Now here’s a bit of globe-trotting for you. South African chef Grant Hawthorne last week hosted a celebratory dinner for Australian Formula 1 driver (and winner of the 2009 German Grand Prix) Mark Webber at English restaurant, the Plough Wavendon, with produce from South African and 1979 Formula 1 World Champion Jody Scheckter’s English farm, Laverstoke Park.
The international line-up proved for an interesting evening as diners tucked into an incredible seven-course degustation menu featuring some of Scheckter’s amazing biodynamic and organic produce such as in the Laverstoke lamb en sous vide with broad beans, carrot, highland burgundy red and Aspley Guise truffle. All the dishes were accompanied by wines from Tasmania, which is where the Mark Webber Challenge Foundation (raising money for charities including the Save the Tassie Devil Appeal and the Leukaemia Foundation) is based.
Speaking at the dinner, Webber said that sitting next to World Champion Jody Scheckter with just the one win under his belt he was glad that racing legend Sir Jackie Stewart had been unable to make it to the event.
“Winning the grand prix was a very proud moment for myself and the team having had a one, two at Silverstone [with his team mate Sebastian Vettel finishing first] and then another one, two in Germany – and of course it’s been 28 years since another Australian, Alan Jones, won. It’s my responsbility to try and get the Australian national anthem played!”
Webber, who owns the nearby Stag in Mentmore with his partner Ann Neal, said that he loved food and “eats plenty of it” but added that having been a “big, red meat eater” back home in New South Wales he eats less of it nowadays and his diet was more likely to contain lots of pasta and a little bit of seafood. While declaring a love for chocolate and ice-cream, he did admit to laying off his favourite foods for a race weekend.
Host for the evening Grant Hawthorne said: “Mark has been a regular at the restaurant and to show how proud we are of him and his achievements this year, we donned our black ties and celebrated. Not only is he a great racing drive, but he is a local to many.”
To see images from the night and the dishes served, go to Table Talk.