Steve Drake, owner of Michelin starred restaurant, Drakes in Ripley, shares some favourite sites.

Steve Drake opened Drake’s in Ripley, Surrey with his wife Serina in January 2004 and the following year it won a Michelin star, which it has retained ever since. His career path includes The Ritz Hotel, working with Marco-Pierre White, and latterly the legendary Nico Ladenis, whom he cites as his greatest inspiration.

While such influences have added rigour to his culinary armoury, his repertoire is constantly evolving. "Flavour discovery is my inspiration – hence our two tasting menus; Flavour Journey and Flavour Discovery. Our food is British but simple, natural and healthy, with a lightness and individuality which is our own."

Drake’s is ranked 38th in The Sunday Times Top 100 Restaurants. Future plans include the construction of an on-site test kitchen that can also be used for cookery demonstrations and creative sessions with other chefs.

STEVE'S FAVOURITE SITES

Riverford Organic – I love receiving our weekly delivery of the random box of seasonal vegetables and fruit! My wife Serina is vegetarian and I always have great fun inventing different dishes for the family which incorporate the contents of the box. The quality is always excellent and there are often unusual varieties that we don’t find in our local farmers’ market in Ripley.

Ocado – We enjoy village life in Ripley and are very involved in the community. Luckily we don’t have a major supermarket on our doorstep and so we have a weekly delivery from Ocado. The company has 'hidden depths', with all sorts of foods and other products available from many corners of the world. What’s more, it is reliable and has a really good service ethic, which I admire.

Caterer & Hotelkeeper – This is the weekly bible in the hospitality industry. I have subscribed to the print edition for years and enjoy the features and news but the website is where it really comes into its own and it is brilliant. They are always first on any relevant breaking news story and the reporting can be relied upon to be balanced and accurate. It is highly respected, and quite rightly so.

Elizabeth on Food – Elizabeth Auerbach really understands food. She explores food areas of the world that aren’t usually front of mind. She has introduced me to some really fantastic restaurants and I like the way she gives good photos, a brief description and her personal opinion, which I value... so much in fact that last weekend I drove a 500 mile return trip to Antwerp just to check out one of her recommendations and it was well worth it!

Runners World – I love running; it offers the perfect way to exercise and take in some fresh air while clearing my head of day-to-day business. This site gives me training tips, running plans and nutritional hints. Earlier this year I took part in the world-famous Marathon des Sables across the Sahara Desert and it was a great help to me in the preparation process.

YouTube –  I have always tended to use YouTube a great deal, as it is a very useful research tool, particularly if I am investigating a new ingredient, as you can nearly always watch someone preparing and cooking it. Also, from a business perspective, it offers us an intriguing insight into other restaurants around the world. I also spend time on this site when preparing for marathons, watching other runners and learning from them.

10 July 2013