Lighthouse Bistro chef Joni Lutzman on why his cooking career was inspired by his grandmother

Chefs share recipes and a soupçon about themselves. This week: Joni Lutzman

Joni Lutzman, chef at the Lighthouse Bistro in Whitehead. Picture by Mal McCann

:: Where do you work?

I own and work in The Lighthouse Bistro in Whitehead, Co Antrim.

:: Are you calm in the kitchen?

Generally yes, but if something interrupts the flow it can test my patience.

:: When did you start cooking?

At age 19 in Restaurant Hamlet in Helsinki. My grandmother owned three restaurants across the city at various times, which inspired me.

:: What fires you up about food?

Simple but good food. Tomato soup, for instance; everyone can make it but it takes skill to make it excellent. You can't fake it as there's nowhere to hide.

:: What have you been cooking lately?

Everything from chicken liver mousse to duck confit! I've been sourcing local lobster from our Islandmagee fisherman and pairing it with my handmade pasta for lunch service.

:: Signature dish?

Sprott's Portadown pork belly (which I smoke myself in the Bistro) with butternut squash and house chilli jam. It's a combination of classical French cooking and modern street food.

:: Favourite thing to eat?

Street food, especially tacos. It's not just about food, it's the whole experience, so hopefully enjoying some new flavours while on holiday with nothing to do.

:: What chef inspires you most?

Marco Pierre White for character and French chef Auguste Escoffier for classical cooking.

:: This week, we're cooking...

Lobster Pasta

Ingredients (serves six)

  • For the pasta:
  • 500g strong white flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 6 egg yolks
  • Sea salt
  • Olive oil


Mix together to form a dough. Cut into six pieces. Put on a tray, cover with cling film and place in fridge. Roll out in pasta machine after 30 minutes. Cut pasta into desired width. Boil in salted water for 30 seconds to one minute.

For the lobster sauce:

  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery
  • 1 onion
  • (All diced)
  • Vegetable oil
  • White wine 100nl
  • Double cream 300ml
  • Cornflour 2tbsp
  • Seasoning
  • Lobster – medium sized and cooked

Fry off the vegetables, then add the white wine, double cream and a little water. Boil and add in cornflour (premixed with cold water). Stir until thickened, then add lobster meat. Add seasoning to taste. Pour on top of pasta. Serve with grated cheese, fresh parsley and a slice of lemon.

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