“The idea for the recipe first came to me when I was in China, and it is cooked in a way that is very Chinese in technique, with elements of eastern spicing as wlel. You could also serve this as a main course, using four 675g lobsters with a little extra julienne.

For vegetarians the veal stock in the sauce can be replaced by vegetable stock. This is a three-star Michelin dish, one of the my successful and certainly not for beginners.”

Serves 4 as a starter

Preperation and cooking time | 40-45 minutes

Ingredients

4 x 450g live lobsters

Salt and pepper

10g cayenne pepper

100ml extra virgin olive oil

200ml white port

300ml veal stock

400ml fish stock

100g unsalted butter, cold and diced

10g fresh chervil

Vegetable julienne

1 carrot

1 leak

5g fresh root ginger

30g unsalted butter

1 tablespoon redcurrant jelly

Method

Preparing the lobsters

To kill the lobsters, blanch them in boiling salted water for 30 seconds then cool in some iced water, or, using a sharp knife, pierce the lobsters between the eyes.

With a chopping knife, cut the end of the tail off at the last segment. Then remove the rest of the tail and cut into three pieces. Cut the top of the head off with the two antennae, and remove the claws and elbows from the head. Crack the claws with the back of the knife across the middle. Remove the gritty sac from inside the head. Chop the rest of the head and put to one side for the sauce.

Preparing the vegetable julienne

Cut the carrot, leek and ginger into julienne (hair-like strips). Melt the butter in a pan and sweat the julienne until soft. Add the redcurrant jelly to moisten, and keep warm on one side.

Cooking the lobster and the sauce

In a large, deep frying pan heat the olive oil until very hot, then sauté all the lobster pieces on all sides until nearly cooked. Remove everything from the pan except for the chopped head pieces which will give extra flavour to the sauce. Keep warm in a low oven.

Discard the oil from the pan, carefully add the port and reduce. Add the veal stock and the fish stock, and reduce to a light sauce consistency. Remove the chopped pieces of head. Add the butter dice to the sauce, stirring continuously until it has completely dissolved. Season to taste.

To serve

On four plates arrange the vegetable julienne in four equal pieces. Remove the membrane from the base of the tail segment with scissors. Place the head of the lobster at the top of the plate. Cut the knickles in half lengthways, remove the flesh from one side and put on top of the other. Place either side of the head. Arrange the three tail segments across the middle of the plate with the tail tip at the base of the plate. Pull the lower half of the claw back on itself, which will pull out the centre membrane from inside the claw. Remove the lower half of the shell and place the claw in beterrn the tail pieces, formaing the rough lobster shape on the plate. Reheat in a hot oven for a minute. Strain the sauce and pour over the top of the lobster. Sprinkle with plenty of chervil.

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