Nick, this is one of your playful, tastebud teasers this summer, where did the idea for beetroot cheesecake come from?
Nick: another chef called Graham Garrett (The West House, Bidenham) was the inspiration for this dish. We visited his restaurant and Mary bought me a signed book of his. I think its something he did in the early days of his restaurant and I really wanted to do another beetroot dish as I love the quality of beetroot we can buy in this country.
Beetroot cheesecake: need to know
Why does the earthiness of beetroot work with the mildness of the cheese/milk?
Nick: Beetroot is a great marry to sweet and savoury dishes. We have done beetroot sorbet on tasting menus and beetroot mousse before. We use a very neutral cream cheese so it’s really just the beet flavour showing through.
For none Beetroot fans, what would you say to persuade them to try this?
Nick: the garnishes are very friendly and with ingredients that everyone will recognise. Who doesn’t love a granny smith apple…
Cheesecake for starter – are you trying to take people out of their comfort zone?
Nick: we could have called it something different, but there is something playful about taking a word that’s commonly associated with a pudding and putting into a savoury context.
I don’t really want to test people they are free to choose as they see fit. The reassuring point is that since it been on the menu it’s up there with our biggest selling starters.
What other savoury ingredients might we see making it into a Miller cheesecake?
Nick: beetroot is so good because of its vibrant colour; it really stands out. I suppose you could adapt it to anything you fancied that’s in season. Fennel might be lovely and also green peas would work well.