“I didn’t know if I really wanted to leave. I loved what I was doing at The Test Kitchen. Luke and I work really well together,” Cole says. But, after having run the recent The Test Kitchen pop-up in Mauritius for Dale-Roberts, his time had evidently come.
As Cole explains, “Luke said, ‘You’re done here. You can’t just work for me. You need your own space, to put your own stamp on something.’”
Dale-Roberts is there for support in the partnership, but this is very definitely all about Cole and his general manager, Markus Fedler, another The Test Kitchen alum.
It’s also very apparent that Cole is working out what he does know and want, with energy and pace. He’s already developed a menu that speaks volumes about his unrelenting love of food. “I live it and dream it,” he says.
THE VIBE AND STYLE
The Salsify team is making a study of food. “There’s an asparagus dish that’s actually a look at the life of a sunflower. The shoot, the seed, the flower, and the stem. What do we know about the sunflower? Extra-virgin sunflower oil is really good, but you never hear about it, because olive oil gets all the glamour,” chef Ryan Cole explains. And there’s an assiette of suckling pig.
“I phoned the butcher, and he was like, ‘What are you talking about? Nobody orders a whole suckling pig.’ I did. And then asked, ‘How do we look at this differently?’ So, we’ve taken it apart, turned the head into rillettes, the legs into a terrine, and the belly has been crisped up. We’re studying an ingredient.”
They’re playing fast and loose up here above the Atlantic strip. One week they’re using nasturtium seeds (poor man’s capers) in a lamb tartare, the next those are out of season, so they change it up.
And the salsify? It’s Cole’s favourite vegetable.