This week, London’s Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel hosted the 2007 Caterer and Hotelkeeper Chef Conference. Here are a few of the memories buzzing around my head, in no particular order.
* Jumeirah Executive Chef, Simon Young and his team deserved all the plaudits they received in the bar after dinner for pulling together a spectacular conference lunch and a magnificent dinner. As I was speaking to Simon, two other chefs approached him to tell him they had just enjoyed the greatest banqueting dinner of their lives. Praise indeed …
[By the way, Simon is hosting a dinner in July in support of the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation, set up by Executive Chef at the Mandarin Oriental, David Nicholls. The event is a sell-out, but you can find other ways of supportig the charity at http://www.nichollsfoundation.org.uk/.]
* Chris Galvin, our roving reporter in the kitchen, whose chef interviews were beamed to diners through the evening, can look forward to a thriving career in TV, if he ever decides to step away from the stove.
* Prue Leith, chair of the School Food Trust, made an interesting point when she said she had never known a child who didn’t enjoy cooking. She’ s right – I, for one, fondly remember helping my mum mixing dough for Welsh cakes when I was a nipper. So why don’t more kids go into catering careers later on in life?
* Charles Boyd of Chester Boyd was proudly sporting a Charlton House lapel pin – interesting!
* Agar is made of seaweed and sets at room temperature.
* English asparagus is spectacular this year.
* Santes des chefs rarely run smoothly …
* The guy that won the Villeroy & Boch canteen of cutlery was on a motorbike – I hope he managed to get home okay.
* I want to sample a gull’ s egg, having seen Phil Howard of two-Michelin-starred the Square add one to his wonderful plate of asparagus and wild salmon belly.
* I just remembered that I am provisionally on the guest list for Rob Kirby’s spring fishing trip to Scotland! Will I survive to tell the tale?
* Researching our speakers before the conference, I spent a happy hour reading through Rowley Leigh’s FT columns online – especially his interview with Fergus Henderson.
Do you have any recollections you would like to share? If so, why don’t you respond to this posting?