredients. We caught up with Ben to find out a little more about his own culinary inspirations, as well as the concept behind the menu at Butlers Restaurant.
Can you tell us a bit about your culinary background, how did you end up as Executive Chef at The Chesterfield?
‘Born and bred in London, I’ve been passionate about food for as long as I can remember! I started my culinary journey at North West Kent College, where I trained as an apprentice chef for three years and was keen to learn as much as possible from here onwards. After finishing my course, I worked at a number of high-end establishments including the Churchill Hotel, where I started off in the larder section, and at the London Capital Club, where I first met my mentor head chef Greg Brown, who’s had a huge influence on my career and cooking. I thrive on absorbing the ideas and knowledge of those around me and since joining The Chesterfield seven years ago my passion is as strong as ever.’
What are they key culinary concepts behind the menu at Butlers Restaurant?
‘Our focus at the restaurant lies on seasonal classic British food with a subtle twist, using local ingredients as much as possible. We are always trying to include new ideas and techniques in our cooking, and we make sure to incorporate the ideas of our younger chefs when updating the menu. For me, it’s important that everyone in the kitchen gets their voice heard – our menu is constantly evolving and every member of the team is proud of the collective input.’
If you could capture the essence of the restaurant in just three words, what would they be?
‘British, classic and simple.’
What are some of the menu highlights at Butlers Restaurant? Are there any signature dishes that diners should be aware of?
‘One of the most popular main courses is our Dover Sole. Served with wilted spinach and new potatoes, guests always rave about it – which always puts a smile on our faces!
I’m currently designing our spring à la carte menu, which I’m really excited about. To give you an idea of what’s in store – dishes will include British asparagus with a pheasant egg, lamb niçoise with local pea shoots, and a scallop dish with coronation chicken.’
Local and seasonal food is an important part of the menu at Butlers Restaurant. Where do your source your ingredients?
‘We always source food from the very best British suppliers. We get fish from Billingsgate Market, crab from a local supplier in Cornwall and we get most of the seasonal game from Newlyns Farmshop in Hampshire, to name a few examples. Our strong relationships mean we always get the finest produce available – something I insist upon.’
Can you tell us a little about Beatrice Tollman’s influence on the menu?
‘We offer a selection of dishes from Mrs Tollman’s cookbook, with favourites such as the chicken noodle soup, Caesar salad, and roast of the day. All of these classic dishes are always very popular with our guests and complement our menu beautifully.’
British food is seeing something of a revival. What are your thoughts on classic vs. contemporary British cuisine, and how do you see the British food scene evolving?
‘Contemporary British food fuses classic ingredients with innovative techniques, new textures and unexpected flavours. I think there is more variety in contemporary cooking and it’s great to be a part of the industry as it evolves. People are also becoming increasingly health aware, which is reflected in lighter and healthier dishes. My prediction is that fine dining will become even simpler, the classic ingredients will remain but they will be reworked in a minimalist approach. I also think service will become more informal, creating a more relaxed approach to fine dining and gourmet cuisine.’
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