Last night saw the launch of Taste of London, the annual food festival celebrating the capital’s restaurant scene, which opens to the public today.
The great and good of the hospitality industry gathered in Regent’s Park to sip Champagne and sample a special hog roast prepared by two-Michelin-starred chef Claude Bosi.
At Taste of London, 40 of the capital’s top restaurants are represented and 36 of them put their top dish forward for the Best Taste Award.
A panel of judges including Danish chef Rene Redzepi of Noma in Copenhagen, Observer food critic Jay Rayner, Guardian food editor Matthew Fort, Sunday Telegraph restaurant critic Zoe Williams and food writer Joe Warwick spent more six hours tasting the restaurants’ signature dishes.
Pascal Aussignac, chef proprietor of the Michelin-starred Club Gascon group of restaurants, was the big winner picking up the top prize for his dish of foie gras burger and summer truffle.
“I am amazed and surprised,” Aussignac said after the award ceremony. “It’s super cool, especially considering that I have been given the award by Rene Redzepi who is such a great chef.”
Rayner added: “Club Gascon’s foie gras burger is shamelessly outrageous and an absolute joy. Is it good for you? No. Does it make you feel good? Yes!”
A close runner up was taste of London newcomer Skylon executive chef Helena Puolakka’s dish of warm smoked Loch Var salmon, lemon verbena jelly and pickled cucumber and sweet rye. In third place was Tristan Welch, head chef at Launceston Place, with a rice pudding soufflé with raspberry sauce for two. A special mention also went to Paramount’s Colin Layfield for his rump of lamb, goat’s cheese and white onion tart with sweet pea puree.
Next to the Best in Taste Award were the Best in Taste Wine Awards:
Taste of Summer Award – Prosecco Riccardo NV, Italy
Foodies Wine Award – Gran Feudo Chardonnay 2008, Bodegas Chivite, Spain
Indulgence Award – Felsina Vin Santo 2001, Italy
Taste of London runs in Regent’s Park until Sunday 19 June.
What was your first job?
At the age of 10 I was opening oysters and working as a kitchen porter at a Michelin-starred restaurant in La Rochelle
Which is your favourite restaurant?
Maison Troisgros, Roanne, France
What is your favourite hotel?
The Chedi Muscat hotel in Oman
What do you do to relax?
What is your favourite drink?
Red Martini on ice
What is your favourite food/cuisine?
Asian, especially Thai