In a question and answer session, 40 students on the college’s professional cookery, food and beverage service, and hospitality supervision and leadership courses were able to ask the chef about the restaurant business.
John Walsh, writing for the Times, finds a piece of cooking-as-theatre that delivers real drama at Kiln in London Soho.
“No gas or electricity is used. Seven young chefs in black T-shirts and long black aprons manipulate woks over ancient iron buckets filled with cylindrical red embers of oak and applewood. A wall-mounted shelf above a flaming abyss forms a rudimentary eye-level grill. You watch the chefs transform cuts of meat and fish, seizing handfuls of noodles, applying shreds of onion, chilli, lemon grass, pak choi and mushroom to the hot dishes. It’s Soho’s version of the Yaowarat Road, Bangkok’s Chinatown.
Michael Deacon of the Telegraph reviews Tom’s Kitchen, Birmingham: “I’m protecting my heart by surrounding it with a wall of fat”.
Location matters, when you’re eating and drinking. The best pubs are almost always found either a) deep in the countryside, or b) beside the sea. There’s something satisfying in glancing out of a pub window and seeing boundless fields or boundless waves.
Following the launch of Patty & Bun on Richmond Road in January, the restaurant will be welcoming an array of chefs to take over the kitchen for a series of one-off events.
The impressive line-up includes: Yossi “Papi” Elad, the Palomar; Rosio Sanchez, owner of Nordic taco emporia Hija de Sanchez and onetime Noma queenpin; Claude Bosi, of the iconic Bibendum; and Michelin-starred Swede Niklas Ekstedt.
Michael Deacon of the Telegraph reviews Claude Bosi at Bibendum: ‘It was like eating sumptuous, mouth-watering air’.
Bibendum was launched in 1987 by Sir Terence Conran, founder of Habitat, and it soon became highly fashionable. After 30 years, though, Sir Terence has decided it’s time for a makeover. The menu is now in the hands of an acclaimed French chef called Claude Bosi.
Two-Michelin-starred chefs Tom Kerridge and Ashley Palmer-Watts will be joining forces with 2009 Hotel Catey Chef of the Year winner Simon Young to help raise money for Debra, the national charity that supports individuals and families affected by Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), a painful genetic skin-blistering condition which, in the worst cases, can be fatal.
The three chefs will be cooking together at the charity’s Butterfly Ball, which is being held at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower, where Young is executive chef, on Friday, 16 June. This is the first time that Kerridge will be cooking at the hotel since announcing his plans to open a restaurant in its famous Rib Room Bar and Restaurant later this year.
The chefs’ dinner will comprise Dinner by Heston Blumenthal’s famous “Meat Fruit (c 1500), mandarin, chicken liver parfait and grilled bread, created by Palmer-Watts, a main course of lightly smoked fillet of Scotch beef, oxtail hot pot, English asparagus wrapped in Alsace bacon, Madeira summer truffle jus, prepared by Young, and Hand and Flowers chocolate and ale cake with salted caramel and muscovado cream, made by Kerridge.
According to Debra, EB is a group of genetic skin conditions which cause the skin to blister and tear at the slightest touch. Those born with EB are called “butterfly children” because their skin is described as being as fragile as the wing of a butterfly.
Painful open wounds and sores form where the skin is damaged, and, in some cases, internal linings and organs are also affected. Complications as a result of secondary infection and extensive scarring are factors that people living with EB often have to face. Certain types of EB can be fatal in infancy and others are severely life-limiting. It estimated that there are more than 5,000 people living with EB in the UK, and 500,000 worldwide.
Young told The Caterer: “I am really proud to lend my support to the DEBRA Butterfly Ball at Jumeirah Carlton Tower. Those living with Epidermolysis Bullosa deserve all the care that DEBRA can provide and I am glad that myself and my fellow chefs can make a small contribution to the work the charity does through our involvement in this event. We are looking forward to cooking up a feast for everyone attending.”
Tickets are £175 per person and are available from www.debra.org.uk.
Claude Bosi at Bibendum is everything a great place should be, says Jay Rayner in the Observer
“There are not enough veal brains on British menus. I mourned the passing of Racine when that closed, because they did them so well in a caper-studded beurre noisette. Here, a lobe is lightly breadcrumbed and then sautéed to golden. It wobbles as if still entertaining the odd thought, but there is crunch. It is served with a glossy take on sauce gribiche, the mayonnaise element replaced by a shiny veal jus, like the varnish of a dining table you can see your face in. It contains the finest dice of egg and cornichons. It is a dish using an ingredient others would reject, raised to a certain majesty.
“The starters list is full of frog’s legs and sweetbreads and asparagus. A pretty crab dish brings a whipped layer of brown crab meat, topped by finely picked white crab, then a layer of gently understated elderflower jelly. What makes it sing is the temperature: just warm enough to allow the flavours their voice. Main courses include turbot and Dover sole, suckling pig and long-cooked goat. The latter is a take on surf and turf, the puck of sweet braised meat tumbling into its razor clams and a sauce made with sea vegetables. On the side is a bowl of Jersey Royals so tiny, they’re practically foetal.”
The Guardian’s Marina O’Loughlin has to restrain herself from licking the plate at Bar Douro, London
“I’m just off the plane from Lisbon when I find myself (with some difficulty: it’s hidden away in Bankside’s new Flat Iron Square complex) in Bar Douro. Portuguese is one of the most under-rated cuisines, dismissed by many as an endless array of stringy piri-piri chicken and salty, swampy stews reeking of too much coriander.
“Proper Portuguese restaurants over here are few and far between (at time of writing, the wretched Tripadvisor’s top 20 Portuguese restaurants in the capital features 11 branches of Nando’s). Fair to say, I’m not brimming with hope about Bar Douro. But – spoiler! – it’s a little star: excellent produce, beautifully cooked in an azulejos-tiled room with barstools-only dining around an open kitchen and served at curvaceous marble counters. There isn’t a duffer among our choices: not dense, homemade bread stuffed with pimento-rich chouriço; nor a muscular octopus tentacle, its suckers charred, its interior snowy, lolling on a bed of suave sweet potato purée; nor crisp croquetes of alheira, a pungent, fatty and garlicky pork-free smoked sausage of Jewish origin, blobbed with lemon-laced mayonnaise.”
Tredwells chef-patron Chantelle Nicholson, tells The Caterer why she is getting involved in a new initiative called Life Kitchen which helps people living with cancer and their families
Tell us more about Life Kitchen and its founder Ryan Riley. How did you find out about the project?
Life Kitchen will bring free cookery classes to cancer patients undertaking treatment, as well as those people that are caring for them. I found out about the cause via a mutual friend and generally wonderful person, Hugh Wright, who tweeted about it. I thought it sounded so interesting, and wanted to see how I could help, so I sent a message to Ryan, and the rest is history.
You are an incredibly busy lady, and you’ve taken on a role at Life Kitchen as food director. What will that involve?
It is still very much in its infancy, so we are conducting research while we go through the initial funding, to see what exactly people want and need to support them through this difficult time. I envisage creating and overseeing what we eventually offer, but hopefully with a lot of other chefs and food lovers coming on board to teach the classes also.
What will you be teaching at the classes?
The aim is to focus on flavour, taste and nutrition. I will be teaching too, but I am hoping we will expand rather rapidly so we will need the involvement and support of others.
What are the challenges when cooking for people undergoing cancer treatments?
Loss of appetite is one I hear most often, as well as constant metallic tastes and certain foods both smelling and tasting unpleasant. In order to get the nutrients in to the body, I intend to come up with ways to help overcome these challenges.
You are hosting and cooking at a charity dinner in aid of Life Kitchen. Tell us more about the event and who will be joining you at the stoves?
Yes, it is very exciting. It takes place on Sunday 25 June. My wonderful friends, Lisa Allen, Anna Hansen and Ravinder Bhogal have all come on board, as well as the wonderful ACE Hotel, so it is going to be an awesome evening to raise as much money as we can.
How can you buy tickets?
We are releasing the tickets early May, follow us on twitter @lifekitchen to stay tuned for updates!
The event will be held on Easter Sunday (16 April) at Yurt Lush in Temple Meads, a venue overseen by Michelin starred Josh Eggleton as part of his Eat Drink Bristol Fashion brand.