Everything is slotting nicely into place for my appearance at the ‘American Express 10-10-10’ event at the London Restaurant Festival. Earlier this month my team travelled down to London for the Great British Pub Awards and then went on to the Criterion the next day to practice in the kitchen of our host, Matthew Foxon.
We will be producing four of the ten dishes, Matthew the other four and then we will be producing two dishes together – a venison dish and a leek, potato and egg yolk ravioli with truffles. For my other dishes you should come along to the Freemasons and sample our Taste of 10-10-10 menu.
Our styles are quite different: Matthew is more classically minded where I am more contemporary but I am confident we will pull it off on the day. This is a big showpiece event for me and to feature alongside the likes of Alain Roux and Raymond Blanc is hopefully a stepping stone to the success I want to achieve for Freemasons.
It will be good to have some trusted former colleagues alongside me on the big day, as well as our own pastry chef, Laurence Smith, who will be on lemon meringue duty. I will also be joined by Paul Gamble, who was my sous chef at Stanley House, and Ross O’Neill, who was my junior sous chef at Gilpin Lodge. It means a lot to me that these guys are still in my corner.
The Criterion has a very modern kitchen so the visit was all about planning my strategy for how to operate there and I think that Matthew and I are now starting to gel. He can be very commanding in the kitchen but, then again, so can I!
24/09/2010 13:42:00 Filed under: General Comments: 1
In a pickle in Poland
This is a really busy period for me, with preparations for 10-10-10 and the Great British Pub awards, but I still managed to take time out last week to travel to Poland, for the wedding of my fiancée Aga’s best friend, Kasia. Her home town is Gorzov, which is about an hour north west of Berlin and famous as the home to the world speedway champions. The rest of the town is not too fast-lane, so I did manage to spend a lot of time on the internet, researching new dishes and planning our Christmas menu.
It was great to meet Aga’s mum and dad, Kris and Kristina - and I managed not to confuse Kris and Kris! The poles are very big on home cooking and fresh produce in the supermarkets, so there is not too much call for eating out. Maybe that’s why there are so many McDonalds’ there. Kris (the mum, not the dad!) was always busy in the kitchen, drying her mushrooms or pickling her cauliflowers, cucumbers, carrots, fennel tomatoes, and gherkins. (Not a patch on the gherkins I pickle for the Pugh’s piglet dish mind!) Her speciality is bigos – braised cabbage to you and me.
So the real introduction to the Polish love of food – and drink – was the wedding itself. It started at 2pm and the vodka started flowing at 2.01pm and didn’t stop flowing for about 12 hours. And neither did the food. There were soups, breads, sausage platters, roasted meats, braised meats, deserts, cheeses and all this was served until 1pm, probably to soak up the vodka. It should keep me going for the weeks ahead!
08/09/2010 14:31:00 Filed under: General Comments: 0