April seasonal update

The Staff Canteen

Embrace Spring's Bounty: Discover the Best April Ingredients from Wild Garlic, Spring Lamb to Brown Crab in Our Monthly Market Report


When is asparagus in season in the UK?

Asparagus is only in season in the UK for six or so weeks - any found outside of this timeframe is likely imported from as far as Peru, Mexico, or at best, Italy. It is, however, a king among the vegetables - and, incidentally, pairs perfectly with spring lamb.

March Member of the Month, head chef at The Cottage in The Wood, Jack Bond, takes a no-frills approach to asparagus, serving it with a pickled egg and cured yolk, while Michelin-starred chef Nathan Outlaw, who gets his from St Enodoc, plates them up as a mousse and shaved with fresh white crab meat.

White asparagus is also quite popular within our chefs’ members. It is exactly like the green asparagus but without chlorophyl as it’s grown without sunlight and has a sweeter and more tender flavour. Check out chef owner at Restaurant Roots, Jan Bretschneider’s recipe of white asparagus, elderflower, miso, apple and yuzu and head chef at Michelin-starred Petrus by Gordon Ramsay, Orson Vergnaud’s beautifully presented dover sole with white asparagus, Oscietra caviar and hollandaise.

Asparagus, Pickled Egg and Cured Yolk by Jack Bond and Dover Sole with White Asparagus, Caviar and Hollandaise by Orson Vergnaud

What is Wild Garlic?

Impossible not to notice when walking in the woodlands, due to its incredible pungent smell, wild garlic is one of a number of plant species whose presence indicates that a wood is ancient.

It has traditionally been used in medicine, the bulb being one of the key ingredients in tonics for rheumatic problems and high cholesterol. Its leaves can be eaten raw in salads, or blanched and used in place of spinach, or made into a delicious soup and pesto. They have a mild garlic flavour and are at their best before the flowers appear. The flowers are also edible and can be added raw to salads.

Wild garlic is in season in the UK between February and June. By April, the flowers start to sprout and can be harvested right the way through to the end of the season in June.

Head chef at two-AA-Rosette Lion and Pheasant Hotel, Liam Tyson creates two very different recipes starting from this simple ingredient. Check out this miso glazed ribeye, roast onion, spinach soubise, wild garlic, potato terrine, smoked bone marrow crumb and bone marrow sauce or a more simple wild garlic tapioca cracker, soured cream, fermented turnip, wild garlic emulsion and oyster leaf.

Wild Garlic Tapioca Cracker and Miso Glazed Ribeye by Liam Tyson

What to cook with Spring Lamb

April is the time when Spring Lamb is at its best. Whether you choose to cook a leg, a shoulder - or prime cuts, like tenderloin or the hind saddle, lamb delivers on the promise of rich yet subtle flavour and, if you cook it the right way, tenderness.

Why not try a completly seasonal dish made by head chef Sean Kelly, Spring lamb, asparagus and wild garlic?

Be inspired by this Herdwick Lamb from Udale with Bonemasters stock, lettuces and morels dish created by head chef Elliot Hill and his team at the Arkle Restaurant in Chester Grosvenor, where The Staff Canteen had their third networking lunch of the year. Read more about the lunch here: The Staff Canteen Live 2024: Networking lunch at The Arkle.

Herdwick Lamb from Udale with Bonemasters stock, lettuces and morels by Elliot Hill

Which is the most commonly eaten crab in the UK?

The brown crab is the most commonly eaten type of crab in the UK and is generally yielded from April to November, with the winter months being their breeding period. Crab is most often prepared with linguine or other pastas or used in salads. This recipe for chilli crab has good instructions on how to prepare the crab if you are unsure.

Pan fried cod with potted Crab Butter by Robert Taylor

See more inspiring crab recipes

Follow Tallow head chef Robert Taylor’s recipe to create a pan fried cod with potted crab butter dish.

Be inspired by executive head chef at Publiq Kensington Tamas Rakocz’s steamed bun fried and glazed with XO oil, white crab meat with yuzu, sea herbs and ponzu veil, sous chef Shaun Dowling’s crab mil, or this unconventional-looking crab, crepes and caviar dish made by executive chef Andrey Syutin.

Crab, Crepes and Caviar by Andrey Syutin

Where do Jersey Royal potatoes come from?

Harvesting of Jersey Royal potatoes starts at the end of March normally so expect to see them properly on the market in April. It is a trademarked name, so only those from the island of Jersey can carry the title. Since potatoes are usually a side dish to a main meal, why not try something unconventional and serve them with wood pigeon which are also in season from April.

Junior sous chef Fynn Warburton-Hughes pairs some crushed Jersey Royals with a Skrei cod and tenderstem purée.

The versatile and always loved potatoes are also coming into season. Be inspired by some recipes made by our talented TSC members. Robert Taylor creates a glazed pigs cheek with a baked potato mousse, head chef James Plowright makes a potato, mussel, prawn and Thai sauce dish, while head chef Liam Tyson creates a classic yet delicious Fish and Chips.

Fish and Chips by Liam Tyson

How to spot fresh Plaice?

This flat speckled fish used to be a staple for the British working class and was often left out from fine dining menus. It is the most used commercial flatfish in Europe and provides a great alternative for common white fish.

A good way of telling how fresh a plaice is how vibrant its speckles are – the brighter, the better.

Head chef and January Member or the Month, Billy Frost makes a breaded fillet of plaice, crispy capers and pickled cucumber or check out how head chef at The Cornish Arms John Hooker prepares a grilled fillet of plaice, fricassee of autumn vegetables, lobster butter sauce.

Head Chef Anna Søgaard from Bistro Freddie creates a deep fried plaice with curry sauce recipe as a homage to the Great British classic Fish and Chips but adapted for the East London restaurant. Watch as Anna takes us through how the dish is created.

Is Rhubarb still in season?

Absolutely! Field-grown rhubarb's season typically kicks off in April and extends through the end of summer. However, even during winter, you'll find this ingredient gracing seasonal menus thanks to hothouse rhubarb, which is harvested in late winter or early spring, extending the season.

Belonging to the Polygonaceae family and akin to sorrel, rhubarb thrives in cooler climates. The discovery of forcing rhubarb was serendipitous, originating from an accident at the Chelsea Physic Garden in the early 19th century.

Rhubarb Savarin by Harry Kirkpatrick

Rhubarb proves itself as a remarkably versatile ingredient, utilized in various cooking methods. Chef Robert Taylor poaches it, crafting a toasted vanilla cheesecake with Kentish rhubarb and gingerbread, while Harry Kirkpatrick, head chef at Trinity, one Michelin-starred restaurant, steams it to fashion a deliciously fresh Rhubarb Savarin.

Rhubarb is also safe to eat rhubarb raw. Whether thinly sliced, diced, or accompanied with a little sugar to mellow out its tart bite, rhubarb is a fantastic seasonal ingredient that can add a serious crunch and a sharp tangy flavour to a wide range of dishes.

Not only versatile but also elegant, rhubarb's vibrant colour elevates it, making appearances in the finest of restaurants. Just take a glance at the exquisite delicate rhubarb tart with Earl Grey and tangy lemon curd, skilfully prepared by head chef Orson Vergnaud, or consider the Yorkshire rhubarb, Timut ganache, and upside down cake, a true celebration of the fruit's versatility, fashioned by head chef at two-Michelin-starred restaurant Brooklands by Claude Bosi, Francesco Dibenedetto.

Yorkshire rhubarb, Timut ganache and upside down cake by Francesco Dibenedetto and delicate rhubarb tart with Earl Grey and tangy lemon curd by Orson Vergnaud


These are just few of the delicious recipes with seasonal ingredients that our members have posted on their TSC accounts. You can do the same for a chance to be featured in our next seasonal update! Additionally, don't forget that posting a recipe, photo, or video of your culinary creation can enhance your prospects of being chosen as the Member of the Month. Join in and showcase your culinary prowess!


Are you using any of these ingredients in your menus? Upload your pics and recipes to our Chef+ mobile app!


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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 2nd April 2024

April seasonal update