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Meet the creator: Luke Reeves, Head Chef

4 October 2019 / Meet the Creator /

The Glasshouse re-opened in May 2019 with a theatrical new dining experience, offering guests the whole world on their plate. Eight live-action food stations offer the finest international dishes, manned by busy chefs who thrive on the buzz. Here we talk to the man behind the action, Head Chef Luke Reeves.

The Glasshouse Restaurant, Hertfordshire

It’s been 5 months since The Glasshouse re-opened – how has it been?

It’s been great – a very busy operation from the word go and a fantastic challenge for our team of 23 chefs. We’ve served over 73,000 guests so far including private and corporate events. The Cinema & Supper offer in August with the Everyman Secret Garden Cinema was a big hit – every Saturday at 6pm 90 people arrived to dine before of heading over to the Walled Garden for a film screening. Diner numbers vary every day, but we tend to host 200-450 guests for breakfast through to 200+ diners for lunch and dinner. We’re never quiet and I wouldn’t want it any other way!

Tell us about your chefing career…

At the age of 14 I was peeling potatoes for a country pub in Wiltshire and now I’m running The Glasshouse, via Babington House and the Maldives. There, I met the Executive Chef Stephen Wheeler before he moved to The Grove. He subsequently invited me to join the team – the remodelling of The Glasshouse was an irresistible opportunity. The quality is beautiful and you don’t just come for dinner here – you come for a culinary experience. The live-action food stations mean that, effectively, it’s a la carte.

The Glasshouse Restaurant

What’s your personal favourite dish?

I couldn’t pick just one… all the food stations are unique and I love them all. The Robata Grill is a technical station, but we cook some of the finest fish and meat and make it fresh, vibrant, colourful, tasty and juicy. Our grilled tomahawk steaks are matured in our meat-ageing fridge. We start them off on the robata and finish in the stone oven.

The Tandoori and Asian Soup Station are a journey around the taste buds… miso, soya, eggs, crispy pork belly. Few restaurants in London offer this, so it’s a rare experience for our guests and also for our chefs who love to learn how to cook authentic Asian cuisine.

Our kitchen garden gives us all the veg and herbs we could wish for. They’re great for the Carving Station, which serves legendary roasts on a Sunday. Likewise, our vegan dishes are very popular with plenty of wholesome, tasty and robust new dishes. Our dolmas are delicious – they’re a rolled cabbage leaf stuffed with wild rice, finished with fresh Pomadoro sauce and baked in the oven. I also recommend our beautiful salads such as purple cauliflower roasted with turmeric and spices.

Everyone loves the Pasta Station – we’ve got a couple of Italian chefs who love to do it and they’re teaching the rest of my guys about the passion and simplicity of pasta.

The Deli is wonderful. We poach fresh salmon daily to perfection in cucumber, mint and peppercorns. The crisp seafood salad with baby octopus, squid and tiger prawns goes beautifully with our citrus dressing because the open pores absorb all the flavours straightaway. Oysters, served at the weekend, are as fresh as the oceans, shacked just before service and served with shallot vinegar and little bottles of Tabasco and fresh lemon. The Deli also serves robust, rustic salads such as fresh fennel slaw, whatever’s in season. As for all the cured meats and cheeses, my favourite is Westcombe cheddar from Somerset. I know the family quite well from when I worked at Babington House; Tom used to bring a block of cheddar in on his shoulder.

And as for the Pastry Station, my favourite is a take on a snickers bar with salted caramalised peanuts, caramel sauce and nougat covered in chocolate. You can have one, two or three desserts at a time and enjoy the varying tastes, or cover the whole thing in chocolate from the free-flowing chocolate tap, which delights kids and grown-ups in equal measure!

The Glasshouse Restaurant, Hertfordshire

Which food station is most popular with diners?

The Pasta Station and Robata Grill are particularly popular. Feedback has been fantastic from day one. Partly it’s down to the food and partly the direct interaction with chefs, particularly for pasta as you are invited to select your ingredients – guests really love this. We go through 16 kilos of each type of pasta every week, if not more. I personally love the vegan gnocchi made with potato rice flour and turmeric.

What can we expect in the coming weeks and months?

Expect more individual pies, pheasants on the rotisserie, game stew and one of my favourites – hay-smoked venison in sage and juniper. I’m also going to introduce some Arabic dishes and expand our vegan range. Exciting, delicious and pretty irresistible. Come and eat!

Delight your taste-buds and book your table at The Glasshouse here.

Meet the creator: Luke Reeves, Head Chef | The Glasshouse | The Grove