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17 May, 2022
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Parmesan pumpkin soup

Parmesan Pumpkin Soup by Chef Josemaria Bennett, H&S Chef Of The Month

H&S Chef Of The Month

Chef Josemaria Bennett
Chef Josemaria Bennett

Nationality: Kenyan/English(British)

Interview With H&S Magazine

Who Is Josemaria Bennett?

I was born in the 90s. I always wanted to cook from a young age, I’ve been a chef for a decade now, and I’m still hungry to learn more.


Type Of Cuisine?

I like to dabble with different cuisines. But if I had to choose, it would be Indian cuisine because it always uses fresh ingredients. It also involves making dishes from scratch, leaving less space for the use of preservatives and artificial ingredients.


What Inspired You To Become A Chef?

Well, my mum used to be a private chef and I used to tag along with her to the kitchen, and I was her little helper that’s when I realized what I wanted to do, to see how people enjoyed what she made.


What Is The Biggest Challenge You Have Faced In The Culinary Industry?

I would say recently the COVID-19 pandemic affected the industry and many chefs lost their jobs and some had to start their own thing, myself included 😊 which is really hard.


What’s Your Biggest Achievement In The Culinary Industry?

My biggest achievement was when I got to host a cooking show on EBRU TV for five years. I had the freedom of creating my own dishes and also just enjoying the whole experience. It also gave me time to start my own in-home private chef company called rocketmeals.


When It comes To Cooking, What Is More Important To You, The Technique, The Ingredients Or The Creativity?

I would say all, you must try and acquire them to be a better chef, I am still learning new things every day, that’s why I love what I do.


Recipe Of The Week: Parmesan Pumpkin Soup With Mushrooms

Parmesan Pumpkin SoupThe Pumpkin Purée


• Approx 1.5 kg pumpkin
• Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
• 1 head of garlic, cut in half horizontally
• Handful of rosemary sprigs
• Olive oil, to drizzle

The Soup


• 1½ tbsp olive oil
• 1 onion, peeled and chopped
• Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
• 30g Parmesan, freshly grated
• 800ml chicken stock
• 100ml double cream
• 15g butter

The Garnish


• 1½ tbsp olive oil
• 400g button mushrooms (you can use any)
• 10g butter


Preparation: The Pumpkin Purée

Preheat the oven to 170 °C. Cut the pumpkin in half horizontally and remove the seeds. Score the flesh, season with salt and pepper, then rub with the cut garlic halves. Lay rosemary sprigs and a garlic half in each of the pumpkin halves. Drizzle a little olive oil on them, and place on baking trays & Roast for about 1 hour until tender; (the timing will depend on the variety, density and thickness. It is ready when you can effortlessly slip a knife into the thickest part of the flesh). Take out the rosemary and garlic; reserve the garlic. While still hot, scoop out the pumpkin flesh and purée in a blender or food processor.

Preparation: The Soup

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and cook for 5–6 minutes until soft and translucent. Scoop out the flesh from 2 or 3 roasted garlic cloves and add to the pan with the nutmeg and a little seasoning. Sauté for a further 1–2 minutes. Next, stir in the pumpkin purée and Parmesan, then pour in the stock. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 10–12 minutes. Stir in the cream and heat for a minute. In batches, ladle the soup into a blender and blend until smooth. Add the butter and blitz again to a velvety smooth texture. Pour the soup into a clean pan to reheat.

Preparation: The Garnish

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the mushrooms over high heat for a few minutes until the moisture released has cooked off and the pan is quite dry. Add the butter, season the mushrooms and stir, then remove from the heat.


Dressing The Plate

Pour the hot soup into warmed bowls and spoon the sautéed mushrooms into the middle, grind over some pepper and serve hot.


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