Luke Thomas Kitchen Confidential

Britain’s youngest head chef, 19-year-old Luke Thomas, runs Sanctum on the Green’s restaurant and Luke’s Broadway. He looks forward to autumn...

Cooking With

For me, October is all about big, huggy, comforting food that fills and warms you up. Game should always be on the menu – grouse, venison and duck are my staples. One of my favourite dishes of the season is venison with salt-baked celeriac. I serve that with pickled red cabbage, mustard fruits and a rich game sauce – maybe chuck some sloe gin in there too. But then again, a whole roasted grouse, breasts removed and served up with sauerkraut, Toulouse sausages, spinach and Iberico ham is awesome.

Seafood is coming into its best in autumn. Seabass is great – a good meaty fish that is delicious with roasted salsify. I roll the salsify in a crumb of pancetta, thyme leaves and grated, frozen smoked salmon. It might sound weird, but it tastes amazing. You’ve also got oysters, which I prefer to do tempura-style. I don’t believe you take anything away by cooking them this way – and they’re less intimidating too for those who get a bit squeamish.

Then, of course, there’s the vegetables. Pumpkin has to be the quintessential autumn vegetable. It’s meaty, earthy, sweet and velvety all at the same time. It’s great for soups, lightly spiced, or as a seasonal accompaniment to your Sunday roast. It makes for great desserts too. For something a little different, try making a pumpkin and vanilla purée, and then fold that into a creamy rice pudding to add richness.

On the subject of desserts, October is fantastic for fruit. There’s nothing better than a big, hearty, fruity, boozy pudding for when the days are getting cooler. I’m a big fan of classic British grub, and a good old-fashioned apple or plum crumble is right up there with the best of them. Or, if you fancy something that’s a touch lighter, a pear poached in a syrup of star anise and cinnamon is delicious when drizzled with a caramel sauce and served with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

Who i'm using

I believe whatever ingredients I’m using should be of the highest quality, and it’s true that sometimes you have to go a little further to get that. Most of the game I’ll be using I get from Vicars Game (, which is my butcher of choice back home in Reading. They source everything locally, and prepare it expertly. I’ve also been heading over to Broadway Deli ( here in the Cotswolds, as they do fantastic fresh fruit and veg.



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