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Issue 19 Summer 2019


The eyes & ears of the hospitality industry Vintage talent: our inaugural over-50s power list Tom Kerridge on eggs • Wine cellar secrets • Support networks

Industry £4 / Non-industry £7

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Contents 5.

Staff briefing


In season: summer shopping pages


CODE breaking: restaurant news


The power list of Britain’s hospitality heroes


The power list’s hall of fame


Buyers and cellars: four wine collections of note


In conversation with… Sat Bains


What’s fuelling CODE this season


Creative focus, featuring photographer Joe Sarah


Gavin Rankin looks back at our changing restaurant scene


Firestarters: what’s cooking on the summer festival scene


Victoria Stewart on hospitality’s support networks


Tools of the trade: Tomos Parry of Brat


The drinks report: non-alcoholic spirits


On the shelf: the latest food books reviewed


MasterClass: the professionals


24 hours in… Bethlehem


What’s hot on social media


A classic revisited: Oslo Court


Staff meal: what the team eats at Berenjak

Publisher Adam Hyman Editor Lisa Markwell Creative Director Alexander Taralezhkov

Contributors Max Coltart Minna Gabbertas Loyd Grossman Chloë Hamilton Katie Hammond Tom Kerridge Will Lake Nieves Barragán Mohacho Tom Pilgrim Gavin Rankin Kian Samyani Joe Sarah Victoria Stewart

Head office CODE Hospitality WeWork 199 Bishopsgate London EC2M 3TY Tel: +44 20 7104 2007 contact@codehospitality.co.uk @CODEhospitality @codehospitality CODE Quarterly (online) ISSN 2398-9726

Front cover illustrated by Dessy Baeva (@dessybaeva) Printed on recycled paper by DataComuniqué


Issue 15 Summer 2018

te rlyindustry Quar of the hospitality

The eyes & ears


Issue 19 | Summer 2019 | codehospitality.co.uk

4 issues from just £16 Never miss an issue of the hospitality industry’s must-read magazine. From interviews with industry leaders to inspiring stories of collaboration, plus news, travel, shopping book reviews and much more. For more information and to order, visit codehospitality.co.uk/CQsubscribe

Staff briefing What’s hot It started out as a joke. Some of the more senior members of the industry messaging me when we publish our 30 under 30 list each year demanding a list for the over-50s! But sometimes, like a lot of things in life, what started out as a bit of fun has become something that we realised we wanted to champion at CODE. It was Jeremy King who first properly brought this to my attention when he told a tale of dining in the US and how he experienced such good service from two servers in their fifties who’d decided on a career move. Corbin & King now have their Plus 50 initiative across their restaurants encouraging those in the later years of their life to work in hospitality. So it gives me great pleasure to introduce our first Power List that we hope not only highlights those who are more well known to the industry, but also those unsung heroes who we may not recognise who have both been in the industry for a long time or have newly entered it. Thank you, as always, for your continued support and wishing you an enjoyable summer. Adam Hyman Founder, CODE @AdamMHyman

Maiden names Allegra, Myrtle, Emilia, Sorella, Gloria, Angelina, Jolene, Norma, Isla, Pamela, Martha 

Green and pleasant We applaud Darby’s properly cooked vegetables, not squeaky beans

Bring on the brown Such as ragu-drenched, anti-Instagrammable food

Flour power Flor, Jolene and others are milling their own

What’s not Sponsored summer terraces Who needs a table and chairs with logos?

Fork wars Dishes only available to share are so over

Gatekeepers I’ve given my name four times and I’m still not in the restaurant

Lisa Markwell Editor, CODE @HoldsKnifeLikePen Unlit loos Even worse when F and M are mixed *shudders*


Issue 19 | Summer 2019 | codehospitality.co.uk

I’m the oldest of the CODE team (by quite some margin), so I’m particularly invested in the Power List and as someone who trained as a chef aged 51, it’s a big thumbs up from me to the career changers. Turn to page 10 to see who’s on the list and although the working title was 50 over 50, in a nod to our 30 under 30 list each winter, our brilliant judges found it impossible to cut it down. Meanwhile the vintage theme continues with a look at four of London’s most interesting wine cellars – although two of them are certainly not below ground. We asked each of their custodians which wine they would choose if they could only grab one and the range was fascinating. Let’s just say I now know where to run to with a corkscrew should the apocalypse arrive. As ever with all things CODE, I’m keen to hear what our subscribers and readers want to hear more about. In this edition we didn’t have space for our usual Head to Head battle on a subject exercising the community – but I’d say lighting, social media and whether to expand or contract chain restaurants are all hot topics for future discussion. Let me know what’s on your mind: lisa@codehospitality.co.uk

In season From indulgent treats to do-good details, there’s a lot of retail therapy to catch the eye this summer

Attack the block

Volcanic, single-estate chocolate from the Philippines, Madagascar and Pacific Ring of Fire Countries sounds intriguing, and the products sound delicious, so CODE endorses the idea of terroir for cocoa beans and will be trying them at Taste of London. firetreechocolate.com

Knead to know

Issue 19 | Summer 2019 | codehospitality.co.uk

There can be no excuse for not turning out splendid sourdough and brilliant brioche after reading this fivevolume collection on all things bread, from the experts Francisco Migoya and Nathan Myhrvold – the pair behind Modernist Cuisine. Dough-nerds stand by… £425, amazon.co.uk


2019 -6-

Hot dates

Inspired by the idea of 24 hours in Bethlehem (p54)? These wonderful medjoul dates come from the Jericho valley exclusively for Zaytoun and are a delicious way to support the Palestinian farming community. From £3.95, traidcraftshop.co.uk

Merch search

Hard works

As the number of smokers gets smaller, do fewer ashtrays get pinched from restaurants? Who knows, but this very desirable pot from the legend that is St John would make an ideal receptacle for keys, nuts or… well, you choose. £13.50, stjohnrestaurant.com

You can lose hours perusing the Havelock Studio website, where there are beautiful handmade pieces of kitchenware everywhere. This origami concrete trivet makes a stylish centrepiece for that risotto pot or griddle pan – and if you’re making hot stuff for the hordes, you can get several to tessellate together. £60, havelockstudio.com

Potted Prada

Since 2014, the fashion label Prada has owned the historic Milan pastry shop Marchesi 1824 and the bijoux bakery has just opened an outpost in London. It’s not just an elegant pitstop for coffee, but the products make brilliant presents like this package of coffee and hazelnut creams. From a selection at Marchesi 1824, 117 Mount Street, London

Pipe dreams

Fast plants


Issue 19 | Summer 2019 | codehospitality.co.uk

These look exactly the right aperture for guzzling a thick milkshake, so we’re in love with the Kitchen Provisions metal straws, but if you want to use them on your post-Barrys protein drink, go right ahead. Let’s all switch to steel right now. £5 for two, kitchenprovisions.co.uk

We know we need to eat less meat, but what happens when the nugget craving hits hard? Luckily a new and, a little confusingly named THIS, has been created both for retail and in partnership with Patty & Bun and their plant-based Isn’t Bacon and Isn’t Chicken pieces, made from peas and soya beans, are pretty tasty. Bring on the vegan drive-thru… THIS Isn’t Chicken, from midJuly, Holland & Barrett

CODE breaking



The team behind the much-loved Lyle’s are opening a new site, Flor, in Borough Market this July. Flor will double up as a wine bar and bakery, with a style quite different to that of Lyle’s; James Lowe and John Ogier have come up with a menu inspired by traditional French and Spanish bars and tavernas, while their baked goods will be made using wheat that’s milled in-house.

NoMad London

The eyes and ears of the industry

In summer 2020, Covent Garden will gain a new resident with the NoMad Hotel, which takes over the Bow Street Magistrates Court. The Grade II-listed building will house 91 bedrooms, whilst the dream-team of Daniel Humm and Will Guidara are set to oversee the food offering in the hotel, which will be their second site in London once Davies and Brook opens in Claridge’s this autumn.

The Betterment

Jason Atherton adds yet another London site to his growing portfolio of restaurants with The Betterment, which will open this summer at The Biltmore, a new venture from LXR Hotels & Resorts, in Mayfair. The Betterment marks a return to the neighbourhood for Atherton, having cut his fine-dining teeth launching Maze 14 years ago.


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After opening Soutine earlier this year in St John’s Wood, hospitality giants Jeremy King and Chris Corbin have announced plans for Manzi’s, set to open in Soho – although there’s no confirmed opening date yet. With a whopping 240 covers, the restaurant will take inspiration from the pair’s famed Brasserie Zédel, but with a focus on seafood.


Rest of the UK

In addition to our weekly digital Bulletin, here we round up this quarter’s biggest news in the global restaurant and hotel scene. By Minna Gabbertas

Wine enthusiasts will rejoice at the news of the opening of the UK’s first vineyard hotel in Hensol, South Wales. The hotel is the result of investment from Ryan Davies, owner of Llanerch Vineyard, home to the award-winning Cariad wines and one of the oldest vineyards in Wales. The 26-bedroom hotel’s restaurant focuses on using seasonal and sustainable produce which is sourced locally.

Fitzroy, Cornwall

Landing in the seaside town of Fowey this summer, Fitzroy is the next project for Cornish-born David Gingell and Jeremie Cometto, the duo behind the successful Primeur, Westerns Laundry and Jolene. The restaurant will be housed in a former Victorian bank and, as to be expected, the menu will focus on fresh seafood and seasonal ingredients as well as locally brewed beers and ciders.

The Swan, Cotswolds

Sam and Georgie Pearman have added another member to their Country Creatures group, having only recently relaunched The Talbot in North Yorkshire. The Swan, resident of swanky village Ascott-under-Wychwood in The Cotswolds, reopened its doors at the end of May, and houses eight bedrooms along with a 65-cover restaurant.

Albert’s Schenke, Liverpool

Manchester hospitality giants Mission Mars, the team behind the much-loved Albert’s Schloss, Rudy’s and Gorilla, are set to open a second site in Liverpool this summer. Albert’s Schenke replaces the Hub Alehouse & Kitchen in the city centre and the new Bier Halle will offer more than 20 beers on tap, along with local craft beers and modern versions of classical Alpine dishes.

Raffles Hotel, Singapore

Rest of the world

Llanerch Hotel, Wales

Birthplace of the Singapore Sling and favourite of royalty and high society, Raffles – the 19th century colonial-style luxury hotel – will be re-opening its doors in August after an 18-month restoration period. Aside from the Long Bar (home of the fabled cocktail), the hotel will feature five dining options, including a Mediterranean-focused restaurant by Alain Ducasse, as well as a restaurant from three-Michelin-starred AnneSophie Pic – her first foray into Asia.

Damian and Ditroit, Los Angeles

Chefs Enrique Olvera and Daniela Soto-Innes, the team behind the acclaimed Mexican restaurant Cosme, are set to open two side-by-side restaurants in the Arts District of Los Angeles in early autumn. Ditroit will be an all-day taqueria, whilst its neighbour’s menu will be a more formal mix of Californian and Mexican cuisine, with a more obvious nod to Cosme.

Louise, Hong Kong

Set to open in June within the new PMQ development in Hong Kong’s Central district, Louise is the creation of Yenn Wong (of Hong Kong based hospitality firm JIA) and chef Julien Royer, the brains behind Odette in Singapore, awarded first position in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants’ 2019. Much like Odette, Louise will serve traditional French cuisine.

Ace Hotel, Kyoto


Issue 19 | Summer 2019 | codehospitality.co.uk

Not only is architect Kengo Kuma drawing up plans for Tokyo’s stadium for the 2020 Olympics, but he has also led the design of the Ace Hotel Kyoto, set to open at the end of this year. Only a few details about the hotel have been released, but the 213-room hotel will take inspiration from the rich cultural history of the city, and is in a neighbourhood that was previously the grounds of Kyoto’s imperial palace.

Let’s hear it for the over-50s. Youthful energy and enthusiasm are all well and good, but nothing beats experience. In fact, one of the greatest things about the hospitality community is how much each generation in inspired by the one before. Whether it’s through tangible influence from afar or being a personal mentor, we have much to thank those who have been in the industry for upward of 20 years for. So CODE is delighted to launch its first list of over-50s who shape our world and although we feel sure that there are many more managers, chefs, sommeliers and others who are deserving of the attention, this collection of the powerful marks our biggest names (and a few lesser-known stars from behind the scenes). As Joanna Lea, Director of Retail, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, who sponsored the list, says: “We recognise the critical role that the hospitality sector plays across our estate in Mayfair and Belgravia, in supporting our vision to create an inclusive and open place for all who visit, live in and work in the West End. We are proud to partner with CODE to celebrate both the pioneers and unsung heroes who make hospitality such a richly diverse and inclusive industry.”

Th POW lis 5O

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The judges

Tom Kerridge -10-

Tracey MacLeod

In association with

he WER st

To help wade through the many nominations received, and to cut down the long, long list of potential inclusions, CODE’s founder Adam Hyman and editor Lisa Markwell were joined by a special panel. The Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge is too young to be included on the list, but he has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the industry, which proved invaluable when it came to ensuring a wide geographical spread. The Masterchef judge and writer Tracey MacLeod can draw on her years as a restaurant critic for her expertise, while GQ editor Dylan Jones is a power luncher and one of the capital’s most connected men. What he doesn’t know about who pours the best champagne and which maitre d’ always finds a good table isn’t worth knowing. Finally our regular columnist and food expert Loyd Grossman has many memories of dining out to draw on – he knows about both the latest openings and the almost-forgotten classics that deserve more attention. We thank them all for their wise words. Want to express your gratitude... or tell us who we forgot? The nominations start now for the 2020 list: email editor@codehospitality.co.uk

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Loyd Grossman

Grosvenor Britain & Ireland creates and manages high quality neighbourhoods that are great places to live, work and visit. Our diverse property development, management and investment portfolio includes Grosvenor’s London estate of Mayfair and Belgravia and other developments in London, Oxfordshire and Cambridgeshire. We are part of the Grosvenor Group, one of the world’s largest privately-owned property companies, which develops, manages and invests in property in more than 60 cities around the world. As at 31 December 2018, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland had assets under management of £5.3bn

Dylan Jones -11-

Co-founders, Corbin and King The duo behind some of the capital’s most loved dining rooms, including The Wolseley, who continue to expand.

Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

Co-founders, Ottolenghi Jerusalem-born Ottolenghi and Tamimi have hugely influenced both the way we (professionals and home cooks) shop and eat.

Phil Howard

Co-owner, Elystan St, Sonny’s, Kitchen W8 Michelin-starred super-chef (and survivor) who has been cooking in London for more than 20 years; countless protegés now running their own restaurants have him to thank.

Nick Jones

Founder, Soho House & Co.

With properties opening in Hong Kong and Paris, the global expansion for Soho House continues apace. Jones is still very much at the forefront of the private members’ club group that he founded in 1995 and continues to grow the business that has become one of the most influential hospitality brands in the world.

Anthony Demetre

Chef owner, Wild Honey Demetre’s Arbutus in Soho was a game-changing restaurant and he’s been cooking in the capital for more than two decades, now at the relocated Wild Honey St James.

Russell Norman

Co-founder, POLPO A tenacious operator, Norman is responsible for the restaurant renaissance in London, bringing Negronis, squirrel-cage lightbulbs and small plates to diners.

Mark Hix

Chef owner, HIX Restaurants After 17 years at Caprice Holdings, Hix has become known for his originality and vision and has just published his 10th book.

Oliver Peyton

Restaurateur and broadcaster Peyton gave London the Atlantic Bar & Grill in the ‘80s, heralding a sea change in the restaurant scene, and still influences today, as a judge on Great British Menu.

Monika Linton Founder, Brindisa

Issue 19 | Summer 2019 | codehospitality.co.uk

Our best-known faces

Chris Corbin and Jeremy King

One of the most influential figures for Spanish restaurants and food in London. 2018 marked Linton’s 30th year in the business; after setting up Brindisa in the ‘80s, Linton has expanded her business from importing and distributing Spanish food to running five hugely popular tapas restaurants and publishing her first book, Brindisa: The True Food of Spain. Linton is a laudable example of the success to be found in sticking to your passion and not compromising on quality. -12-

Mitch Tonks

Chef owner, The Seahorse and Rockfish restaurants

With a whole host of impressive accolades under his belt, including the Observer’s ‘Best UK Restaurant’ for his restaurant The Seahorse, Mitch Tonks’ simple but firm passion for seafood – sparked by his childhood spent in Weston-super-Mare – has clearly taken him far. It is this unwavering belief that has driven the success of The Seahorse and The Rockfish group, and his five cookery books.

Margot Henderson and Melanie Arnold

Co-founders of Rochelle Canteen and Arnold & Henderson Catering The pair have been in business together for 25 years and continue to excel with their two restaurants and catering business.

John Williams MBE

Executive chef, The Ritz Earnt a Michelin star for his restaurant and last year published The Ritz London: The Cookbook; Williams is a huge influence on a younger generation of chefs.

Patricia Michelson

Founder, La Fromagerie One of the leading authorities on cheese in the UK for both trade and consumers – her cafe/shops are always busy.

Martyn Nail

Robin and Judy Hutson Co-owners, Home Grown Hotels

Founders of The Pig, the couple have transformed the country house hotel model; since opening near Canterbury in Kent, their restaurants-with-rooms group is now six-strong – and they have another two slated for opening in 2020. Robin has been instrumental in ensuring sustainability – the hotels source everything locally and have their own kitchen gardens – while Judy has created the immediately identifiable eclectic interiors. -13-

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Executive chef, Claridge’s Nail has been at Claridge’s for more than 30 years and broke Instagram this year with his lobster wellington.

Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver Co-founders, St JOHN

Founders of one of the most influential restaurants of the past 30 years and hosts of one of Britain’s best training grounds for chefs. Not just that, but the pair support other restaurant ventures. They also visibly enjoy their job and giving others a good time. As they say, “Fergus puts it on the plate and Trevor puts in the glass.”

Michel Roux Jr

Chef de Cuisine, Le Gavroche Two-Michelin-starred chef at Le Gavroche and a popular regular on our TV screens.

Angela Hartnett MBE

Founder, Murano and Café Murano One of the most high-profile women in the hospitality industry, who still works the pass and visibly relishes her job.

Richard Corrigan

Chef patron, Corrigan Collection Corrigan’s career spans 25 years and is still one of the most affable in the industry, as his legendary parties prove.

Issue 19 | Summer 2019 | codehospitality.co.uk

Simon Rogan

Chef patron, L’Enclume, Roganic, Aulis From Cartmel in Cumbria to Causeway Bay in Hong Kong. One of the leading chefs of our time and an expert proponent of the tasting menu.

Oisin Rogers

Landlord, The Guinea Grill Rogers, the consummate pub host, became known running the riverside favourite The Ship and now runs the even more fabled Guinea Grill (see page 24). Also known for his Irish music ‘diddly’ sessions.


Unsung heroes

Michael Lynch Head butler, Claridge’s

Lynch hails from a family of 11 children in the west of Ireland, which might explain his ability to look after others. He has worked at the fabled Mayfair property since 1976 and now holds the role of head butler, serving the hotel’s guests and their needs. Despite working in the same place for more than 40 years, it sounds like Lynch has no desire for a change of scenery. “I intend to spend the rest of my working life at Claridge’s.”

Ninoska Leppard

Director of Personnel and Development, Corbin & King Leppard has worked with Chris Corbin and Jeremy King since 1994, overseeing the crucial peoplemanagement in their business.

Peter Sweeney

Doorman, Goring hotel Diminutive but authoritative, Sweeney has been greeting guests at the front of the famous Goring hotel since 1965.

Neil (‘just Neil’)

Dessert trolley waiter, Oslo Court (see page 57)

Laura Paton


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Maitre d’, Cora Pearl A familiar face from working in some of the best dining rooms across London.

Long-serving stalwarts

Ranjit Mathrani, Namita and Camellia Panjabi Founders, Masala World Restaurant Group

As well as owning Chutney Mary, Veeraswamy and Amaya in London, Namita Panjabi, along with her husband Ranjit Mathrani and her sister Camellia also operate the Masala Zone chain of restaurants. The trio have been at the forefront of Indian cuisine in the capital for close to 30 years and are all still heavily involved in the day-to-day running of their restaurants.

Skye Gyngell

Chef, Spring and Heckfield Place A role model to female chefs, Gyngell has also been influential in championing sustainability in her restaurants.

Rowley Leigh

Culinary director, Sam’s Riverside From Kensington Place to Le Café Anglais, Leigh is one of the handful of chefs who has been instrumental in shaping the London restaurant scene.

Mr Peng

Founder, Hunan restaurant Despite not having a menu, this Chinese restaurant is still regarded as one of the best in the capital, founded by the famously monikered Mr Peng in 1982.

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Michelle Wade

Owner, Maison Bertaux Trained actress who worked at Maison Bertaux, then went on to buy the Soho institution and continues to run it, 44 years on.

Andreas Antona

Chef patron, Simpsons, The Cross at Kenilworth Michelin-star holder and founder of the Bocuse d’Or UK Academy.

Eric Chavot

Chef, Bob Bob Ricard and Bob Bob Cité Worked for Raymond Blanc, Marco Pierre White and Pierre Koffmann and now oversees the food at Bob Bob Ricard and the newly opened Bob Bob Cité.

Vasco Matteucci

Founder, Vasco and Piero’s Pavilion Matteucci has been serving pasta to Soho regulars for the past 40 years from his Poland Street restaurant.

Jeremy Lee

Head chef, Quo Vadis Much loved bon viveur who heads up the kitchens at Quo Vadis and whose enthusiasm for collaborations keeps the restaurant fresh.

Henry Harris

Chef director, Harcourt Inns Previously chef patron of the muchloved Racine in Knightsbridge and now overseeing the food at a group of successful pubs including as The Coach in Clerkenwell.

Des Gunewardena and David Loewi

Founders, D&D London Duo behind the restaurant group who have recently opened two new sites in New York and created a hospitalityhelping workspace initiative.


Sam and Sam Clark Co-founders, Moro

The influence of Moro is huge – since opening their first Clerkenwell restaurant in 1997, the husband-and-wife team have expanded their portfolio, introduced a private catering arm and published a number of cookbooks together. The roaming, broadly mediterranean-meets-middle-east cuisine for which they were standard bearers has become ubiquitous, but never bettered, across the country.

Stephen and Phil Harris Co-owners, The Sporstman The brothers behind the Sportsman, which has twice been voted best restaurant in the UK and remains a booked-out favourite.

Robyn and Robert Wilson

Co-owners, The Bleeding Heart Husband and wife team behind The Bleeding Heart restaurant, still going strong after 36 years.

Gino Nardella

Master sommelier, The Stafford After 42 years running the extensive and illustrious Stafford hotel wine cellar, Nardella remains fascinated by discovering new wines.

David Nicholls

Group director F&B, Mandarin Oriental Based at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park since 1996, Nicholls now oversees food and drink for the global hotel chain.

Gordana Sherriff

Maitre d’, Scott’s Sheriff was a hugely influential face at Groucho and has orchestrated the dining rooms of some of London’s best restaurants – you can currently find her at Scott’s on Mount Street.

Otto Tepassé

Owner, Otto’s The charismatic Austrian restaurateur behind industry favourite Otto’s on Gray’s Inn Road, famous for its duck and lobster presses.

Director, Le Caprice

The face of Le Caprice, Adorno has worked at the Arlington Place restaurant since 1981 and is known for his effusive welcome to diners. -17-

Issue 19 | Summer 2019 | codehospitality.co.uk

Jesus Adorno

Andrew McKenzie

Managing director, The Vineyard Group

McKenzie got his start in the industry working as a hotel hall porter in his hometown in Scotland, and he’s recently celebrated 20 years at The Vineyard Group as MD (the group numbers six hotels). Under his management, The Vineyard Hotel has grown from 33 to 49 rooms and boasts a cellar of 30,000 bottles. It’s no surprise, then, that McKenzie has won an array of awards, including, most recently, the Lifetime Achievement Award at the CHS Awards.

Richard Turner

Chef and owner, Turner & George Turner trained as a chef before cofounding Turner & George butchers and founding the Meatopia festival; he’s more recently launched Gridiron on Park Lane.

Gavin Rankin

Owner, Bellamy’s Rankin was Mark Birley’s right hand man for a number of years before opening Bellamy’s in Mayfair - the only restaurant the Queen visits (see p34).

Cyrus Todiwala, OBE

Chef proprietor, Cafe Spice Namaste Mumbai-born Todiwala has been running Café Spice Namaste since 1995 in East London and is a familiar face on TV food programmes.

Rebecca Mascarenhas Co-owner, Sonny’s, Kitchen W8 and Elystan St A restaurateur for more than three decades who has created neighbourhood restaurants across west London.

Tim Hughes

Chef director, Caprice Holdings A head chef by 24, Hughes has now held the overseeing role at Caprice Holdings since 2005.

David and Helen Everitt-Mattias Owners, Le Champignon Sauvage

After 32 successful years in business, the owners of Le Champignon Sauvage in Cheltenham have plenty of strength and fortitude. Their calm, dignified response to losing one of their two Michelin stars, as extending their “heartfelt thanks to customers, chefs, friends and industry colleagues for their loyal and continued support” confirms. Chef David and wife Helen, who runs front of house, have never missed a service – what an inspiration. -18-

Second-chapter stars

Harry Handelsman CEO, Manhattan Loft Corproration

German-born Handelsman is responsible for creating some of the most eye-catching hospitality projects in London, including the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel and Chiltern Firehouse, with US hotelier André Balazs. Handelsman’s latest project is The Stratford in east London, where he is, he says, introducing an experimental new way of hospitality.

Asma Khan

Chef patron, Darjeeling Express Voted ‘Female Entrepreneur of the Year’ at the Asian Restaurant Awards and the first British restaurateur on Netflix’s Chef’s Table, Khan is known for championing women in hospitality.

Robin Birley

Owner, 5 Hertford Street and Oswalds Birley has continued in the same vein as his father, Mark, now running two of the finest private members’ clubs in London.

Richard Caring

Owner, Caprice Holdings and Birely Clubs Starting out in the fashion industry, Caring moved into hospitality in 2005 when he purchased the Caprice Holdings and has rolled out the Ivy brand across Britain.

Photo credits: Jason Lowe; Wilde; Emli Bendixen -19-

Hall of Fam e Sir Terence Conran

Simon Hopkinson

Bruce Poole

Raymond Blanc OBE

Ruth Rogers MBE

Diego Masciaga

Marco Pierre White

Silvano Giraldin

Sir Rocco Forte

Gordon Ramsay OBE

Rick Stein CBE

Alastair Little

Pierre Koffmann

Albert and Michel Roux OBEs

Anton Mosimann OBE

Heston Blumenthal OBE

Nigel Haworth and Craig Bancroft

Brian Turner CBE Richard Shepherd

Stephen Terry

Shaun Hill

Sally Clarke MBE

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Peter Gordon


Buyers and cellars From ancient basements to custommade cupboards, the professionals show Lisa Markwell where and how they store their wine collections. Photographs by Katie Hammond

Noble Rot

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Mark Andrew and Dan Keeling, founders of Noble Rot, in their Lambs Conduit Street cellar

Mark Andrew: The man who ran this as a wine bar before we opened Noble Rot had most of the wine in the corridor near the kitchen… all warm and bright, not very well stored at all! The cellar itself is ideal storage, you can feel the temperature, it’s beautifully ambient. Dan Keeling: This building dates back to 1701 and it has been a grocer’s store in the past, so there would have been vegetables down here. There is one archway that’s all blocked off: we imagine it’s a plague pit… or maybe there are bodies down there from a gangland murder… MA: All the bottles have a number on them, and it’s based on our own geographically based system. That makes it easy – the runners don’t have to have any knowledge of what the wine is. They know that this is 07


(Germany), 04 (Provence), and so on. So we won’t have a Hawksmoor mistake… DK: If I was trapped in here I’d have a bottle of Roagna, a 1988 Barbaresco. I had a bottle the other day and it was the perfect synthesis of roses and cow shit! As only a really, really good old Nebbiolo can be. It’s quite hard to find old Italian wines with a bit of bottle age that aren’t oxidised or badly stored. I was expecting it not to be in amazing condition but it was just perfect. MA: The fact is that Dan and I love this part of what we do so much and are so engaged in it and spend so much time thinking about it and talking about it and actually doing it ourselves and actually drinking… It’s really a manifestation of all the things we love about this world of wine.


Sandia Chang, co-owner and sommelier of Bubbledogs and Kitchen Table, at the champagne storage wall in the Charlotte Street space


reason we did the recent renovation is because we wanted to highlight the champagne list more. Because our restaurant is focused on one drink it’s so nice that when most people come in, they know exactly what they’re coming for. You don’t have to convince them to try something, which makes my job a lot easier. But I still struggle to get some of the clientele to drink something they’re not familiar with. The City boys who come in want the Krug – and anything that’s less than £200 they think is shit. We do not sell Krug and Dom Perignon! At the moment I am totally a big fan of Marie-Courtin, a female producer, from the southern part of Champagne which is not very famous. She makes this particular one with no sulphur, which is very rare in champagne because it makes it very unstable. I describe it as tasting like Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal!

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Sandia Chang: When we first found the space, I had plans for a nice little cellar downstairs, a really cool little space – then when I saw the plans somehow James had taken over and there was a dry store down there! I was left with this wall between Bubbledogs and Kitchen Table, which actually looks great. We keep all the champagne here, plus a fridge at the bar. There’s nothing special about storing champagne, it’s the same as storing wine really. But obviously in any cellar you need to have some organisation. So over here it’s all the by the glass that we stock, on that side all by the bottles. I’m always on the lookout for new champagnes – it’s the fun part of my job. I might be with an old producer and they will say ‘Oh listen there’s a new young guy in town, making great champagne and you need to go taste’ – that’s usually how I find new things.The whole

The Guinea Grill

Issue 19 | Summer 2019 | codehospitality.co.uk

Head sommelier Vladimir Olaru and landlord Oisin Rogers in the basement cellar of the Bruton Place pub and restaurant

Vladimir Olaru: We have customers who have been coming to the Guinea Grill since before I was born, and they have particular things in mind so we have to have those bottles. Basically the wine here sells itself. Our cellar goes around geographically, starting with Portugal and Spain and finishes with California, nothing from Hawaii… yet! Oisin Rogers: We do have some unusual wines, and our biggest selling wine in pound notes is Lebanese. It’s a particularly good wine to go with steak, but we sell a huge amount of Bordeaux too. This has been a wine cellar a long time. The pub’s been here since 1423, it’s been the Guinea Grill since 1675 and this wine cellar was definitely in use before WWII, and we know that because some people who come go back to that period. We keep the temperature and the humidity consistent, it’s about 18 degrees down here and that’s what you want. We actually have some customers who keep their wine here too – there are a few bottles of nice bits -24-

and pieces belonging to them. All in all, there are 285 different bottles on at the moment, a very eclectic mix, although a connoisseur would say we are very old-school. VO: One of the regulars liked a particular vintage of a wine, we told him we had 18 bottles and straight away he bought 12, as sommelier I must make sure we have what the customers want. For me, I’d drink the Mouton Rothschild 1995 if I could. Is there any excess here? Trust me, I have seen things here, you would be amazed… There are people who come for lunch and have all these amazing different drinks, then realise it’s 7pm and think, oh we’re hungry, we’ll carry on. That’s normal for here – although no one has done all the way through from breakfast yet. OR: My favourite wine is always a dessert wine and I recommend finishing a meal with the 2006 Chateau d’Yquem and some blue cheese – although there’s a 1.75 litre bottle of 1980 Warre’s port over there…

St Leonards

Bert Blaize at the wine fridge and shelving at St Leonards restaurant in Shoreditch

make sure it’s really approachable. Because of our location we get a lot of City boys coming down and it’s good to have good Bordeaux references, for example. There’s so much joy to be had from the Bordeaux region and I don’t know why its uncool at the moment – there are enough natural wine bars in east London already! I work across the group’s three restaurants; luckily Brunswick House has an incredible cellar space and Jackson [Boxer] has been buying for years and years, so he’s got a great collection and he’s got access to great allocations as well. I’ve been playing around with the Coravin and opening up some old classics, but if I had to choose one bottle to drink, it would probably be either the Gravner Ribolla 2009, an orange wine - or could be really vain and have the wine I blended myself a couple of years ago …


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Bert Blaize: I inherited this open wine storage as I only joined the restaurant two months ago, but I love it, the way you can see every single label in the list. A lot of people like to pick wine by the label … it’s fine because it’s a well curated list so you can’t go wrong anyway! I love wine shops in Italy, the kind when you walk in and the wine list is the wall. You can see everything and it’s more of a connection between the wine and the food. My main task right now is spring-cleaning the list because there just hasn’t been anyone here full time looking after the wine … and I don’t think the list properly reflects the restaurant and what it’s about. St Leonards, as well as the bottles you can see, has kegs which allow us to pour some wonderful wines by the glass. When I got here it was like a list for sommeliers – Greek and weird grape varieties that no one had the confidence to say, so I have to

In conversation with... From the location of his restaurant to the title of his book, Sat Bains is clearly a chef of singular vision and determination – with good humour that dates back to his childhood (see right). For nearly 20 years he has been one of the most famous faces in hospitality. Lisa Markwell asks him about his life, work and rumoured book obsession Sat Bains has two Michelin stars at his eponymous restaurant in Nottingham. He runs the Restaurant Sat Bains with Rooms business with his wife Amanda and they are a formidable team: focused on delivering exemplary food and service. Bains has clear views on expansion, training chefs and the commitment required to stay at the top of the game. He was brought up in a Punjabi family and was required to work in the family shop before and after school. He says that when he learnt to cook, his mother “said I was turning gay, but my older sister said ‘let him do it’. So I did, and what I loved was it was so far removed from home life. I loved the discipline of the neck tie and polished shoes.” He got a job in a restaurant at 18

really well and know how a dish is going to be, and I can prepare it. But I am never going to be as good as say someone like Nathan at filleting fish, because he’s filleting thousands of them, I haven’t. I’m never going to be as good as someone doing butchery, because I haven’t been at a restaurant where they have had to do pig trotters. So my skill-set came from a free and open mind – that for me is the biggest bonus. But there is an element of me possibly feeling like an imposter. Like I’m not the best at fishmongery, so am I actually a two-star chef ? Well, I am a two-star chef with my food.” You’re very clear about what a young chef coming to work at Restaurant Sat Bains should expect…

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“Why would I expand? I’ve got a nice car, I’ve got three nice watches. Success comes from being content” and met the-then 16-year-old Amanda at a hotel in Derby. “My parents found out and kicked me out of our house, so I had two bin liners of clothes and my mum said, ‘I never want to see you again’.” Many teenagers might struggle without family help, but Bains sees it differently. “That’s the best thing that ever happened to me, because it meant I was independent from the family. I wasn’t tied into that whole arranged marriage, the cultural background of having to be a dutiful son, the only son carrying the name on. You know, there was a lot of pressure.” He continued his upward path in hospitality, becoming a head chef at 24 and adds, “It was seven or eight years later that I reconnected with my family.”

We have very talented people that come through our doors. The ones that have passed through, they’re hopefully going to be able to make it, because I teach them how to think, how to taste, how to cook a very specific way. I’m not going to say my way’s the right way, but I do nurture people into a very specific way that opens up doors. They not taught normally, they’re taught to think. ‘Why you doing that? Do you think it needs that? Do you think it needs more acidity? Why are we doing that? Does that go before that one? Do we need that?’ Where a lot of chefs just say that’s how a dish should be cooked; that’s my dish. But I’m saying, ‘What do you think?’ We make chefs who question – and it creates this whole new genre of chef, for me, a more thinking chef.

How do you feel your largely self-taught career has made you different from other chefs? I have never had any mentorship, so the creative side has outshone the acquisition of a skill set. I can think

Not saying you’ve peaked but are you ready to take it a little easier now, rather than keep searching for inspiration? I’ve travelled a lot and I’ve done that now; now I’m reversing it… I hate -26-

the idea of becoming a chef for 30 years and leaving the kitchen. That’s when you’re at your peak. You should be in the kitchen, because that’s what you’re passing onto your team. That’s what my guys are gleaning from, we’re working shoulder to shoulder. I’m not coming in every Wednesday and bollocking them all, saying ‘why’s that shit?’, or giving John a hard time over the phone, ‘cause someone’s complained on TripAdvisor. I’m here, Amanda’s here. We’re hands on. We’ve given ourselves a four-day week, and we work very hard for four days. That gives us the best possible chance to perform at the highest level. That’s the difference. So presumably that’s a reason why you haven’t expanded and opened more restaurants? If I had two or three restaurants, I couldn’t do this. I don’t know if it’s inspiring, but I think contentment comes later. In terms of aspiration, I’ve got a house I want to live in. I got a nice car, we can go wherever on holiday, so I’ve got no wants. I don’t think I will ever buy another watch, because I’ve got three. What do you want more for? It’s just ego. We all go through the stages and life’s ups and downs and crises and all that, but if you break all of that away, happiness is key. Success comes from being content and having a great team that I will inspire and who inspire me every day. We’ve had opportunities [to expand], but we haven’t taken them, because we only wanted one. Well, we wanted one other a year ago and we didn’t get it and we were glad, because I think if you put all your effort into one, you can hopefully achieve a very high level of success. If you then dilute by two you’re only going to care a certain percentage and that’s going to be 70%, but you’ve got to be happy with 70%. I’m not happy with 70%. I’m happy with 90 plus. So I’m giving myself the best chance to perform at 90+%. That’s from the heart. Let’s be honest. Why would you open five restaurants? I mean, fucking hell I haven’t got enough drive. I don’t know what it feels like. Also, if you want to taste the food you’ve got to come here. I’m not going to take a bastardised version of it to fucking Italy or Australia. It doesn’t make sense. You get on a flight and you come to Nottingham. Why not?



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We’ve talked about you not having children but you do say you’ve got 48… professionally! And we have a very, very strict hierarchy system. Amanda’s very disciplined with the guys, I’m very disciplined with the guys, but we’re very firm but fair. We give you the tools, we give you the environment, and we give you the food to eat that’s going to give you the nutrients you need to perform at very high levels. You’ve just got to turn up now. And perform. And if you don’t there’s an issue. We should get a subs bench, so if a guy’s fucking up, you sit him on the bench until he’s ready. That’s something we should do. Go there and sit.

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[Bains then tells a long and best unreported story about a recent diner who was rude and disrespectful]. Where do you stand on bloggers/influencers/ Michelin star collectors? They take photographs and comment on the food they’ve eaten and give themselves credibility… I’ve been cooking for 30 years and I’ve eaten all over the world. I still know fuck all. I know what I like, and yes I know from a technical point if something’s wrong, that’s cold, that’s not cooked right that’s still got a pin bone in, whatever it is, but I’m not going to start slagging it off. ‘Cause I’m from the kitchen. I’ve got friends who can’t wait to go to a restaurant to unleash terror. And I just don’t want to go out with them, if you’re not going to sit at a table and become ‘one’. I fell in love with cooking because as a Punjabi family we always used to eat together. So we enjoyed that communal eating, sharing chapatis. And that stuck with me. And I love that shit. And with these foodies that have become collectors, their voice is hollow. But you are on social media… Instagram for me is a way for me to put my ideas out there, and that works. And when I put a new dish out there, and people say, ‘Oh my god I’m there on Friday, is it on?’ It works as a tool. My feed is genuine – it’s mine, no one edits it, no one looks after it. I just feel that’s a really direct way to talk to people about certain things. It may or may not be true, but I read that you have 700-800 cookbooks. Yeah, easily 900. I’ve got loads here,

but some are in the lock-up. What’s interesting, and this really pisses me off, is that when I was a kid I couldn’t afford more than two a year. Now everyone gives them to me for free. That’s how that works! But I’m not reading them now ‘cause I didn’t buy them, ‘cause when you bought them you read them for a whole year and really protected them. I was like, ‘Shut the window, Amanda, the sun’s on it!’ It was the most beautiful thing you ever had, someone’s life in a book. Now it’s like ‘fuckin’ hell, I’ve got 28-30 books not read. Now the ones I do like, because of the staff meals, are the family ones – Marcus Wareing did a family one, so did Tom Kitchin. We give them to the boys and they do recipes from them. So we’re eating Marcus’s food.

Can you choose any of those 900 books that you use or revere the most? I’ve actually sous vided some of them. So there’s the Great Chefs of France, Michel Bra, and René’s first one. They’re vacuum-packed to protect them! I love the Repertoire de la Cuisine, that’s one of my favourites, Escoffier… I love French food, I love sauces. Sauce for me is a true skill. Do you spend time with other chefs? I never had a mentor and it’s because I have come from a different background, with a different mindset. I


never came from a legacy of chefs. I’ll be honest with you, I don’t really get along with other chefs. I get on with about a handful... I’m not a typical chefs’ chef. You know, I am really bad at communication. With chefs, friends, I never text them, I never talk to them, I never ring them. I’m very insular, but I’m very extrovert when it comes to food. For me it’s an expression of my artistic output. I use all my energy at the restaurant, but then I’m very private and personal away from here. I am very bad at keeping in touch. So when I’m with Claude [Bosi], who is a friend, we have to plot like two days in. Otherwise I won’t see him. It’s not because I don’t want to, I don’t know why, the reasoning. It’s ‘cause I’m probably happy just being. I’m not thinking ‘when am I going to see you again?’ or ‘shit I must speak to Jason[Atherton], or should I text him?’ And it’s not because I’m not thinking of him, it’s just a trait I’ve got and we talk about it a lot, but I don’t know why. If no one texts me, I would probably not text anyone again. That’s how extreme it is. It’s weird isn’t it? It’s not that I don’t care. It’s like if I text you out of the blue and you would be like ‘Fuckin’ hell Sat, how you doing?’ And we’d be back on… Do you think about the future? Ultimately, I think we would like to end up in Australia. To retire, but I would like to have a business out there, just like a small little café, nothing crazy. I’ve been there about 20 times and that’s where we feel the happiest, in Australia. We love Nottingham, we love this, but I think if you going to look at a life span I’d say we’ve got another 30 or 40 years hopefully, if we’re healthy. I like the idea of an ending, something just stopping and not carrying on, thinking ‘Oh my god, we got to keep on going’. What for? Who for?

It’s been three decades since we made a stand for flavour. Our little coffee cart introduced speciality espresso to New Zealand and changed the drinking habits of a nation. We quickly discovered the magic that happens when we come together and, today, our coffee is demanded by the best independent cafes around the world. Thank you for getting us here. We’re just getting started.

Issue 19 | Summer 2019 | codehospitality.co.uk

Celebrating 30 years of people, flavour & innovation

Each season, publisher Adam Hyman and editor Lisa Markwell make it their business to check out new restaurants and old favourites. These are the places that fuelled this edition of CODE Quarterly

Each season, publisher Adam Hyman and editor Lisa Markwell make it their business to check out new restaurants and old favourites. These are the places that fuelled this edition of CODE Quarterly

Getting creative

Issue 19 | Summer 2019 | codehospitality.co.uk

In this feature, we take a look behind the scenes and meet the individuals who shoot, style and illustrate the pages of this magazine. For this issue, we meet the photographer Joe Sarah, who has shot everything from books in a field to a chef on a motorbike for the magazine and here takes time with CODE’s creative director Alexander Taralezkhov to make pasta. Photographer Harriet Raper captures the action


better than a square plate; should things be plated on the left or on the right; how much does colour affect your appetite. Those really weird things that add those little one per cent differences… From an academic point of view, I was completely blown away and I had this newfound passion for food. AT: You shot the whole process for such a length of time. What did they end up using all the photography for? JS: This was the weird thing. I think I only shot finished Fat Duck dishes twice. What they wanted a very particular thing - they didn’t want photos of the dishes themselves, because they really wanted to control the environment where people first experience their dishes. Most of the stuff I was doing was behind the scenes, the process of creating the dishes, which in a way was even more interesting. We’ve all seen a picture of a plate of food, what goes on behind it is quite a special thing to know. AT: Were you doing your own representation at this point? Most photographers would have an agent… JS: Not right away. After the Fat Duck years, I was picking up my work on my own, and I did a couple of cookbooks but mostly commercial work. Eventually, I got a call from the company Fat Lemon, who I now have an excellent semi-agent relationship. They are a great bunch and being part of their team has been a massive confidence boost! AT: That’s probably your favourite aspect, isn’t it? JS: I know how to light because I’ve spent a lot of time sat next to him on the sofa watching cookery shows… listening to his critique and also working alongside him and seeing how things are done. More recently I’ve been getting into Crossmodalism, the collaboration between artist and scientist and how to best have those two groups of people collaborate. We did photographic series of the five tastes and their associated colours. For example, you think of savoury, it’s often associated with gold and browns... Saltiness is blue. Sweetness is reds or pinks. And purple is bitterness. I started to care about what the colour of the plate or the background that I was using was, that dictated my style of shooting. Even things like, where does a fork go on a plate? It has to go on the right, has to point to the right corner, because most people are right handed and associate the fork placed there with something that they can pick up. So it makes things more appetising… Little did I know these were things that marketing companies and giant brands have been doing it for decades. I just thought it was something really cool. And I still do. and I think it’s a shame that that knowledge is kept to the bigger brands. I think in a way as the photographer that’s something that you need to be able to bring in - it shouldn’t be exclusive -33-

to those who pay the most. AT: So what’s your current work like? JS: I admire (but don’t necessarily like) this very bright, plasticky harsh way of shooting which is popular now. I’ve just done a really fun project with an art director called Claire Middleton, making and shooting fast foods made out of cleaning products. We got some kitchen sponges and red hosepipe to make a hotdog and used toothpaste to make mayonnaise… stuff like that. Was meant to be a bit of a piss-take on clean eating. You get the gist. There’s a humour in it that is sometimes lacking in food photography. There’s one more project that I’m not supposed to discuss but it’s with the UN… so you’ll see it soon... AT: Is there something you’d like to do in the future? JS: If anyone reading this wants to do a campaign on food education, food ethics, and how we eat, I would love to be a part of it. I’m in!

Joe’s favourite food books: Flavour Thesaurus: I love this book SO much, it’s the best cookbook ever made. It teaches you to think not in a prescriptive way. And cooking shouldn’t ever be prescriptive. Like the pasta that we had today: you didn’t use scales, you don’t need to. You can just go by touch and sense. The Virtues of the Table, by Julian Baggini is genius. He’s a philosopher and what’s clever about the book is that he uses certain recipes to talk about different things. He might be talking about fasting, for example, and you’ll have recipes for fasting, but the chapter on fasting will be talking about the culture and history of it and the health benefits, the dangers, the misconception etc. It would be very unbiased look and not just COOK ME content. I thought that was really amazing. And the other one that is in a way similar… Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, which is about a young woman only able to express herself when she cooks.

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AT: So tell me, how did you get into photography in first place? I know it’s been a bit of a journey. JS: My dad used to do lighting for cookery shows when I was about 16, I was helping him out on the Sophie Dahl cookery show. In fact I got my GCSC results whilst on a shoot. There are two people really of note I met during shoots for Fresh One [Jamie Oliver’s production company] shows – one was, Issy Davis, the production manager, and the other was Ginny Rolfe, head of the food styling department. Later I got asked to be a runner there. AT: But you weren’t very good at it, is that right? JS: I wanted to be a food stylist, but it was really unfortunate that I got badly injured by a kick in the head which shook me up. The whole Jamie team were really kind and supportive and I ended up learning from one of them, Santos, how to prep food and so on, which was great, but the turning point was when on a shoot they needed someone to photograph ‘pick up’ shots of dishes and I just did it. AT: And the rest is history… JS: I loved it. I was taking food photos even before I realised I wanted to take food photos. The big moment was having done that for a year or something, Sarah Tildesley, art director for the company, wanted to bring in an in-house photographer to shoot all the recipes online. I was there for a year and there’s no better way to learn food photography than in the Jamie Oliver empire. They are brilliant. They understand how to do the massive quantity of work that you need to do but they do it so brilliantly well. AT: You were lucky to have that help and kindness. JS: Yes, but in the end, though, I went freelance. Then Emma Palmer Watts stepped in. She used to be production manager at Jamie’s and her husband is Ashley Palmer Watts, head chef at Dinner By Heston Blumenthal and Heston’s right hand man. She knew they were looking for a photographer – to do something very similar to what I was at Jamie’s – and she arranged for me to have an interview with them. It was probably the first ever proper interview I’ve ever had. It was horrendous and scary! I was terrified because at the time this was THE FAT DUCK – the best restaurant in the world. And amazingly they decided to go with me. I ended up spending a few days every month for almost two years photographing the process that went behind making some of the best food in the world. That was actually a massive turning point for me, because I began to realise there’s a whole another side of food. When you learn about food through Jamie is very rustic home cooking - this was pretty much the opposite of that. I completely fell in love with it. They research the psychology behind eating, why a round plate is

Issue 19 | Summer 2019 | codehospitality.co.uk

Memories to dine out on

Sections of London go through all manner of changes. Some, once tatty, become gentrified. Others which bustled become quiet. One area which has seen enormous adjustments in its restaurants is Mayfair and no one is better placed to look back – and forward – than Bellamy’s own Gavin Rankin(pictured right)


coveting the beautiful but pricey ties and linen shirts he sold, I once asked him why he never had a sale. ‘But I do’, he replied in offended tones, ‘we’ve got one tomorrow. It starts at 4am and lasts half an hour’. Most of us in the industry will know that well-run kitchens are not filled with chefs foaming at the mouth and chewing the saucepans. That makes for good television but is far from reality. Starting off as a caviar salesman in the 1980s I was able to see numerous kitchens up close, often shortly before exiting with the chef ’s boot-print on the seat of my trousers. Michel Bourdin(far left), head chef of the Connaught, and a man of unfailing courtesy and charm, ran a huge brigade which would perform the lunch or dinner service in near silence. The only voice you heard was his, apart from murmurs of assent from the various chefs to whom he communicated his wishes.

It was recently suggested that Bellamy’s could be the last patrondriven, independent restaurant in the area. I am not sure if this is true, but I am proud that at least 80 per cent of our customers are regulars (dining more than once a week) and that we welcome new faces every day. It is this gratifying loyalty that has enabled us to thrive amongst the big battalions. Perhaps this is because we can offer a menu that makes sense to both unmoneyed youth and cautiously comfortable others. The young are crucial to success. Tomorrow’s heavy hitters, they are discerning customers with long memories, constantly alert to hints of condescension or inferior treatment, who restaurateurs disregard at their peril. They do not need a supercilious head waiter serving up humiliation; nor deaf waiters overpouring the wine; nor bossy girls with clipboards and ‘3mm smiles of manufactured

with comfortable sofas in which, on any given afternoon, you might find the likes of Roger Moore, Terence Stamp, Terry O’Neill, Herbert Kretzmer and a host of other notables. All of this was presided over by Doug in a wing-back armchair, while the lovely manageress Audie did all the work. The predominant sound was that of laughter. Doug and I dined together occasionally and I remember walking into the cocktail bar of a restaurant to find him seated there saying : ‘Here Gav, have one of these. They make you see double and think you’re single.’ He had a reputation for extreme prudence with money and,

Michel was, perhaps, one of the last inheritors of the mantle of Antoine Careme and was famous for dishes of great beauty and complexity. I asked him once what the most difficult dish was that he had to prepare. Thinking he was going to say a goose stuffed with a duck stuffed with a pigeon stuffed with something else, en gelée, he replied ‘a three-minute boiled egg’. Seeing my amazement he said, ‘Think about it. I have to cook the egg, pass it to a commis waiter, who then has to pass it to a station waiter, who then has to deliver it to the table as a threeminute egg - not as a three-minute egg plus travelling time.’

joy’; nor derisory snorts when they try to book on a busy night. In short, they should be welcomed, not processed, irrespective of the size of their budget - which, however modest, should find something to suit in the menu. It will all come back one day. People tend to assume that restaurateurs are possessed of phenomenal powers of recall, particularly when confronted with a face from the distant past – say last week. Well many of us aren’t, and I have the additional handicap of being bad at both faces and names, making do instead with a weak smile. Luigi, our manager, is way better, although he can, on occasion, put a name


Issue 19 | Summer 2019 | codehospitality.co.uk

Times change. As always Mayfair, that wonderful, merry, elegant, risqué, old dowager, has hitched up her skirts and begun to dance a jig of welcome to summer. Despite the unchic clothes she is sometimes made to wear by the developers, she never quite loses her enchantment. It is sad, though, that we now have so many hugely expensive restaurants and lethally priced shops. The feel of a village has faded and places like Mount Street have become a sort of gated shopping community for the hyper rich, where a handbag costs the same as a smart week in Paris. Gone is the friendly chemist and the butcher. The printers and the cigar shop seem the only remnants of a time when it was a busy, humming street full of variety and charm. My old friend Doug Hayward(below), ‘the tailor of taste’, had his shop there. Actually, it was more of a salon than a tailor’s, filled

through the linguistic mangle which leaves customer and me mystified. Still, I find that darling works with many of the ladies (and some of the men) but otherwise resort to Sir or Madam which seems to do the trick. Wisely, Luigi calls everybody Milord or Milady, which ensures that he surfs a continuing wave of popularity. Luigi is a distinctive and colourful character. I came upon him recently trying to telephone for someone to come and fix something or other. He was confronted with the usual automated voice, inviting him to punch in a series of buttons in the promise of eventually being connected to a real person. The delay became unbearable for his sometimes tempestuous Sicilian nature and finally he broke, as I knew he would. ‘I don’t want to talk to a machine’, he shouted into the receiver. ‘I want to talk to somebody about life and love’. I do hope that was being recorded for training purposes. Occasionally I am asked which restaurants I like to visit as though I am an expert. I am not. Tavern keepers have fewer opportunities than most to dine out, so when they do it is an occasion and it as well to go to those places where they are genuinely welcome. I tend to favour restaurants owned by friends, like the great Jeremy King, and to avoid the achingly trendy with a six-week waiting list. The food does not have to be Michelin starred, with all the frigid hauteur that can involve, but rather places of merriment and friendliness. Tablecloths and round plates are always nice. Not nice are drinks

ordered but undelivered, endless waits for menus, ingredients you have never heard of and wine lists dreamed up by a favoured wine merchant with a bit of a wonky backlog. I recently lunched with two National Treasures – both chefs – and was amused to see that their pointed bantering was every bit as spiky as might be expected from either the acting or the legal profession. Present were Rowley Leigh and Simon Hopkinson, both Titans of the Kitchen. ‘So,’ said Rowley to Simon, what are you up to?’ ‘Well,’ replied Simon, ‘I was thinking of writing another recipe book’. ‘Really darling, and what will you call this one - Fifty Shades of Gravy?’ Tavern keepers, for obvious reasons, find it expedient to be politically neutral. But, a simple truth remains: without immigrants there would be no restaurants. Waiting at table, regarded as an honourable calling throughout Europe (with the possible exception of Spain) is somehow considered infra dig here. In 15 years, practically no Brits have ever offered us their services, which is sad, because at their best they used to be without equal. Instead, smartly dressed, clean shaven applicants turn up here from the Eurostar, complete with carefully translated CVs, and it goes from there. Our record was 12 different nationalities at the same time, all co-existing in harmony and mutual respect, and I am delighted to say that a number of the originals still remain. Would that the world could be the same. Speaking of staff, Larry Adler,

the wise-cracking harmonica player, used to tell a story about Bloom’s restaurant in the East End. Sitting at the bar one day eating a salt beef sandwich he said to the barman: ‘Do you know, I came in here 40 years ago with Cole Porter?’ to which the barman replied: ‘I’m serving as fast as I can!’ It was rumoured that old man Bloom never troubled himself with matters of PAYE, pensions and other associated staff costs. This was because all the staff were selfemployed. It is said that he used to sell them each dish, which they then re-sold to the customer for whatever they could get. I wonder whether…? Perhaps not. Bellamy’s, in a way, belongs as much to its customers as to its owners. And it must do if it is to remain a slightly eccentric beacon of charm and civilisation amidst the gloom cast by formulaic chains, with their insistence on the table booked at 7pm being given back by 8.30pm. My old boss Mark Birley, from the outset, told his staff that he was not looking for servility but good service, willingly given. That is a thought that should be at the heart of every restaurant wanting to go the distance.

Issue 19 | Summer 2019 | codehospitality.co.uk

“The food does not have to be Michelin starred, with all the frigid hauteur that can involve, but rather places of merriment and friendliness”


Q&A - Adam Byatt in collaboration with CODE Hospitality

Sum up your current work life in one sentence Busy, about to get busier but balanced and very rewarding. Tell us about your involvement with the S.Pellegrino Young Chef competition I’m honoured to be a chef judge and mentor in this year’s SP Young Chef competition. My role is to work with Monica Galetti to guide and advise the young competitors to deliver the best dish they can going forward onto an international stage.

A dish that is first and foremost delicious, balanced and harmonious and that represents the candidate and the UK in an intelligent way. There must be craft, technique and understanding oozing from the dish.

Tell us about your sustainability focus at Trinity As Trinity has grown and our profile has increased, I have always felt we have a responsibility to lead from the front and take sustainability seriously. Amongst the many things we do, we compost 100% of our food waste for vegetable production. We don’t accept any deliveries in polystyrene or plastic packaging, and we cook hyper seasonally which is an unrecognised benefit. Naturally, we also recycle and have moved to nonplastic straws.

What piece of advice would you give to the young chefs entering the competition? Play to your strengths by using the abundance of incredible UK ingredients on offer, taste and taste again and above all – humility and respect for your craft will get you a long way. Why’s it important to you to be part of global industry initiatives such as these? As the UK has the most dynamic and diverse food scene in the world right now, I feel it is important that we represent that internationally.

Why would you encourage young chefs to enter global competitions such as the S.Pellegrino Young Chef competition? There are many great young chefs out there grinding out services across

“Play to your strengths, taste and taste again and above all have humility and respect for your craft“ -37-

Issue 19 | Summer 2019 | codehospitality.co.uk

What will you be looking for in the winning dish at the competition?

the country, but to be recognised by your peers and the legendary panel of judges in Milan you need to put yourself above the parapet to get noticed and accelerate your career – The S.Pellegrino Young Chef Competition is a great opportunity to do that. It is also very healthy to pitch yourself against likeminded cooks to gain an understanding of how far you have come.

Outstanding in their field

Issue 19 | Summer 2019 | codehospitality.co.uk

Whether it’s a vast, lavish feast for 400 or an intimate chefs masterclass, festivals offer more for the food fan than ever before. Chloë Hamilton talks to the experts and highlights ones to book Out of the kitchen and into the fields we go. The festival season juggernaut is full steam ahead and in 2019 the line-up across the country has never been so resplendent with interesting events, appearances and collaborations. And that’s just the food, a one-time afterthought at a festival to line stomachs or fuel a demanding schedule of music, art and culture. This year you can catch Jackson Boxer at Lost Village, bump into Fergus Henderson at Abergavenny, see Claude Bosi at Pub in the Park or Elizabeth Haigh at Taste. And that’s just for starters. “Chefs are the new rock stars,” says Kate McKenzie, programmer-inchief of the sizable food operation at Wilderness festival. She takes over this year from Clare Isaacs, who spent a decade growing the summer threedayer to its current cult status. “People buy a ticket for the food as much as the music. And they don’t want to compromise on the experience they have. They want to be able to say ‘did you go to that lunch?’ and know that it’s not something you can get again and again. It says a lot about how chefs and restaurants are seen now.” Wilderness has had a highly respected culinary programme for years now, but as other festivals gain ground, bringing their own feasts and pop-up restaurants to life, McKenzie is keen to ensure the offering is as fresh and interesting as ever. For the Chef ’s Table line up, she’s drawn in some of the most talked about chefs and restaurateurs of the past 12 months - Nieves Barragán, Dan Smith, Neil Borthwick, Tom Brown – and for the banqueting tent there’s James Knappett, Tom Aikens,

and Yossi Elad, who is coming out of his recent retirement to re-join the Palomar team in the field. With this sort of draw, Groove Armada and Bombay Bicycle Club are sort of bythe-by. More than a quarter of revellers are expected to take part in some kind of food event at Wilderness

this year, whether it’s a wine-pairing session with Ruth Spivey, lunch at Petersham Nurseries’ field kitchen or Club Mexicana’s ‘80s themed night. It’s the 400-seater banquet, taking up a sizeable footprint of Cornbury Park, that’s most in demand - and also the most demanding from an operational perspective. Whilst Tom Aiken’s Sunday feast is the closest to ‘fine dining’ to have graced the bill, James Knappett’s transition from his 20-seater Fitzrovia restaurant to two -38-

400-seat banquets in one day, requires something of a step change. “It’s my job to get across what’s feasible in terms of kit, or how things are served, number of staff, how many plates we’ll need,” says McKenzie, who’s backed up by a vast, hugely experienced fieldkitchen team. “But a lot of the chefs have experienced the banquets firsthand, which makes the whole process easier.” There’s obviously something beguiling about Wilderness, in that it has dug its heels in with the industry and keeps a strong crowd coming back year after year. Damian Clisby is known to enjoy three days of kicking off his Birkenstocks and wandering the festival barefoot, whilst Angela Hartnett cites Wilderness as one of the times where she most enjoys the camaraderie of her Cafe Murano team. Chefs find themselves shoulder to shoulder in a crowd watching the same band, and there are hundreds of other stories - best not set down in print - to have emerged from a weekend at Wilderness. “It’s like a bonding session,” says McKenzie. “It’s great to get teams out of the restaurant and their kitchen and let their hair down.” Another opportunity for hospitality to escape the daily grind has opened up in the form of PX+, an offbeat addition to the festival circuit in that it is exclusively for the hospitality industry. The idea was borne directly out of Dan Barber’s WastED pop up at Selfridges in spring 2017 when Katie Bone, a mover and shaker in hospitality marketing and communication, took stock of the collaboration and positivity that sprung from the event. With 13 counterparts, all in full-time hospitality roles, the idea of an industry festival began to take form.

It was a full year in the making and in August 2018, 1,500 people gathered at Duchess Farm in Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire, with little idea of what was about to take place. Though Katie Bone had kept a strong hold on communicating the “no ego, no bullshit” ethos of the festival (no one else is allowed to run the social handles) an inaugural festival is a big step into the unknown. “We were worried about how it would be received and if people would understand what we were doing,” says Bone, “but the atmosphere was spot on all the way through the weekend. People were open and willing and left their preconceptions at the door.” The team were blown away by the response. Though one question that kept cropping up was ‘why hadn’t this been done before?’ In an industry where everyone is focused on keeping afloat in the face of intense market pressures, and hotels are operating 24/7, it’s very difficult to stand back and take stock. But it makes the space PX+ has created even more valuable. A key part of the festival, which this year will move from barn to a central spot on the farm, is the Let’s Talk About It stage with panel discussions about the hospitality industry’s biggest issues. “The new location will make it central to this year’s festival, and more inclusive,” says Bone. “There will be a much broader range of panelists – and not just the same voices that you hear over and over.” This is a significant point of difference to the roster of other industry-frequented festivals. Whilst most programmers use big names to bolster their credentials,

PX+ puts everyone on a level, including the many familiar faces in attendance. There’s also a great deal of international involvement. Last year Isabelle Kelly curated The Bakery which brought together a global food chain including Graison Gill from Bellgarde Bakery in New Orleans, Fintan Keenan, a grain breeder and farmer from Denmark, Irish chef and baker Louise Bannon and Bali-based pastry chef Will Goldfarb (many of whom are returning in 2019). By baking together and having a global conversation, they were bridging the gap that has existed between farmers, millers, bakers and chefs. This type of collaboration makes the whole operation worthwhile. “One of the best things to come out of it was the number of people who ended up working together,” says Bone. This year the festival is going to stretch to 2,500 people, with day tickets now available, allowing industry with all kinds of schedules to get involved. “We’re not going to fix everything over one weekend in August but we can plant the seed,” says Bone. “And when you’re trying to decide which toilets to choose, it’s good to remind yourself of the bigger things at stake.”

PUB IN THE PARK A relative newcomer. This touring festival from Tom Kerridge has branched out from its Marlow roots and this year is running over eight weekends from Bath to Leeds.. Various locations and dates __ TASTE OF LONDON One of the biggest events in the food calendar, which this year welcomes ‘Restaurant of the Year’, Wolfgat, who will be temporarily closing to fly the team over from South Africa for the festival. London 19-23 June 2019 ___ BLACK DEER FESTIVAL A weekend of all things Americana, including an ode to low and slow barbecue and an arena dedicated to the theatrics of live fire cooking. Kent 21-23 June 2019 ___ WILDERNESS Oxfordshire 1-4 August 2019 ___ PX+ Hertfordshire 17-19 August 2019 ___ BIG FEASTIVAL A family-friendly affair at Alex James’ farm in Chipping Norton. Starring Raymond Blanc, Prue Leith and Helen Goh, among others. Cotswolds 24-26 August 2019 ___ MEATOPIA Brought to the UK by Richard H Turner, this carnivorous carnival at Tobacco Dock always draws a strong industry crowd. London 30 August - 1 September 2019 ___ FOOD ROCKS In his home town Mark Hix plays host to a celebration of the best produce the south west has to offer. Oxfordshire 7-8 September 2019 ___ GOOD LIFE EXPERIENCE Curated by Cerys Matthews, this festival is about seeking pleasure from the simpler things in life, including campfire cooking. Also billed as Britain’s most dog-friendly festival.

ABERGAVENNY FOOD FESTIVAL A long-standing food celebration with serious credentials and its own fringe festival. Expect to find everyone from Shelia Dillon to Asma Khan to Diana Henry milling around. Monmouthshire 21-22 September 2019 ___


Issue 19 | Summer 2019 | codehospitality.co.uk

Flintshire 12-16 September 2019 ___

Why Bibendum is championing ‘mindful winemaking’ Bibendum has been busy spreading the word about ‘mindful winemaking’. Sophia Godyn explains what it means and introduces us to three winemakers who are leading the way

in collaboration with CODE Hospitality Because great wine is made in the vineyard The term ‘mindful winemaking’ encompasses sustainable, organic and biodynamic winemaking practices, but it’s more than just a series of labels and certifications. It sums up a belief that great wines are made in the vineyard, from healthy soil, free from chemicals. Because we care about the sustainability of our industry and supporting those who work in it Mindful winemaking gives back as much as it takes out. The mindful winemaker respects their land, people, animals, and the environment. They are committed to leaving the land in a healthier state for future generations. Because consumers want to drink them While consumers are drinking less in terms of volume, they are drinking ‘better’ in terms of value, with Wine Intelligence reporting an ‘adventurous attitude and strong interest in wine’, particularly among younger drinkers. Organic wine consumption has exploded in the last few years surging 70% between 2012 and 2017. And with market share set to double from 2019 to 2022, this trend shows no signs of slowing down. The ‘clean eating’ movement has made people increasingly conscious about the quality of what they consume, and the threat of climate change has sparked a growing interest in the environmental impact of how it’s produced. Add to this the desire for authenticity, craft and a good story, and these wines tick every box.


Meet Bibendum’s mindful winemakers Alois Lageder, Bodegas Bhilar, Albourne Estate, Meet Bibendum’s mindful mindful winemakers winemakers Alto Meet Adige, Italy Bibendum’s Rioja, Spain Sussex, England

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vineyard,” he says.

Issue 19 | Summer 2019 | codehospitality.co.uk

Clockwise from left: Alois Lageder, Bodegas Bhilar, Albourne Estate

She has adopted four orphaned lambs to help out!

Clockwise from left: Alois Lageder, Bodegas Bhilar, Albourne Estate

Clockwise fromClockwise left: Aloisfrom Lageder, left: Alois Bodegas Lageder, Bhilar, Bodegas Albourne Bhilar, Estate Albourne E To sign up to our Mindful Winemaking training, a one-day course to help customers learn more To about sign up to our Mindful Winemaking training, sustainable winemaking processes, head to abibendum-wine.co.uk/training-hub/mindful-winemaking one-day course to help customers learn more

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It’s good to talk… Whether it’s to find support with mental-health issues, share intel on gender inequality or simply hang out with like-minded people, networks are vital in hospitality, says Victoria Stewart

The retro concept of networking – having to rush around events attempting to extend your contacts list – is enough to bring even the most sociable person out in a cold sweat. A network, however, is defined as ‘a usually informally interconnected group or association of persons (such as friends or professional colleagues)’. If you work in hospitality, you are already part of a communal atmosphere of sorts. But whether you’re a long-timer or a newcomer to the trade, it can be hard finding people outside your day job to talk to and learn from about your work, any struggles you may have, or the burning ideas you want to collaborate on. Yet because of the diversity of jobs

these issues are being spoken about more freely now, and the proliferation of networks and support groups will hopefully go some way to eradicating them.” Indeed, today, thanks in part to their visibility on social media, it is possible to find something for the varying needs of everyone working in hospitality. If you’re interested in approachable training sessions, discussions or events aimed at women, look no further than Ladies of Restaurants, Women in Food Network, Les Dames London, the global Parabere Forum, or, for ideas around sustainability, the magazine AMP (@AMeetingPlace) on Instagram. If you need support or are

So what can someone gain from being part of networks like these? Deborah Shane from career coaching website, Work It Daily, defines five benefits as: content resources (sharing information, How Tos and content), personal support (to reduce isolation, and support each other), help (ideas, referrals, advice), a sense of belonging (feeling of being part of a community), and personal empowerment (giving and receiving it). Cook Dominique Woolf recently discovered these, on a local level, through using Facebook to start a network called Crouch End Food People. After training in food, she realised she knew no-one in the industry, but through hosting small

Issue 19 | Summer 2019 | codehospitality.co.uk

“In hospitality, the hours are unsociable and the jobs are tough, so more than most other industries there is a need to connect with others facing the same challenges” and experiences, it is vital that there are places for everyone to connect, learn, and share stories – without feeling intimidated. “In the hospitality industry, the hours are unsociable and the job can be tough, so more than most other industries there is a need to connect with others facing the same challenges,” says Xavier Rousset, co-founder of Trade, the Mayfair members’ club for hospitality professionals to socialise, connect and share ideas. Rousset’s co-founder, Gearoid Devaney, believes that “the nature of the business also leads to issues that don’t occur in other professions”, but that talking about them will go some way to “making our industry more progressive and its workforce happier.” He thinks it’s “fantastic that

interested in participating in conversations around mental health and wellness, Pilot Light campaign, Healthy Hospo and PX+ Festival are brilliant resources. In the coming months, I will be launching a new platform called Hospitality Speaks with a small team. It has a dual purpose: one, to provide employees with a safe space to share and hear anonymous stories of bullying, sexual harassment or discrimination, with a view to signposting some of the issues, and providing a list of places for support. Two, to show examples of hospitality employers doing their best to make their bars and restaurants safe, supportive and fun places to work, with a view to allowing other decision makers to take ideas and make changes. -42-

meet-ups for people from “all areas of food… I and others have made connections, got work through it, and have collaborations in the pipeline,” she says. Schedule some We Time and sign up to one of the following networks.


Pilot Light Passionate about the need to combat the stigma associated with depression, mental health and addiction within hospitality, chefs Andrew Clarke and Doug Sanham have just launched a much-anticipated campaign. With the tagline, ‘burn the silence, ignite the conversation,’ their aim is to encourage people to take action for themselves and within their workplaces, and to find support. Their promotional work will include a panel discussion at Taste of London, as well as other events throughout 2019. Anyone interested in being part of the Pilot Light network, learning about how to access supporting services, and how to work alongside the campaign to further the discussion about mental health across the industry, is encouraged to sign up online.


WiFi (Women in Food Industry) A new network set up in January by friends and food marketing whizzes, Mecca Ibrahim and Janie Ash. The pair want to promote the visibility of women within all parts of the food industry, from cooking and photography to writing and gardening, whilst also enabling people to connect, talk and hear from other’s experiences. Having hosted a week’s worth of events – including information on how to get a job in the food industry – in the lead-up to International Women’s Day, they are currently focused on connecting people through their 2,000-strong social media following, developing a tiered membership model, and starting a series of monthly discussions around the UK. Supporters include Great British Bake Off winner Candice Brown, and chefs Frances Atkins, Chantelle Nicholson, Anna Hansen, Asma Khan, and Cyrus Todiwala.


PX+ Listens 1,500 industry folk attended this new annual festival at Duchess Farm last year, where producers, chefs, bartenders and hoteliers turned up to eat, drink, dance, hear talks, attend masterclasses and ask questions. This summer’s event in August will focus on how people from different parts of the industry can learn and collaborate with each other, and will be based around eight panel talks, as well as a wide selection of workshops. For isntance, these will look at wellness within the industry. PX+ has also just started a telephone support service, PX+ Listens, offering an initial port of call for people needing to discuss what’s on their mind. More information is available on the website.



Healthy Hospo An initiative launched last year by bartender Tim Etherington-Judge to ‘promote happier, healthy hospitality,’ by getting people to take better care of themselves and their mental and physical health. Through a series of specialised events and training sessions hosted in collaboration with brands and hospitality businesses, this year they will deliver a cycling engagement programme for bar staff, host morning yoga classes, run a seminar on bartender health and wellness at Rock the Farm hospitality festival, and deliver a new platform offering both health and wellness training for bar industry professionals across the UK. Having spread to the USA, Healthy Hospo is heading to Australia and New Zealand soon.


L.O.R (Ladies of Restaurants) Like a club or forum, this UK initiative promotes and supports women who work in the hospitality industry through panel talks, training sessions, dinner parties and kneesups all around the country, all with a view to improve culture around the industry they are proud of. Specialist sessions cover areas including wine training, to advice around being a working parent in the industry, recruiting a good team, and excelling in a job interview. In June the group launches a new storytelling event, allowing the community to hear and share experiences in order to support each other, and it will also be curating a week’s worth of talks at the VIP tents during Taste of London festival. In July, there will be two events themed around property and landlords.

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Counter Talk A growing network of hospitality people gathered by pastry chef, Ravneet Gill, who is keen to allow people to make contact, share ideas and discuss issues via ticketed events, film screenings, and supper clubs. Gill’s last themed event was based around pasta, and on 30 June she is laying on a line-up of ice cream producers - including Happy Endings, La Grotta Ices, Poco Gelato, Blaq Milk, and Nonna’s Gelato – for guests to meet. Monthly panel and Q&A sessions are coming soon, aimed at owners, chefs, front of house, restaurateurs, and other industry people, and upcoming topics include: imposter syndrome, staff retention, dealing with confrontation, knowing your rights, diversifying your career in food, and opening a restaurant.


Tools of the trade

Issue 19 | Summer 2019 | codehospitality.co.uk

In this regular feature, we take a closer look at the workspace of people who inspire us. Here Tomos Parry of BRAT tells us about the kit behind his distinctive menu. Photographs by Katie Hammond


BRAT is all about the equipment we use. If we didn’t have it, we couldn’t make the dish and I wanted that to be the case. The kitchens where I’ve worked previously, there are recipes that you could use three different types of blender for, the kit was very general. Whereas if I didn’t have that cage, those bowls, I really couldn’t make this food. The restaurant is inspired by the Basque country and going there and seeing what they use, I thought initially ‘Oh we can find our own versions of these’ – because that’s generally what I’ve been trained to do. I’d think ‘Why is that old man doing it like that? He’s obviously a dinosaur’. Well, not quite that extreme, but it’s strange – modern chefs, and I include myself, often think there is a cheffier way. When chefs start working here it’s challenging, it can stress them out because the cooking is so instinctive – but I like that. For instance with the oven, the weather changes it, the humidity, the wind affects the draw of the fire. I am sure it’s stressful and it’s the same with the techniques. A chef said to me ‘Can I just make the pil-pil sauce in advance and then just blitz it’ and I thought ‘Ah you don’t get this, do you?’ I made the same mistake when I was at the River Café, asking why we didn’t just grind a load of black pepper in advance rather than do it each time in a pestle and mortar. It tastes better – and I guess there is a principle to it too. There isn’t a shortcut and I like the idea that they take a lot longer to make this food, because the chef connects with what they’re cooking.

length… It’s so specific – if you’d told me this before I would have said ‘rubbish’ but you’ve got to have the right amount of gap to allow the roasting to get through – you don’t want to clamp the fish. I must say that Tom Bray is a really helpful and patient man and we got it right in the end. Technically they last for ever, none have broken yet… and we don’t wash them, they self-clean.

To create the pil-pil sauce you need the throats to slowly cook and release their gelatine using ambient heat. We heat the dishes on the flat surface with the sauce, take them off and just swirl them. I’m sure you could find a modern way to do it, like sous vide or something, but I don’t think it would work as well as hands-on. There’s a reason they do it this way at Elkano; you’re in touch, you can feel it.

Terracotta bowls The reason why we use them is because when Elkano [the San Sebastian restaurant that’s a big influence on BRAT] came over to do the collaboration they brought loads – the thickness here is perfect, it lets heat in and holds it residually. It’s kind of obvious, but then it’s funny, if you use a crap one you really notice the difference. Luke sourced these from Garcia on Portobello Road. We use them to do the kokotxas [hake throats] – which we’ve only been doing since the Elkano night, we didn’t have the confidence before. I think we’re the only people that have them because we managed to get this fisherman in Cornwall

Cheesecake tins When you look at the cooked cheesecakes lined up, it seems really simple but it’s the tiniest things that make them work. They are cooked in cast iron dishes and it has to be exactly the right thickness and the right depth so they can cook slowly in the beginning and then souffle up pretty high; then they sink. Then we put them in the woodfired oven and they burn and go quite dark; that’s the effect I want and the cast iron helps because if it was thinner they wouldn’t cook correctly. Making these is a skill – when the guys first start, they mess up because it’s such a weird technique – and it doesn’t help that the wood oven is a different temperature every day. This pan helps but there’s been a very expensive amount of trial and error! Grilling cages These square cages are from Chinatown. Basic and cheap, they cost about a quid and only last about a week, so we replace them all the time! We use them for small fish, the throats, peas… With grilling, the simpler the better.

The grill The main feature of BRAT is the grill. We built it here on site and it’s so heavy, solid. Although it’s based on a traditional Basque style, the design is by Rhys Allen, who is a sculptor first and foremost, Ben Chapman introduced us. He hadn’t worked to restaurant deadlines so he had a lot of patience with us, and I kept changing everything. I learnt from him as well. There have been some faults but we’ve worked it out and I love that it has an energy about it. You can tell he’s an artist – there are wonderful little details on it. So, he has started making grills full time now! We designed it so we have four pits, like those Japanese Kamado pits – they give out a glow instead of a heat. And on the open-fire side, we don’t want to grill fish, we want to roast it so it develops the gelatine and slow cooks. For me, that method is much more interesting.

who gets them for us from other fishermen who would throw them out. We are so lucky he does that for us, because it’s a time-consuming process, but they are delicious – eat them whole like an oyster, press them to the top of your mouth and they dissolve, the Elkano method! This heat is quite aggressive and volatile on our stove so it’s essential you have a good terracotta bowl for that to conduct the heat correctly and then hold it at room temperature.


Swedish dishes If you can afford to get these for your house, do – they’re amazing, so cool, really heavy and they last for ever. They come from a company from Sweden called Skeppshult and Niklas Ekstedt brought one over from Sweden for me to play with, because he loves them and works with them. We have to use robust pans with fire, obviously, but often they don’t look pretty and they don’t look perfect. These ones are for industrial/professional use and we use them in the oven for all sorts of dishes.

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Turbot cages These are obviously from the Basque country! Well, we have an original one from the Basque country on a display shelf. I thought it would be easy just to make them. How hard can a turbot cage be, right? I would have got them off the shelf, but the right cage didn’t exist. I had this guy called Tom Bray who’s based in Dorchester make them and he was very patient. I can’t tell you how many duds we made because of my rubbish drawings – I’ve got so many photos on my phone of the rejects. The gap was too small, too big, too much tension, wrong

Spun iron oyster dishes When we cook oysters, we steam them over seawater and seaweed so they cook in their own stuff, basically. They go into the oven with a lid on so you get the aromats and we needed just the right dish for it. We use Netherton Foundry, from Shropshire (just four miles from Wales!), they’ve been very good right from the start at dealing with our lastminute phone calls. These bowls are perfect for the oysters – they’re made from spun iron so they’re actually very thin but dense and strong. In this instance being thin is better because you get that instant heat – you wouldn’t use the cast iron for this dish.

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Tongs A notable mention must go to the humble tongs. They’re the most essential bit of kit for cooking over fire. Not many kitchens use them that much, but we literally use them for everything here. It’s something I learnt from River Café because when I was there, plating things back in 2010, I would have tweezers, tucked into my apron. But I was waiting to put herbs on and they were like… ‘what the hell are you doing?’ Tongs to do the most delicate thing because they’re the closest thing to hands – and when something falls on the plate from a tong its very natural, whereas a tweezer isn’t. Once you do that it just changes your mentality on how you plate. We just go through so many pairs of tongs – luckily they are standard issue from catering suppliers.

Wood oven This is a pretty simple model, it’s a pizza oven basically. We ended up buying a shell and assembling it on site – it was a nightmare getting it up here! We thought we could build one ourselves – and we probably could have – but there is a real science to it which I read up on, but this was quicker! Scissors An essential part of the turbot preparation. These aren’t kitchen scissors – we bought them from an outdoor shop because we needed something really heavy duty, with this shape and strength. The most important thing is that you cut through the main bone at the right point, after the turbot is roasted. It’s not for ease of eating! It’s so the gelatine comes out to emulsify with the vinaigrette and make the pil-pil sauce.


The drinks report There’s no denying the growing influence of tee-totallers and the health crowd on which drinks are doing well. Seedlip, for example, has become a fixture behind the bar in many top restaurants – and quite a few chefs are creating their own, imaginative non-alcoholic drinks. Where there’s demand there’s money, of course, but which are worth buying? Occasional non-drinker Lisa Markwell samples six worth sipping

SAKE CEDERS Ceders is definitely one for mixing – it’s gin without the kick, if you like. It’s been around for a couple of years and uses South African botanicals to give it the right mouthfeel, although weirdly, the makers use Swedish water to blend it. Actually since one of the couple who created it is from SA and the other is Swedish, maybe not so weird. Anyway, this alt-gin comes in classic, crisp and wild, which sounds like the evolution of a good night out. You just won’t have the headache in the morning. £20 for 500ml, sainsburys.co.uk ___

ÆCORN APERITIFS Given the success of Seedlip, it was to be expected that the brand would expand and their three just-launched aperitifs, under the name Æcorn, certainly have the same pedigree of design and content. They’re the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirits and each has a very different flavour profile – they’re billed as Aromatic, Bitter and Dry. The latter is rather like a vermouth, very au courant, and I rather liked the citrusy twang of bitter with a twist of orange peel and a splash of soda. £20 for 500ml, aecornaperitifs.com ___

EVERLEAF A whopping 18 different plants go into the making of Everleaf, created by Paul Mathew – who was probably uniquely placed to create it because he’s both bartender and biologist. You might not be able to pick them out, but Everleaf contains iris, crocus, saffron, vanilla and gentian. It’s not just its golden colour that makes it ideal for a negroni-style aperitif, it has the bittersweet flavour profile that works very well for the non-drinker. £18 for 500ml sainsburys.co.uk ___

LA BREWERY KOMBUCHA Wait, don’t go… It might seem like the rather worthy fermented drink kombucha is the antithesis of a good night out, but the LA Brewery brand has three zingy flavours that go brilliantly with a splash of tonic and a matching garnish. Ginger, strawberry & black pepper or lemongrass make great long drinks with a virtuous kick. Oh and they’re made in Suffolk, so very much east rather than west coast. £3.50 for 300ml, planetorganic.com ___


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STRYYK NOT VODKA Entrepreneur Alex Carlton is onto his second timely hit, having founded Funkin mixes right when cocktails were ubiquitous in the nineties. The Stryyk brand of nonalcoholic spirits (we like the positive-negative of the ‘Not’ styling) has been 15 years in development and has hit the market just when the appetite for sober socialising is rising. The Not Vodka is a clean but not entirely neutral tasting drink that would work as a shot (no ‘firing blanks’ quips please). £15.99 for 700ml, stryyk.com ___

THREE SPIRIT This was invented to explore a ‘third way’ between alcohol and soft drinks, which makes a lot of sense – there’s nothing worse than asking for a non-boozy drink and being offered lemonade. Three Spirit is not sugary or overbearingly medicinal (hey, it happens) – although it does contain various herbs and botanicals. My millennial non-drinking friend Hannah says it’s got a hint of fruit and would be perfect chilled, topped up with ginger ale. £27 for 500ml, threespiritdrinks.co.uk ___

On the shelf

Whether or not you get the opportunity to sit outside in the sunshine with a good book, there are plenty of new titles that make the most of summer’s bounty, plus stories and experiences to get your teeth into. Photograph by Joe Sarah

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Part of the joy of ‘The Garden Chef ’ is discovering how renowned chefs around the world grow and use vegetables. With signature recipes from the kitchen gardens of 40 of the most celebrated chefs – including Alice Waters, Magnus Nilsson, Robin Gill and Alexandre Gauthier - this book provides a beautiful showcase of their love of the plot-to-plate movement accompanied by stunning photography of green spaces and food alike.


by Andy Ricker with JJ Goode This is the third in a trilogy of recipe books from the 30-year Thai food veteran Andy Ricker and it immerses readers in the endless possibilities of street food, specifically the ubiquitous and diverse noodle. Each recipe is an insight into his travels around Thailand and covers such fabled dishes such as Phat Thai and Phat Si Ew Wun Sen and the origins of Khanom jiin, Thailand’s only indigenous noodle. £25, Ten Speed Press

£29.95, Phaidon



Alex Jackson’s pedigree from his time with Stevie Parle, as head chef at Dock Kitchen and Rotorino, gives his cooking at Sardine a vein of honesty and accessibility that few others achieve and his cookbook is no different. The dishes emulate home cooking done well, with the discipline and accuracy of a commercial kitchen. In keeping with the region of his choice, Provence, the recipes are ingredient rather than technique led. The “Grande Bouffe” sections should be in more cookbooks – a collated group of authentic recipes for putting on a “proper spread”, wrapped up with a healthy explanatory dose of Jackson’s honest (and broad) opinion. £25, Pavilion


by Henrietta Lovell The Rare Tea Lady, as she’s known, is a brilliant example of a passionate person pursuing excellence. Her memoir is candid, informative and evocative; not just stories about her travels to everywhere from arctic Norway to East Nepal via Claridge’s and Sonoma, but encounters with chefs and farmers. Lovell is a natural writer and her love of tea sings out from every page. Great recipes and techniques are included too. £20, Faber & Faber


8. 9.

5. BREAKFAST: THE COOKBOOK by Emily Elyse Miller

Who knew that there were so many breakfast options? There are 445 pages of recipes for food and drinks that will vastly improve your morning in this book, which roams around the world for inspiration. So if you want to make a Ugandan omelette sandwich, Mexican steamed tacos, a classic British kedgeree or scrapple from the U.S. – it’s all in here and the author really knows her stuff. Mine’s a Vietnamese iced coffee and corn fritters with lox and poached eggs. £35, Phaidon

4. 5.


2. 3. 1.


by MiMi Aye Born in Margate, growing up with the culture of her spiritual home, Burma, Mimi Aye learnt the secrets of Burmese cooking first hand, absorbing the sight and smells of her mother’s kitchen. Mandalay is a love letter to that (lesser-known) cuisine designed to both educate the world through storytelling and preserve recipes for her two daughters Thida and Zeyar, so that they in turn may one day cook for her. £26, Bloomsbury


by Nathan Outlaw Before diving into the seemingly bottomless variations of fish dishes that Outlaw is renowned for, there’s a second narrative in Nathan Outlaw’s most recent publication. Throughout the book are stories of the people and places that make both the restaurant and the area so special. The success of any restaurant is largely dependent on these relationships and it is touching to see such glowing profiles feature so prominently. There are recipes that will broaden your repertoire, we’ve got our eye on the warm tartare hollandaise which is rapidly becoming a signature sauce of Outlaw’s. £45, Bloomsbury



The first of two season-led volumes, Greenfeast is a celebration of spring and summer in a collection of light, unfussy vegetarian recipes. Like Eat before it, the dishes reflect Nigel Slater’s own everyday eating (“What vegetables shall I eat today?”) and in his warm, spirited style they’re offered as inspiration, rather than to be followed to the letter.

Captivated by the colours, sounds and tastes of Indonesia absorbed through her childhood, Eleanor Ford takes us on a culinary journey through this diverse archipelago. From street food to the powers and versatility of rice – the centre of every meal – Fire Islands awakens the senses with its vibrancy and colour.

by Nigel Slater

£22, 4th Estate

by Eleanor Ford

£25, Murdoch Books

10. CALIFORNIA LIVING + EATING by Eleanor Maidment

When one thinks of Californian cuisine, what springs to mind is probably not hearty dishes of pork belly with jasmine rice or roast chicken with grapes, onions and sourdough, but rather fad-fuelled juice cleanses and raw eating. With her colourful, optimistic book, Eleanor Maidment – chef, food writer and consultant – bucks this trend, explaining the progressive, eclectic nature of west coast cooking. Encouragingly so, California contains both pizza and baking sections, along with an array of fresh and simple recipes that are accessible to even the laziest of home cooks.

£22, Hardie Grant -50-

Aprons on tour...

Even when you’re a Michelin-starred chef you never stop learning. So when Tom Kerridge heard that Lisa Markwell was having a tortilla-making lesson from Nieves Barragán Mohacho, he joined in. Here’s what happened at the Sabor stoves… Photographs by Harriet Raper

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One recent afternoon, while the staff were off on their afternoon break, we met up at the groundfloor open kitchen of Sabor, for Nieves to teach us the secrets of the classic Spanish tortilla. It’s been a menu favourite since day one and everyone who eats this dish admires the perfect disc of tender set egg and rich, runny filling. Set up on the counter, a gastro with supersoft, caramelised sliced onions, another filled with peeled potato sliced into pieces about the size and thickness of 50p and boxes of St Ewe rich yolk eggs. We put on Sabor aprons and gulp down a large coffee. Let’s go to work… Tom: The simplest food is what I love best. The reason why we are here is because Nieves’s tortilla is the best tortilla – world class - and I want to know how to make it. It’s just onion, potato and eggs, but it’s the technique and the skill. That’s what makes something so simple so beautiful and amazing. I need to see how to do it. Nieves: OK, I only do two types of tortilla and I was taught by my mum. And everyone has eggs, onion and potato in their house. Here we just look after the ingredients – good Spanish onions, good eggs and Chippies Choice potatoes. Tom: Ah, yes, nice and waxy and they hold their shape. That brand do the work on the sugar and starch content to find the perfect potato that works for frying. They are expensive and because through the season, the starches change, the company buys different varieties from different areas that fit that criteria so you can get the same results every time. Nieves: Never rinse the potatoes, we want the starch. And we don’t fry them in advance, it’s always for service. Although you can cook those onions in advance, in olive oil very long and slow. Lisa: That’s one of my biggest bugbears, recipes that lie and say you can caramelise onions in 10 minutes! Tom and Nieves: YES! Tom: I hate it. The onion one is really bad, the other one is pastry – when they say ‘blind bake the pastry tart 15-20 minutes’… What do you mean 15-20 minutes???!!!!! The oven’s on 150 degrees, so maybe 45 minutes if you’re fucking lucky! Nieves: Back to work. I want to cook those potatoes a batch at a time in grapeseed oil, they need to have a little ‘skin’, a little texture.

Tom: And where’s that oil from, Nieves? England? YEAH! [Laughs]. It’s almost like the first fry of triplecooked chips – to eradicate moisture but still keep texture. Nieves: Yes. Tortilla is something that takes time to do, you know? A series of processes. You can’t rush it. But those eggs, you need to whisk them only enough to just break them up, don’t overwhisk or they will go watery. And if that happens, the potato just won’t absorb the egg - and the tortilla will have no body. Tom: When we make our lobster omelettes at the Hand & Flowers, we take the eggs, crack them into a container and hand blend them, break them down completely. Nieves: [gasps] Don’t do that! Lisa: When we made egg dishes at Leiths, we had to sieve the egg to get rid of the chalaza… Tom: Chalaza? How’d you know that?! Nieves: OK so once you’ve fried those potatoes till they are golden, you drain them, season them a little and then so you take one part onion to three parts potato and mix it, then

add the beaten egg a little at a time while the potato is warm, then you let it rest and ‘set’ for 20 minutes. You want to see some foam appearing. Lisa: Who knew you had to wait? Nieves: It has to absorb [makes a sucking noise and laughs]. You know, to become… what’s the word?... unctuous! That’s the key. And a little white pepper – always only white. During the 20 minutes resting time, we look through the extensive collection of frying -52-

pans – from individual ones for use at the Sabor counter to midsize for sharing tortillas up in the Asador, and even larger. Tom: I like the most battered old ones, with the handles that are about to break off. Nieves: That’s sexy!! You just need to get it hotter and use more oil. Tom: So the egg and potato have become friends. Nieves: So the trick is to have the pan hot but not too hot [she tests the olive oil with her finger, typical chef ’s Teflon hands], and you must load the mix right to the top of the pan and be careful to keep the edges neat. Lisa: This makes me nervous – how do you know when it’s done enough? Nieves: The edge should be set and lose its whiteness, but you don’t want too much colour. She takes a clean saucepan lid, inverts the tortilla onto it and carefully slides it back into the pan without the edge losing any definition – it’s clear she has done this a thousand times before. She shows us how to smooth the surface of the tortilla with the back of a spoon but to tell by touch when it is firm enough but not hard. Nieves: You must feel it, and smell it. The three tortillas are ready. Turned out onto a plate and eaten standing up with a spoon, they are ambrosial. Nieves: Sexy! I’ve loved teaching you this, it’s fun. They are not the best today, we’ve been talking and I’m distracted… Tom: It’s not fucking bad, chef ! Tom: It’s all about the methods, the technique. The little idiosyncrasies that the guests don’t know about – they eat the tortilla, and ask themselves, ‘how is it so good?’ Right, now that we know this, what else can we do? Let’s do sushi, let’s to go A Wong. Let’s go and see what Claude does with frogs’ legs… And we go our separate ways, with plans to make this a regular event, an ever-growing ‘chain’ of chefs learning each other’s skills and gaining expertise in new cuisines. Where next?

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24 hours in... Bethlehem By Lisa Markwell, editor of CODE Hospitality

Seeing, touching and tasting the city of Bethlehem brings alive Palestinian culture like no documentary or London pop-up can ever achieve. Just five hours from London, the ancient city offers myriad places to eat, drink and absorb so much. Save space in your cases for the incredible produce



Dinner at Abu Eli

Check into Hosh al Syrian guest house

This serene, picturesque space is run by Fadi Kattan with a warm welcome, deep knowledge and wicked sense of humour. Rest in one of the cool, peaceful rooms before you venture into the city and don’t forget to make time for the delicious breakfast – or dinner in its Fawda restaurant, complete with its chic interpretations of classic Palestinian cuisine. hoshalsyrian.com

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4pm Coffee break in the souk

A true survival story of Palestine, the restaurant was established by Eli’s father and despite the unwelcome arrival of the looming wall nearby and once being destroyed, it continues to serve melt-in-the-mouth grilled lamb cutlets and tender kebabs – watch the meat being chopped and blended into a secret mix of herbs, pine nuts and salt with a cleaver the size of your arm. gobethlehem.com/category/abu-eli-restaurant

Getting a brew from Sami at the hole-in-the-wall spot near the guesthouse means you have a respite from the heat and hectic Star Street in front of you. Sami gets his coffee from the tiny coffee and spice shop round the corner and so should you, for back at home – the dark and blonde beans (mixed and ground to your preference) are superb.

Lunch at Afteem

OK, so there’s a picture of David Cameron on the wall, but don’t let that put you off, this family-run business has survived in Bethlehem for 71 years because it serves light, crisp, dreamy falafels (made out front) with a pile of pillowy flatbread and the smoothest hummus in town. gobethlehem.com/category/afteem . -54-



Visit the Baituna alTalhami Museum

This is not only a deeply evocative space where clothes, furniture, photographs and jewellery of the local people has been preserved, it also tells the story of – for instance – how Palestinian families historically preserved and cooked their food. And, as it is run by the Arab Women’s Union, you can also buy handicrafts and bread, pastries and much more.

A drink at the Walled Off Hotel

1pm Take a moment to reflect at the Aida camp

Powerful statement on the occupation or trendy ‘tragedy tourism’ hotspot? You decide. A hotel created by the artist Banksy is certainly a talking point – especially the presidential suite complete with bath filled via a water tank riddled with bullet holes and the graffiti-strewn wall just a couple of metres across the street. However, the in-house museum is an excellent starting point for understanding how the conflict has affected the city. walledoffhotel.com

A visit to Bethlehem cannot be complete without a visit to this touchpoint. The Aida camp, started as a tented refuge in 1950 for displaced people, has now become a permanent home for many, right in the shadow of the wall, and its vast key symbol above the entrance is a permanent reminder of those who kept their house key, thinking one day they’d be able to return home.

9am Take the Fayarek Food Quest


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The market is in full swing and even though you’ll be fueled by breakfast at Hosh, make space for the pancakes and huge variety of breads (warm kaek in particular) and stock up on za’atar, sumac, fresh chick peas and more – the Fayarek Food Quest team will take you to all the best places. Here, the overwhelmingly positive, creative and generous spirit of Bethlehem’s community is remarkable. farayek.com

Instagrab With a new opening or a menu change comes the inevitable flurry of social media snaps. So what’s feeding the news feed this season? The launch of breakfast at the Guinea Grill is very envy-enducing (is yours a pint or a pot of tea?) and both Bob Bob CitÊ and the new MEATliquor W1 want to put your digits to work; while in a crowded field of ingredients to drool over, it seems caviar is having a strong comeback

A classic revisited We work in an industry in thrall to the new, so sometimes old-school restaurants get neglected. Loyd Grossman celebrates one of his all-time favourites – the fabled, idiosyncratic Oslo Court

In the 70s and 80s, not that long ago but a world away in terms of restaurants, only half of the British public ate out more than once a year - and the annual Egon Ronay and Good Food Guides held a prescriptive sway. One of the few restaurants that featured in both of them and still flourishes is the Oslo Court: nothing to do with Norway but on the ground floor of an elegant 1930s north-west London bock of flats of the same name. I can’t remember when I first went there, but it must have been even before the current owners acquired it in 1982, the year of Dexy’s Midnight Runners and Culture Club.  The interior is a sea of pink nappery,

olive oil, garlic and lemon and moved on to duck with apple sauce. The duck was roasted in the old-fashioned way with crispy skin. My friend’s grilled Dover sole was huge, fresh and masterfully filleted.  They probably do the best latkes – the Jewish potato pancakes which make rosti look effete – in town. I am most definitely not a pudding person, but it is de rigeur here. First because it is served from a doubledecker pudding trolley of a vintage which almost qualifies for a preservation order and secondly because of Neil, the Egyptian-born pudding waiter who has worked here for, I think, 40 years. ‘You must try my juicy mangoes’ is among his many memorable catchphrases.

When I was an undergraduate, I ate lunch in the same Greek restaurant in Cambridge (Massachusetts) three to five times a week and sometimes supplemented that with dinner there and even the occasional feta omelette for breakfast. Like Frank Bruni, I want chairs with backs, reservations with no queuing, consistency, and, if not peace and quiet, certainly enough tranquility to be able to talk to, not shout at, my companions. Every visit to a restaurant ought to be a holiday not a boot camp. Unfortunately, novelty is frequently confused with excellence, inventiveness supersedes professionalism and the restaurants that carry on with the unexciting business of just being really good rarely get the attention they deserve. In spite of it’s sometimes terrifying prices, when I slip into a booth at Wilton’s, I feel that the world can be a pretty benign place: it’s a comforting and important, if short-lived fantasy in our new era of political viciousness and all-around instability.

there are bud vases bearing pink roses on each table top and an army of tuxedoclad waiters bustle around the dining room. Every now and again all activities stop for a rousing round of  ‘Happy Birthday’. You are presented with a plate of crudites and garlic mayonnaise, there is melba toast and the butter is shaved into little curls. Once upon a time many smart restaurants looked and felt like this, perhaps they still should. The menu is an encyclopaedic or maybe more accurately an archaeological affair, featuring dishes from the meal that time forgot – grilled pink grapefruit with brown sugar, seafood crepe with cheese sauce, halibut and salmon en croute with Pernod sauce, steak Diane, roast duck with orange cherry and apple sauce. If you aren’t young enough to be puzzled by them, just order. In many years of eating here I have never had anything that wasn’t beautifully cooked, generously presented and proficiently served. My most recent supper kicked off with plump scallops simply cooked with

There is of course, creme brulée and crêpes suzette followed by chocolates and florentines and sugary fruit jellies. You will not wish to run a marathon afterwards. Prices are a paragon of moderation at £48 for three courses at lunch with the occasional supplement of, say, £5 for Dover sole or £10 for lobster. It is a joyful and pampering place. I wish I could go there more often.  


Oslo Court, Charlbert St, St John’s Wood, London NW8 7EN oslocourtrestaurant.co.uk

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Frank Bruni, the estimable former restaurant critic of the New York Times, recently hymned the pleasures of being an over-fifty diner. ‘It’s not just sex and sleep that change as you age’, he observed. ‘It’s supper.’ Without wishing to know too much about his sex and sleep habits, I recognise Bruni’s cri de coeur that ‘Loud is no longer exciting. Trendy is overrated.’  I still can’t help wanting to visit the latest, but I am swiftly reverting back to an old habit of sticking with the tried and tested and remembering the adage that my first editor taught me:’ No restaurant is a democracy and the best restaurant is the one that treats you the best.’ 

Staff meal

Jujeh kabab

with rice and grilled tomato What do you eat when you get home after service? Kian Samyani of Berenjak shares his recipe ___ “The Jujeh kabab is a traditional chicken kabab recipe from Iran. It’s a favourite amongst our staff for a post-service meal and the dish is also a staple in all Persian restaurants. Marinating the chicken in yogurt makes it super-tender, and served with salty, buttery rice, it’s exactly what you want after a long shift.

For the Jujeh kabab 3

chicken breasts, butterflied

30ml 1tsp 25ml

rapeseed oil turmeric water infused with a pinch of saffron

1 125g 150g

white onion, sliced chopped tinned tomatoes thickened yoghurt Lemon juice to taste Salt and pepper to taste

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For the rice 200g 3 2

Amira basmati superior rice or extra-long sella rice vine tomatoes red onions, thinly sliced

Vegetable oil

Method 1. Rub your meat in the turmeric and add the oil and saffron water. Let the chicken sit for 10-15 minutes so that it takes in the colour. Then add lemon juice and sliced onions, tinned tomatoes and mix well. Add yoghurt and give a final mix, then leave overnight in the fridge. 2.The next day, rinse your rice in warm water and put in a large container. Let a tap run through the rice till the water turns clear. Turn off the tap and leave the rice to soak at room temperature for a couple of hours. 3. When ready to cook, drain the rice and add to a pot of salted boiling water. Once the rice is added, turn down to a simmer and after 2 minutes drain into a colander. Add a couple of glugs of vegetable oil, so the rice doesn’t stick together and leave for a few minutes, shaking occasionally. 4. Add some vegetable oil to the empty pot (non-stick preferably) you

used to boil the rice. Return the rice to the pot and cover with a lid that’s wrapped in a tea towel. Return to a low heat while you cook the meat; use a diffuser if you have one. 5. If you have a barbecue, thread the chicken breasts onto skewers and cook over the hot coals, adding the whole tomatoes at the end. If not, pre-heat the grill, lay the chicken breasts in a flat tray with a couple of tomatoes of your choice dotted around, cook until nicely coloured and the tomatoes start to break down. 6. Flip over the chicken breasts and cook till both sides are nicely charred. Serve with the steaming rice, a good knob of salted butter, the mushy roasted tomatoes and some sliced red onions.

Berenjak, 27 Romilly St, Soho, London W1D 5AL berenjaklondon.com

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CODE Quarterly | Issue 19 | Summer 2019  

CODE Quarterly | Issue 19 | Summer 2019