A taste of: Kerth Gumbs’ recipes

In the first of a series of recipes to try while self-isolating, we make the Ormer Mayfair head chef’s fried Johnny cakes and cheesy pasta bake

Food and Drink 27 Mar 2020

Kerth Gumbs, head chef of Ormer Mayfair

Kerth Gumbs, head chef of Ormer Mayfair

Fried Johnny cakes and salted butter


500g flour (extra flour for dusting)

100g cornmeal

400g water

180g sugar

7g dried yeast

50g butter (melted)

20g Maldon salt

500ml veg oil for frying


In a bowl, place the flour and cornmeal with dried yeast.

In a pan, warm up the water with the butter, salt and sugar. Be careful not to let it get too hot, then pour onto the flour and knead into a dough.

Leave to rise then knead again, making 60g balls.

Set aside to rise again before frying in vegetable oil.

Serve on their own or as an accompaniment to a main dish which contains lots of sauce, like curries or stews.

Cheesy pasta bake


500g pasta (macaroni, fusilli or penne are my favourites for this dish)

500g milk

50g butter

50g flour

1 onion, diced

2 carrots, peeled and diced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tsp ground white pepper

1 tsp dried oregano

3g Maldon salt

100ml olive oil

400g tinned tomatoes

100g Red Leicester cheese

100g cream cheese

50g grated Parmesan


Cook the pasta for 9 minutes in boiling water, then remove and strain. Reserve 200g of this water for the tomato base later. Drizzle the pasta with a little olive oil and leave to the side.

Place a pan on medium heat with oil, add the chopped onion, carrot, garlic and tinned tomatoes and pour in the pasta water. Cook slowly for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat. Place in a baking tray and leave aside.

In another pan, add the butter, flour, pepper and salt. Cook for 3 minutes slowly – you should have a little paste forming.

Then add the milk using a whisk and keep whisking until the milk thickens. Once it does, remove from heat and add the oregano, all the cream cheese, half the Red Leicester and Parmesan. This should give you a creamy cheese sauce.

Pour this mix over the pre-cooked pasta, and then pour the pasta onto the tomato mix in the baking tray. To finish, add the rest of the grated Parmesan on top and place in oven for 12 minutes at 180 degrees.

Ormer Mayfair is currently closed to visitors, but check the website for updates.