Wine & Dine: Chris Staines of The Ollerod

In our new interview series with Hallgarten & Novum Wines, Trencherman’s chefs take us behind the scenes of their life in food and wine. This month we chewed the fat with Chris Staines of The Ollerod in Beaminster

How would you describe your style of cooking?

Produce-led with an Asian influence. I’ve always loved Asian cooking: it’s clean, fresh and full of flavour. 

What role does wine play in the dining experience?

It’s really important. You need to have good wine with good food. Silvana (co-owner of The Ollerod) and I taste all the wines before they go on our list. When selecting which bottles to include we have to consider what will pair well with the Asian flavours on the menu. We’ve found that fruity Rieslings and Viogniers complement the food particularly well.

What’s your most memorable dining experience?

There are quite a few but I’d say Alinea in Chicago. We visited around eight years ago and every single mouthful was stunning. We had 28 courses and I couldn’t fault a single thing. The experience was innovative, exciting and different.

How much do you think about wine when creating a dish?

Wine isn’t necessarily on my mind when I’m creating in the kitchen as I’m mainly focused on the composition of the dish. However, when we host wine dinners with suppliers and producers I taste the wine and then build a dish around it. I’ve really enjoyed doing it that way around.

What’s your vision for 2021?

Just keep doing what we’re doing. Being able to open would be a good start. We’re a community hub here in Beaminster, and the locals have been really supportive while we’ve been doing takeaways during lockdown. 

Which drinks trends are you seeing?

There was a trend for orange wine in 2020. We tasted a few but didn’t find any we thought were suitable for our list. We try not to include anything anyone in the local area is listing to keep things fresh and interesting.

Hallgarten & Novum specialises in sourcing premium wines. What would you pick as your desert island bottle?

A desert island implies it is going to be quite hot so probably a crisp Riesling. If it was going to be a red it would have to be the Rioja Alta 904 from 1994/95, although it’s pretty much non-existent now.

Find out more about Hallgarten & Novum here.

Enjoyed reading our interview with Chris Staines? Find more of our chef interviews here.

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