With Mic hel and Alai n R o u x
25 YEARS OF 3 STARS
T h e Wa te r s i d e I n n c e l e b ra te s
In January I departed from a bitterly cold Europe to arrive in Melbourne, Australia to a clear sunny day and 43°C! I then happily spent several days with Olivier and Isabelle Ferretjans – Olivier had worked for me for many years as my manager at The Waterside Inn before Diego took over the reins, and he is still very much part of the family. Then on to Sydney; playtime was over. I was joined by my staff, sous chef Michael Nizzero and Maitre d’Hotel Jean François Imbert who, although on holiday, wanted to be alongside me to see a little of Australia. Tony Bilson, one of the leading lights of Australian gastronomy, had organised ‘Cuisine Now’: an event to reflect the current trends in cooking today. My first activity was a masterclass for 200 people at Doltone House, followed by lunch for another 250 guests. The masterclass especially was the perfect podium to talk about The Waterside Inn, our philosophy and our execution. The dishes served at lunch were taken from my books and were very well received by the guests. It was then to the Shangri La Hotel where I served lunch and dinner to about 140 guests a day for a week. It was wonderful to catch up with old clients, talk about Diego and Bray and also exciting to make some new friends. The finale of the week was to be invited to take part in ‘Australian Masterchef’, which was great fun. I led a team against Tony Bilson and I know the judges were bribed as he won! At last Robyn and I found a couple of days to relax at Rick Stein’s hotel, Bannisters, on the south coast from Sydney – what a paradise! The head chef, Russell Chin, was my chef de partie many moons ago so I found myself on home ground – well, we all like to be spoilt! In charge of the dining room is Toby Evans, the son of my old friend Len, the legend of Australian wine. His father taught him well, not only is his finesse in the room astounding, he has a remarkable palate and knowledge of wine. The re-opening of The Waterside Inn was handled seamlessly by Alain and Diego. Alain was very happy to get back to his kitchen which works perfectly. He deserves it, a perfect tool for a perfectionist. I have also spent some time in the mountains in Switzerland, visiting friends in the Relais and Châteaux properties and tasting the local wine from the Valais. I even managed a few days skiing with my granddaughters. For the first time I visited Istanbul and I was bowled over – what a fantastic city, welcoming people and good food! I was royally spoilt by Professor Arman Kirim, a professor of economics but also a food guru with a weekly page in a national newspaper, Pazar. He cooked me a 10-course dinner which was worthy of a Michelin star. Berrin Torolsan and John Scott of Cornucopia magazine, a very highend market magazine on Turkey, also offered me a great introduction to their country. The spice market is staggering. In May we hosted two unique parties to celebrate 25 consecutive years of holding three Michelin stars. For the first evening we invited all 140 Michelin-starred restaurants in the UK and Ireland and 120 accepted! Had anything gone wrong, we could have lost the entire talent of British gastronomy! The second evening was for our loyal and regular clients. Alain and Diego looked after some 300 guests over two days at a level of excellence that made me beam with pride, just have a look at the photo! Robyn spread her fairy dust around the restaurant and Tan Home and everywhere sparkled with her magic. I am now just back from Germany where I led 14 of the Roux Scholars on a study tour. We were visiting the Black Forest and there is much to see and learn. My R&C friend, Silvia Buchhotz-Lafer from Johann Lafer Stromburg, helped me to organise the trip. She has such energy I had to run to keep up. We also stayed at Hotel Bareiss which is a true star of Relais and Châteaux. The final new challenge for this year was the decision to take over a restaurant at Ascot for the Royal week. The plan was to run The Panoramic Restaurant for 140 guests per day and it was very successful! This was the first and hopefully not the last time as we hope to be back in 2011! So while the body may be fading a tad, the mind is still on fast forward and I look forward to many more rides on the rollercoaster.
The Waterside Inn, Ferry Road, Bray, Berkshire SL6 2AT Int Tel: +44 (1628) 620691 Int Fax: +44 (1628) 784710 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.waterside-inn.co.uk
FISHING After over a decade of being supplied by Top Catch in South Devon, Alain Roux makes the journey down to the West Country to see how his crabs are caught.
t’s a bright, sunny but bitterly cold day in Spring when Alain Roux meets Kevin Bartlett, of Top Catch Ltd, at his sea-view house in South Devon which resides, rather serendipitously, just off Waterside Road. Bartlett has been supplying The Waterside Inn with seafood for over 10 years and Alain is here to go out on his boats and see how it’s done. “He’s been asking me for years,” says Alain, as he drives us through the scenic surroundings to Dartmouth Harbour where we’ll be embarking. “But it’s taken me this long to find the time to come down and see it.” Fishing is in Kevin Bartlett’s blood. He found his sea legs working on his brother’s fishing boats and is full of tales of the sea – like the time the boat he was on got struck by a 14 foot wave and “there were men swimming on deck; they thought we’d gone over” – but his sea-faring lineage goes back further than that. “My grandfather was the patriarch of the family – he started off with small boats out of Paignton Harbour and it just got bigger and bigger,” he says. “The boats he ran out of the harbour would go fishing in the morning and were then used as pleasure boats in the afternoon. It was a popular place to come in the 50s and the grockles used to love going out on the boats.”
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‘Grockle’ is an old local colloquialism for tourist and it’s perhaps even more applicable to the area today – with Dartmouth now a sort of Saint -Tropez of the Devon coast – its painted houses which overlook the harbour fetching upwards of £1million a pop. These days the smart yachts and motorboats that nestle in their moorings are as plentiful as the fishing boats and the area is as much about pleasure as industry. It’s got foodie credentials too (hardly surprising, given its proximity to such serious seafood bounty) – with The New Angel restaurant, Mitch Tonks’ Fishworks and Prue Leith’s culinary academy all nearby. It’s a very nice little town – quaint, gentrifiedeven, but it’s a far cry from the wilderness of the sea, as we’re about to discover. Crashing over the waves on this choppy morning, we’re all (except of course for Kevin) feeling a little bit green – and it’s a stark reminder of the realities faced by the fisherman who supply us with the produce we savour (and, in Alain’s case, cook) in three-Michelin-starred restaurants. “It’s tough out there,” shouts Kevin, as we approach the crabbing boat we’re headed for. “And I never forget that – I’ve seen it first hand, which is why I respect my fishermen so much and pay them properly.”
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It’s about 7.30am when we pull up to a crabbing boat, which is just in the process of hauling in its pots, and watch as the fishermen sort through the crabs (some of which are bigger than dinner plates), rejecting any catch that’s under the regulatory size. “This is a protected fishing area where the trawlers can’t come – the damage they do to the sea bed is phenomenal – and it’s a sustainable fishing ground,” explains Kevin. “We throw small ones and soft ones back because once a year they shed their shell so they can grow more – it’s quite incredible. The actual meat inside the shell is next year’s shell.” At the peak of the crab season (in the Winter months between November and March) when the fishing’s good, Kevin tells us that crab boats like this one will catch about a tonne and a half a day. The crabs are caught, sorted and taken back to the cool water tanks at Top Catch headquarters. By the following day they’re with the restaurants Kevin supplies (his client list reads something like a Who’s Who of the country’s top chefs) – the likes of The Square, The Fat Duck, Gordon Ramsay, Gary Rhodes and, of course, The Waterside Inn. As Kevin explains, a key factor in delivering top quality crabs is not just freshness, it’s to do with how the creatures are cared for once they’re out of the water. “If they’re not looked after properly it can really affect the quality. If put straight into fridges, their gills will dry out – which is why I’ve got no fridges other than in my vans and the fridges that are cooling the water in the tanks. It’s all caught to order, so there isn’t stock sitting around waiting to get purchased, which means the customer gets a much finer product. Because we handle and deliver the crabs ourselves, they’re happier and livelier, so they last longer when they’re with the customer. If they get live ones, they can be kept in the fridge alive with a wet cloth over them for a few days.” For Kevin, who has fished across the country for crab, it’s the crabs that breed in this very specific area of Devon that have a particularly superior quality. “There’s nothing like the south Devon crab for flavour,” he says. “You can go 40 miles in a different direction and even though it’s the same species, it’s a different type of crab. The water is different out here – there’s more of a tide running and they’re stronger and larger. The biggest crab I’ve ever caught was off this boat and it was 4.7 kilos, which is a very good size. They are so packed full with meat – especially the cock
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“I think it’s got a lot to do with their geographical situation. We’ve got Dartmoor and the river Tamar and the river Dart flowing in and I think the mix of the tide and the slower tide of fresh water affects it. The flavour is very different, very unique.”
Alain Roux with Top Catch’s Kevin Bartlett,
crabs – that if you freeze the claws they will crack with all the meat expanding in them and they have an exceptional sweet flavour.” So what gives the crabs this unique taste that has so many of the country’s top-end chefs ordering them? “I think it’s got a lot to do with their geographical situation. We’ve got Dartmoor and the river Tamar and the river Dart flowing in and I think the mix of the tide and the slower tide of fresh water affects it. The flavour is very different, very unique.” Alain, who cooks the crab in a variety of dishes at the restaurant agrees. “If you put it side by side with another crab it’s more juicy and sweet. We use it for many things – for crab cakes, for canapés, the crab meat dressed in a light mayonnaise with marinated cucumber. It varies from a starter to an accompaniment to a fish dish and we like to do a crab soup where we add crab meat to the soup at the last minute. My favourite way of eating it is when you’re cracking it and taking the meat out of the shell and picking the crab.” In the afternoon (after a good lunch of fish and chips), we take a little boat out of Brixham Harbour to look at mussel farms belonging to Brixham Sea Farms (suppliers to The Waterside Inn), which are rare in that the ropes of mussels stay underwater all the time. Because the mussels don’t have to protect themselves from the sun, the shells are thinner and more of the mollusc is made up of meat – making for juicer mussels. Back at the factory, we see the filtration tanks where the mussels are purified for a minimum of 42 hours (the legal requirement in this country) before being delivered within five hours. There are also tanks full of palourdes – clams with intricately marbled shells – and oysters, one of which Alain has opened for him to try. Just as we’re heading off company founder, Nick Davies, a former marine engineer who started the aqua-culture farm as a “retirement project”, but hasn’t been retired since, lets us in on one of his favourite recipes. “Try making oyster burgers,” he says with a twinkle in his eye. “Roll the oyster in bread crumbs, fry it and whack it in a bun – they’re very, very tasty.” Will the Brixham Sea Farm burger make it onto the menu at The Waterside Inn? We’ll see about that. * For more information about Top Catch contact Kevin Bartlett on 07768 704899 or mail him at email@example.com
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HILDON AT THE WATERSIDE INN
A marriage of perfection
hile you would almost certainly expect to see the familiar blue and white labels of Hildon gracing the tables of the dining room and the bedrooms at The Waterside Inn, it should come as no surprise to find that this is the daily drinking choice of Alain Roux. An ever-present bottle residing on his busy desk attests to the fact that Hildon is very much his water of choice for everyday living, just as he views it as the perfect complement to fine dining at The Waterside Inn and everywhere he travels in the world. How Hildon Natural Mineral Water has become such a part of The Waterside Inn at Bray stems from Alain Roux’s determination to serve English water at this iconic restaurant beside the Thames. “I wanted to serve a water that matched the dishes we create here,” he explained. “It had to be naturally pure, cool and refreshing in taste and totally consistent in quality. Of course, it had to be recognised by our guests from all over the world as the finest to be found anywhere. They would expect nothing else. So, we started
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our long search for the perfect English water. Nothing we tasted matched Hildon and it has proved the perfect partner for us. Fine food and wines demand the very finest water. For us, it is like a perfect marriage.” For Hildon, the presence at The Waterside Inn represents another chapter in a continuing association with the finest of dining in the world’s most renowned restaurants and hotels. A heritage that is jealously guarded, the Hildon reputation is one founded on total purity, the water being naturally filtered from its environmentally protected source, deep in the chalk hills which border the valley of Hampshire’s River Test. Naturally crystal-clear, its stable composition, perfect taste and health properties that include low sodium levels and high calcium content, have become universally acknowledged, establishing Hildon as the natural choice of the discerning palate and the perfect partner for the exquisite food and exceptional cellar at The Waterside Inn. A truly perfect partnership. *
Hildon Ltd, Broughton, Hampshire SO20 8DQ www.hildon.com √+44 (0) 1794 301 747 THE WATERSIDE INN MAGAZINE
“In short, I was proud, as were my parents, that TV meant people would get to know the real me.” He continues: “Here was a guy from Maidenhead making it not only in business but on the screen. Seeing myself on TV and realising that I looked about 10 was not so good. But I’ve enjoyed the attention and enjoy it now because it means I’m attached to inspiring people and ideas.” People, indeed, who now constantly stop him in the street with some crazy proposals. It is perhaps one reason for Jones’ success that he seems genuinely ready not to turn down any opportunity for a good deal. “Finding those real light-bulb moments in business is very rare,” as he points out. Here, after all, is a man who saw some value in Reggae Reggae Sauce while other dragons looked dumbfounded – last year it outsold ketchup in the UK. Also, the man who set up a tennis academy when he was 16, then a cocktail bar, then tried to build his own computers – some successes and some that didn’t succeed – before getting a job, building some capital and going it alone again, this time catching an early wave of the mobile telecommunications boom with the launch of Telecoms Company, the business that made him a lot of money. He now has his own private equity company and has investments in over 25 different businesses. “Sure, I think I’ve had a lot of luck. In fact, some people who know me will say it’s all been luck,” he jokes again. “I’ve certainly been a believer in quickly working with people who are better than me at what they do than I could be, which takes the business forward.” But, in Jones’ case at least – and maybe this is true of all major entrepreneurs – there is also immense self-belief. It smacks slightly of a man who has feasted heartily not so much on The Waterside Inn’s fine fare as too many selfhelp books, but Jones’ creed that there is no such thing as failure is passionately put, albeit from the comfort of a tidy fortune. “There is a need to have some edge in business, whether it’s an ability to evaluate an idea or a mental attitude,” he says. “But we really have a problem in the UK with an outlook that says ‘can I do it?’ rather than ‘I can do it’. Of course, you have to be ready to accept failure in business but ‘failure’ really is an appalling word. It’s not failure but feedback. Failure is demeaning. It keeps you in a box. Feedback is something you can learn from and take on to your next effort.” A disappointment with the entrepreneurial culture in the UK – with its
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recent history of being great at generating ground-breaking ideas and rubbish at realising them – is one reason why it was Jones who hectored/assisted government into last year launching a National Enterprise Academy, a chain of business academies – the latest is planned to open in Sheffield in September – with the intention of giving late teens both the vocational skills and the right attitude to go into business for themselves. He’d like them to be starting even earlier, and has in
conditioning and consultancy business], and then to be passionate and determined as well – but that doesn’t make us unusual people.” When you have made money it doesn’t, for example, make you any less cautious with it. That’s why Jones has come up with the idea of match-funding for when his five children go out into the world: whatever they earn, he’ll double it, unless they work in the charitable sector in which case they’ll get more. “The idea of them just inheriting a load of money
“I’ve certainly been a believer in quickly working with people who are better than me at what they do than I could be, which takes the business forward.” mind a series of children’s books written with a business slant, all about people he has met in business. “If I wrote about a shopkeeper the character would probably be Mr Green,” Jones suggests, with a wry reference to his friend and owner of much of the British high-street. This somewhat belies the notion that entrepreneurs are gifted individuals destined to make pots of money, own a stable of exotic classic cars and so many houses they lose count – all true for Jones, of course, but not
terrifies me,” Jones says. “Give an 18-year-old £50,000 and they’d go and do exactly what I would have done – buy a Ferrari. Of course, I’d have been devastated if my dad had come up with the same plan for me...” It is also why Jones pays off his credit cards at the end of the month and called round for the most competitive quote when fitting out one of his houses with new curtains recently. Maybe the more you have strived to make money, the more respect it commands.
the point. Jones, still a keen tennis-player, cites John McEnroe and the fact that as a teenager he is said to have played just once a week before turning pro. Entrepreneurs are not gifted like that, he says. “You are not born an entrepreneur, you’re made into one. You need the foundation to build on, you need early mentoring [Jones’ father had his own air
“I still value money to such a great degree,” says Jones. “My parents are the same. They could live anywhere they wanted now but still live in the family home where I grew up. Sure, I’m successful in one way. I can eat in a nice restaurant with a great chef, I can drive there in a great car – all that. But I don’t take any of it for granted.”*
The Roux Scholar 2010
Kenneth Culhane, the 2010 Roux Scholar, with the Roux family.
TASTE Kenneth Culhane
of contract caterer BaxterStorey,
who is sous chef at the group’s contract at Level 31 Barclays in Canary Wharf, London is this year’s winner of the prestigious Roux Scholarship. He was named winner of the 2010 competition by Albert Roux at the glittering award ceremony held at the Mandarin Oriental in Hyde Park, London on 29th March.
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The Roux Scholar 2010
Judging the completed dishes from left; James Martin, Michel Roux Snr, Gary Rhodes, Brian Turner, Albert Roux and Andrew Fairlie.
ulhane becomes the 27th Roux Scholar in what proved to be a thrilling and hotly contested final cook off where six of the best from the regional heats battled it out in the finals held in the kitchens of Westminster Kingsway College in London. Commenting on the winner immediately after the award presentation, Michel Roux Snr OBE said: “Kenneth was able to handle the pressure and he was very clear in his mind that he wanted to win. He was beautifully organised and methodical. His method of work brought the best dish and the most tasty dish. He was here today for a journey – it was a very clear goal for him.” Winning the scholarship offers Culhane a life-changing opportunity, with a three-month stage at a three Michelin-starred restaurant anywhere in the world, all expenses paid. But that’s just the beginning. As a Roux Scholarship winner he is now part of an elite club and on a fast track to the top of the profession. He will also have one-to-one mentorship with the Roux family for the rest of his career. Commenting on his win Kenneth Culhane said: “The competitors were fantastic and it has been a long day where we have all worked really hard and to come out and to be picked as a Roux Scholar is absolutely amazing.”
This year’s final was a close race and it was the first time in many years that the judges, who included the Roux family – Michel, Albert, Alain and Michel Roux Jnr – joined by Gary Rhodes, Brian Turner, Andrew Fairlie, David Nicholls and guest judge James Martin, took 45 minutes to agree on the winner. Said Michel Roux Jnr: “The judges deliberated for an extremely long time this year and it was very close. The winner won on taste.” The finalists were asked to cook a Fillet of Beef en Croûte à la Bisontine, a classic dish from the Escoffier era, as well as traditional accompaniments which included pommes duchesse and sauce béarnaise. Each was given 45 minutes to digest a written recipe, with two hours to complete the task which was extended by Michel Roux Snr by a further 15 minutes to relieve the pressure the contestants were under. “It was very challenging. It’s a big competition. It’s not about doing something easy, it’s about a really serious challenge and it really did challenge us today, it made you think on your feet,” said Culhane. When given the dish Culhane said he felt it was vital to get all the elements right. “When I saw the dish I knew it was important to get all the elements correct like ensuring that the mixture of puff pastry was right, making sure I that cooked the beef correctly, making sure that
David Nicholls and Alain Roux.
Kenneth Culhane celebrates as he is named the Roux Scholar 2010.
“It was very challenging. It’s a big competition. It’s not about doing something easy, it’s about a really serious challenge and it really did challenge us today, it made you think on your feet,” said Culhane.
The finalists: Kenneth Culhane, Kevin Tew, Kevin Sutherland, Mark Birchall, Stephen Stevens and Gemma Almond.
The Roux Scholarship would like to thank Carol Conway and Cactus PR for organising a great event. Newly appointed to the team we were very impressed with all their work and look forward to seeing the new film. Well done Carol and the team! THE WATERSIDE INN MAGAZINE
The Roux Scholar 2010
Kenneth Culhane holding his cheque and receiving his magnum from Gosset’s Patrick Ligeron.
Gary Rhodes with Albert Roux.
Kenneth Culhane hard at work on the day.
Said Michel Roux Jnr: “The judges deliberated for an extremely long time this year and it was very close. The winner won on taste.” I made a good duchess, making sure the béarnaise was perfectly seasoned, perfectly good.” The other finalists were Culhane’s colleague Kevin Sutherland; Gemma Almond, The General Tarleton, Ferrensby, North Yorkshire; Mark Birchall, L’Enclume, Cartmel, Cumbria; Stephen Stevens, Cleifiog Uchaf, Anglesey; and Kevin Tew, Corrigan’s, Mayfair, London. The main prize of an invitation to cook and train under the supervision of a leading chef at a prestigious three-star Michelin restaurant in Europe for up to three months, to the value of £5,000 is provided courtesy of the Savoy Educational Trust. In addition the Roux Scholar receives: • A week’s work experience in New York (with flights and accommodation provided) courtesy of Restaurant Associates. • A Jeroboam of Gosset Grande Réserve, signed by all the judges. • An expenses paid trip (including travel and overnight accommodation to the value of £400) to visit the wine cellars of Gosset at Epernay for a guided tour of the production process, courtesy of Champagne Gosset. • A trip for two to visit the Caffé Musetti roasting factory with flights, transfers and a night’s accommodation in Milan, courtesy of L’Unico. • A free subscription to Caterer and Hotelkeeper for one year. • Six issues/18 months of Yes Chef! Magazine. • A set of Global Knives to the value of £1,000. • A five-piece engraved set from All-Clad. • A Thermomix TM31 and travel case worth over £900. The winner’s establishment receives a coffee machine and coffee worth £2,000 from L’Unico (Caffé Musetti). Meanwhile, each of the remaining five national finalists receives a £1,000 bursary from the Savoy Educational Trust, to be used towards furthering their career development, along with a range of other prizes. Andrew Fairlie was the first Roux Scholar, winning the competition in 1984 and is now on the judging panel. Commenting on the scholarship he says: “It’s now becoming the most sought after competition in the UK. In Europe now it is very widely recognised because of the reputation of the scholars who are now going into very prestigious and famous restaurants in Europe and are managing to hold their own.”
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Celebrating with Kenneth Culhane are the judges and some of the sponsors of the Roux Scholarship. He adds: “I’ve seen the competition from day one, the first year since I won the competition, so I can actually comment on the level of cooking from 25 years ago to now and its changed beyond all recognition. What the scholarship set out to do was to improve the standard of cooking among young chefs in the UK and it has done that without a shadow of a doubt.” In a break with tradition a specially commissioned film of the event was shown at the awards ceremony this year. In the film Roux cousins Michel Roux Jnr and Alain Roux demonstrated how the dish selected for the final should be cooked. The film followed the finalists’ journey and also featured footage of last year’s Roux Scholar, Hrishikesh (Richi) Desai, on his stage at The French Laundry. The film can be viewed on the Roux Scholarship website www.rouxscholarship.co.uk and will be followed by a complete film of Hrishikesh Desai on his stage at The French Laundry when the website is re-launched in June. For more information on the Roux Scholarship contact Carol Conway on 07590 414111 *
Q U A L I T Y
A S S U R E D
CASTERBRIDGE B E E F When your restaurant has held three Michelin stars for longer than any other UK establishment, you have a reputation to protect. You associate your name with the very best and the very best will want to associate their name with yours.
nd when restaurants put a brand name alongside a cut of meat on their menu, you know it is a brand you can trust; like Casterbridge™ Beef. Rarely is a butcher so confident about the quality of its meat that it gives it a brand name. The Casterbridge™ brand is exclusive to Fairfax Meadow, one of the UK’s leading butchers and for many years a supplier to The Waterside Inn. Only beef that complies with strict specifications, governing such factors as texture, fat coverage and marbling, is given the Casterbridge™ name. All the meat is traditionally matured on the bone for between up to 28 days to develop a full flavour. It is English beef, sired from traditional breeds such as Aberdeen Angus, South Devon and Hereford which are fed a natural grain diet, allowing control of the protein intake and guaranteeing consistently high quality. If you have tried Casterbridge™ beef at a top restaurant and want to replicate the quality in your home cooking, then Fairfax Meadow’s sister company, Broad Stripe Butchers, is worth a visit. Broad Stripe Butchers is the only source of Casterbridge™ beef outside of the restaurant trade. Master butcher Gerry Wensley, managing director of Fairfax Meadow and Broad Stripe Butchers, explains the rationale behind the launch. “We had chefs saying they wanted to buy meat of the quality they use at work, when cooking at home for their friends
“We had chefs saying they wanted to buy meat of the quality they use at work, when cooking at home for their friends and family.” and family.” Research clearly demonstrated a need for a top quality service which provides restaurant quality meat for the home cook. Gerry continues. “We chose the name Broad Stripe Butchers because a master butcher has a wide stripe on their apron – the wider the stripe, the better the butcher.” By using Fairfax Meadows extensive delivery network, Broad Stripe Butchers can offer next-day delivery Tuesday to Saturday. This network operates with the latest vehicles on the market. Gerry adds. “We recently took delivery of 15 new
Iveco Daily Agile vehicles to operate from our London depot. The new vehicles have been selected for their efficiency while being driven in heavy traffic in a city. The environment is also important to us and we are committed to further improving our service to customers and to reducing our carbon footprint. Our acquisition of these superb new vans achieves both aims.” All meat on Broad Stripe Butchers’ site is British and as well as adhering to the ‘Quality Standard’ marks from the English Beef and Lamb Executive (EBLEX) and the company supplies meat under the ‘Red Tractor’ scheme managed by Assured Food Standards. It is supplied from carefully selected local farms, spanning the Cornish coast to the Scottish Highlands – farms adhering to the highest standards of animal welfare and top quality feed. The company ethos of respecting animal welfare and keeping food miles to a minimum is inherent in all Broad Stripe Butchers’ products. Fairfax Meadows’ quest for quality and excellent was recently rewarded with a Gold Award in the EBLEX run England’s Best Burger Challenge. Their chef’s select gourmet beef burger was judged to be one of the best in the country and they are very proud of this achievement.* You can visit and buy Casterbridge™ beef, along with other quality meat at www.broadstripebutchers.co.uk THE WATERSIDE INN MAGAZINE
BLACK ROUX SCHOLARS VISIT THE
Germany was the destination of choice for the latest biannual Roux
he biannual Roux Scholarship study trip took off from Heathrow on the 23rd May 2010 bound for Frankfurt. It was the first time Germany had been chosen as a study destination and all those on the trip were in an upbeat mood about what might be on the agenda. On the trip were former Roux Scholars; Sat Bains, Andrew Fairlie, Andrew Jones, Hrishikesh Desai,
helpfully selected by Stromborg hotel owner Silvia Buchholz-Lafer, and then ate asparagus and schnitzel for lunch washed down with beautiful reisling. We were off to a good start. For the chefs it was a combination of travelling to a new destination and learning new things mixed with the euphoria of seeing old friends and enjoying some time off. Germany proved to be a popular choice and
Scholarship study trip. Photographer and filmmaker Chandos Elletson repor ts.
The Roux Scholars with Johann Lafer and head chef Martin Steiner (both centre)
Steve Love, Steve Drake, Jonathan Harrison, Richard Stuart, James Carberry, André Garrett and this year’s winner Kenneth Culhane, along with the irrepressible Michel Roux, new PR Carol Conway and myself who was also acting as photographer and for the first time, filmmaker. Personally I was excited to be going to Germany, especially in late spring/early summer. The prospect of good German white wine and white asparagus was tempting and the first morning brought all my wishes together. We visited a white asparagus farm and the very classy vineyard ‘Schlossgut Diel’
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the more traditional it got the more they liked it. The whole point of the Roux Scholarship is education and joining this trip it was easy to see why it is such a valuable competition to win and such a wonderful tight-knit group to join. The two most recent winners Hrishikesh Desai and Kenneth Culhane were both able to draw on the advice and experience of their older, wiser alumni and everybody was able to taste new dishes in an unfamiliar spot. We stayed the first two nights in Stromberg, home of Germany’s top celebrity chef Johann Lafer and despite a ‘wonky’
coach made it to the Black Forest for our third and final night. Many visits took place on our trip; one was to the brewery Brauhaus Goldener Engle. An outstanding brewery with many different kinds of superb beers which we sampled while the owners Mr and Mrs Winkelser welcomed us, and other visitors enjoyed their beers with snacks from their restaurant. We also visited a second vineyard also selected by Silvia â€“ the Schlosswallhausen which is owned and run by two princes, Constantin and Felix from the Prinz zu Salm-Dalberg family, so we had a royal welcome. The tour continued with visits to a deer farm, a schnapps producer and vinegar maker, Weinessiggut Doktorenhof. It was here that we had so many different kinds of wonderful vinegar and we had to wear cloaks and got lost in a cellar. Next on the list was an impromptu stop at a private Irish bar belonging to a racehorse breeder complete with chicken farm. Finally was the stay at Hotel Bareiss in the Black Forest.
Here, in some serious scenery, we sampled some of the finest, most traditional German food I have ever come across. We had tea in an old farmhouse complete with local pastries; we drank beer and ate cured meats and pretzels with some (more) schnapps and then in the evening we dressed up to dine in a wonderful old dining room and ate regional specialities. The whole trip was over very quickly but a few things stand out clearly in my memory. The first is how seriously the trip was taken by all the scholars and how much respect they feel for Michel. This trip keeps the band in touch with each other and keeps the tradition alive. The Roux Scholarship is not a competition you win and forget about. The point of the trip is to have a good time but also to see new horizons and new cultures. We did too much on the trip to mention it all but I wonâ€™t forget the sight of Sat Bains striding in a hurry in his cloak down a dark candlelit corridor between barrels of vinegar. You will be able to witness it all yourself when the film is ready soon. *
For more information about the Roux Scholarship visit www.rouxscholarship.co.uk For more information about the Stromborg hotel visit www.johannlafer.de or call +49 (0)6724 93100 Read more about Stromborg Hotel on pages 30-31
Silvia Buchholz-Lafer with translator Paul Arend
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GRAND G E R M A N Y
Set in the heart of Germany, Stromburg hotel offers all the best of German hospitality and tradition with a little twist.
small exclusive hotel in the Rhine valley of Germany, Stromburg is the ultimate in German good taste. Well known for its traditional style and celebrity chef, Johann Lafer, the hotel has established itself as a long-term member of the exclusive Relais & Châteaux group, having joined in 1997. Set in the vineyard county of Germany and surrounded by picturesque forests, Stromburg prides itself on its traditional values and the five Cs that are so synonymous with Relais & Châteaux: cuisine, courtesy, charm, character and calm. Grand Chef Johann Lafer and his wife Silvia established themselves at Stromburg over 15 years ago with the couple passionate about offering a quality dining and visiting experience. Today both Stromburg and the restaurants Le Val d’Or and Bistro d’Or offer great cuisine in a beautiful atmosphere, with Johann using the highest quality fresh ingredients with mouthwatering flavours and textures. Due to his popular television programme Johann has truly raised the bar when it comes to offering high quality food with Stromburg’s restaurant Le Val d’Or having received a Michelin star and he himself being voted Germany’s best pastry chef in the 1980s. But it has been Johann and Silvia’s dream to put gastronomy in the reach of everyone with the hotel offering a cooking school and wine course and the Table d’Or club that offers travel, courses and special events.
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As well as Stromburg’s much loved chef, and equally loved food, the castle-style hotel offers a multitude of activities including golf, mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, hunting, fishing, sailing, water-skiing, gourmet rally (Touareg, Land Rover) and survival training. One of its more unusual offerings is that of Heli-Gourmet, a unique adventure that gives visitors a closer look at Germany’s beautiful landscape from a different perspective – by helicopter. The Heli-Gourmet is specifically designed to wow all the senses and combine Johann Lafer’s first great passion, gourmet food, together with his second, helicopter flying. Whether it be a visit to a once-in-a-lifetime concert, sporting event or even a VIP flight to a Rhineland-Palatinate winery, relax here in luxury and enjoy the view. Relaxing is a key theme at Hotel Stromburg where you can enjoy quiet, tasteful elegance in beautiful surroundings. The castle rooms are individually furnished and named after famous cookbook authors, while the staff cater to your every need. As well as offering the highest of customer service, the castle also boasts a herb garden in the middle of its historic walls – spark your senses as you take in the scent of peppermint, lemon balm and thyme while the chef serves you with dishes full of fresh organic herbs. Stromburg is set in the heart of the German forests; for nature lovers the area is a perfect place to indulge in winding walks and various wine trails. Enjoy beautiful flora and fauna, take in the views after hiking on the trail Rheinsteig with its challenging inclines and fantastic views. And after you are finished with the scenery, relax in style with beautiful food and the Stromburg hotel. * For more information about Stromburg visit www.johannlafer.de/stromburg or call on +49 6724 9310 0.
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Caterer and Hotelkeeper restaurant editor Kerstin Kühn takes a look at last year’s Roux Scholarship winner Richi Desai’s progress.
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“I thought to myself back then that at one point in my life I wanted to go there.”
he Roux Scholarship is one of the industry’s most prestigious culinary competitions which has offered its winners the chance to spend three months at a three Michelin-starred restaurant of their choice for more than a quarter of a century. But in the competition’s history, no scholar has ever ventured beyond the shores of Europe – until now. Hrishikesh Desai, the 26th Roux Scholar, who won the competition in March last year, changed that tradition when he decided he wanted to spend his three-month stage at Thomas Keller’s iconic restaurant the French Laundry in Napa Valley, California – much to the surprise of Michel Roux, the scholarship’s co-founder (with his brother Albert). “When Hrishikesh told me he wanted to go to the USA I was quite shocked,” Roux admits. “But he was so excited – his eyes lit up like those of a child – and it was obvious he had thought long and hard about where in the world he could go to really learn the most.” Indeed Desai’s move to the French Laundry seems to have a touch of fate about it. The 30-year-old head chef of the Brasserie Restaurant at Lucknam Park in Wiltshire has been dreaming about working at the restaurant since 2000 when as a student at the Institute Paul Bocuse in Lyon, he came across a copy of the French Laundry cookbook and was immediately mesmorised by Keller’s philosophy. “The way chef Keller is so focused on the quality of his ingredients, the way he keeps such strong relationships with his suppliers and shares a common goal with them to work towards perfection really spoke to me,” he recalls. “I thought to myself back then that at one point in my life I wanted to go there.” Fast forward to March 2010 and Desai is living that dream spending three months working in the kitchens of the French Laundry.
Keller’s culinary ethos is one of product and execution. It’s all about a celebration of the highest quality produce and a drive towards perfection. His search for the best ingredients has seen him launch the three-acre French Laundry garden, located across the road from the restaurant, where he and his team grow anything from baby vegetables to salad leaves and herbs. Keller’s kitchen, meanwhile, is based on a collaborative foundation. “The cornerstone of our philosophy is for everyone to be able to have an impact,” he explains. “Collaboration is key to our success and our ability to evolve.”
Keller says he wants Desai to walk away from his kitchen with an experience that will benefit him both professionally and personally. “Cooking isn’t a career or a profession, it’s a lifestyle,” he explains. “We want to show Hrishikesh some of the things that we do – whether it’s a technique, how we maintain our kitchen, how we interact with each other.” During his stage at the French Laundry, Desai has spent time in the mise en place kitchen and the canapé section, has done some butchery and has observed how sauces and stocks are prepared. He has also spent time in the French Laundry’s garden, planting and harvesting, which he says has taught him great respect for the produce he prepares. “While I have not cooked much I have spent a lot of time on the pass helping to plate up and by doing that I have been able to understand so much about the different flavours and why ingredients are paired they way they are.” Above the pass in the French Laundry kitchen is a sign featuring the definition of finesse: ‘Refinement and delicacy of performance, execution or artisanship’. According to Desai: “Every plate that goes beyond the pass adheres to that definition. Everything has to be perfect.” Three months in California have left Desai a Roux Scholarship evangelist. He’s learned respect, discipline and humility but above and beyond all has gained an appetite to constantly strive towards perfection. “It’s been an incredible experience,” he says. “Coming from being head chef at Lucknam Park to going back to being an apprentice and be trained the basics again has been amazing – it’s how you really learn. I am so very grateful to the Roux brothers for this opportunity. I’m having the best time of my life.” * For more information on The French Laundry and Richi visit www.frenchlaundry.com
So teamwork is what it’s all about at the French Laundry and to Michel Roux there are not many restaurants in the world that are run the way Keller runs his kitchen. “It’s a very special place. Everyone is a piece of the puzzle here; there is no room for egos and team work and respect for each other is absolutely essential,” he enthuses. “What Hrishikesh will learn here is how to be humble.”
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THE HEART OF
COMMUNITY Bray is well known for many reasons, The Waterside Inn being just one of them, but for Bray residents there is another building close to their hearts.
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esus Hospital Almshouse has been well known in Bray for over 400 years, providing comfortable accommodation for poor, elderly parishioners. The almshouses, set up in 1627, were intended to become part of Bray’s heritage by founder William Goddard, and have been modernised and refurbished over the last 50 years. The Jesus Hospital Almshouse at Bray is now a Grade I listed building and consists of a quadrangle of red brick buildings together with a chapel and currently provides housing for a total of 21 older people. Since the 17th century the trustee of the almshouse has been The Fishmongers’ Company, when benefactors left funds for the provision and maintenance for the property and their residents. In the summer of 2009 The Fishmongers’ Company announced their intention to transfer the trusteeship of the Almshouse to Bristol Charities, another charitable corporation that has experience with almshouses. Bristol Charities had plans to create a new multi-storey care home elsewhere which meant that current Jesus Hospital residents would have to move and Jesus Hospital would be transformed for development purposes. Due to the history of the almshouses and the settled environment Jesus Hospital provides, there was a great deal of support in Bray to keep the almshouse and ensure the residents stayed in their current homes. Adele Kilby, whose parents live in the almshouse, along with several Bray residents including Graham Barker, Robyn Roux, Michael Hughes and Steve Adams, decided to form a group to counteract this forthcoming decision and, on the 29th June last year, the ‘Friends of the Almshouse at Jesus Hospital’ was formed. “We first heard of plans that the almshouses would be handed over by the Fishmongers’ Company in May but then we were informed that the Bristol Charities had plans to sell the site and re-build modern almshouse elsewhere,” says Adele. This process would have meant that the almshouse residents would have to move twice, once into temporary
accommodation and then into their new purpose-built home, and the almshouse community would be split up. “My parents have been residents for over 12 years,” Adele explained, “they love it there and all the residents were desperately worried. Many wanted to stay but didn’t have the resources or facilities to challenge the decision.” “One resident has lived in the almshouse for over 32 years and a number of the residents are too vulnerable to survive such a move. It’s a concern that they have no rights in situations like this,” Adele continued. After speaking to the residents and the village, Adele and the other ‘Friends’ started to research and
solution and support and advice came from further afield including other almshouse providers. This led to discussion directly with the Fishmongers’ Company and after meetings with them, The Almshouse Association and the Charity Commission, and advice from sheltered housing providers and other almshouses, it was agreed that an alternative option would be considered. It was the Donnington Hospital Trust, which has over 600 years experience of running almshouses, now chaired by Willie Hartley-Russell, that agreed to look into taking over the almshouses in Bray, and they officially took control on 1st April 2010.
petition to save the almshouse, which included letters to various relevant bodies. “The Borough Council was very concerned about the future of the almshouse’s residents and took an immediate interest. Supporters such as Michel and Robyn Roux, Rolf Harris and Sir Michael Parkinson were also of great help – Sir Michael even agreed to be our Patron – and this captured the attention of the national and local press.” The ‘Friends’ began to fund-raise to mount an organized campaign to find an alternative
Adele, the residents and ‘Friends’ are very happy with the result and appreciate the assistance from the Fishmongers’ Company and the interest of the Donnington Hospital Trust. “It is our hope that the Donnington Trust continues to run the almshouses for another 400 years and it is hoped that the site opens to be part of the village,” Adele added. “Maybe a summer fete can be organised in the future, it would be lovely for everyone to share in this historic and beautiful almshouse.” *
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A DAY IN THE LIFE OF
The master of all ceremonies Diego Masciaga has worked for the Rouxs for over two decades. Here he tells Rosie Birkett about what his daily job entails.
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hen I meet Diego one sunny morning at The Waterside Inn another day at the restaurant begins and he’s characteristically warm and chirpy. Judging by his sprightly demeanour, sparkly eyes and wide smile, you’d never guess that the previous night he was working at the restaurant until the early hours, managing the celebrations for a certain Mr Blumenthal’s birthday meal. But that is Diego all over – ever professional, ever upbeat. Indeed, he tells me,“the day I wake up and I
the royal box at the Moscow Bolshoi after accompanying Michel Roux to cook for Boris Yeltsin. That’s quite a life for the boy from the small Italian village of Oleggio – who, by his own admission, had three options aged 14,“to work on a farm, work in a factory, or become a waiter.” He of course, chose the latter, which saw him work in France, Germany and England,“to learn the languages – it was a priority when I got into the trade”, before coming under the employment of the Rouxs. Of course, there are perks for having held such a long service at one of Britain’s most revered
language – whether it’s French, German, Italian or whatever.” Personal morning greetings for the staff is a point about which he is passionate.“I believe It’s very important to start the day with a good morning, and a real good morning – these staff might spend all day cleaning pots or sweeping the terrace, maybe all day wiping the floor – and it’s crucial to let them know that whatever they do is very important. Anyone at any level has a major position here and I like to acknowledge that. Once I’ve said good morning everyone knows I’m here and comes to me with their problems They’re all in
don’t feel happy to come and see people is the day I change my job.” Diego has worked for the Roux family since 1983, at Le Gavroche, Le Mazarin (a former restaurant where they got a star in six months) and finally at The Waterside Inn, but he seems to never tire of the challenge – something which is not surprising when you start talking to him, for Diego is a man with a lot of stories. In his 27 years with the Roux family he has done and seen some incredible things – from impressing King Hussein of Jordan to the point of being offered a job (a request he rejected, though he did take his chance to visit the Palace) to sitting in
restaurants, but Diego is never one to shy away from the daily grind – and his working days are long, eventful and full of hands-on action. “The day starts for me at 10am and first thing I do is go upstairs and I check everything with the housekeeping staff and look into any maintenance issues – of which there are many in a place like this – everything from carpet cleaning to plumbing,” he says.“Those sorts of things cannot wait and it’s good to get a picture of the property early in the morning. Then I come down and the first thing I do is say hello to everyone individually by name, because they’re not a number, they’re a name and I’ll try and say it to them in their
the same boat – most are young, their families are abroad and they’ll come and tell me they need a bike, or need to change their room – things that are important to them. It’s not easy, but we want them to be happy and if you want them happy you have to react to that.” Then Diego catches up with his secretary Maggie, who helps him handle the reservations.“I spend half an hour with Maggie to go through the day-to-day reservation work – things like small weddings and parties. The hotel is at 85-90 per cent occupancy at the moment so it’s very busy. You can imagine, out of 150 guests we get phoning in a day 125 have got a special request – they’re coming for
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a birthday, an engagement, they don’t want to be recognised for whatever reason, and most of them want to speak to me. They won’t speak to anyone else – because I’ve been here a long time, they know me and they feel a bit more comfortable if they can speak to me for just a minute to make sure that their needs are being met,” he says. Indeed, on more than one occasion, Diego has had to meet some rather extraordinary requests. “I have had some unbelievable requests,” he laughs. “The first year that I worked at The Waterside Inn, I was asked to find a live goat for some guests. They were having party and they wanted to play a game involving a live goat – so I had to find this goat in Bray in the middle of the day, which as you can imagine, was not too easy! We live in a world where people request mad things and we have to deal with that with as much discretion and efficiency as possible.” While he’s in the office with Maggie, Diego goes through the huge pile of mail and signs all the letters personally. Then it’s time for him to meet with chef Alain Roux and talk about the coming meals. “We’re a restaurant and it’s crucial that the kitchen and restaurant work together,” he says. “We go through menus, food, special requirements – whether someone is vegan, vegetarians, Jains [an Indian sect who can’t eat root vegetables]. We have a very important family of Jains who have been coming here for years because they know that we can accommodate their needs – which is not easy. Me and Alain will talk through any problems too because it’s not all salt and Champagne – there are challenges that need addressing – if a guest has not been happy about something, or chef Alain being uneasy about something, we’ll try and sort it out.” Then to reception where there are always messages to deal with, and then into the restaurant which he describes as “my toy, my playground – it’s where I can relax.” Twice a week Diego leads training for the staff on techniques like carving, cheese training, wine tasting and, most importantly, how to talk to the guests. “The way I approach my job is to imagine that I would like to be a guest here and how I’d like to be treated – it’s about being there to help the guest, not just serving, but guiding and helping people,” he says.
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“My mum inspired me in my profession. Why? Because she was always ahead. She knew when I wanted my food before I asked her, she gave me whatever I liked without me asking. And service is exactly the same – once a guest has asked for something the service has failed because the waiter has not been fast enough to be there before the request; and that is service. Whether the bread is served from the rear or the left doesn’t really matter as much – it’s about being there and pre-empting the guest. On everything – not just on food.” After a chat with the sommelier for an update on the wine stock, he takes a tour outside to check out the garden and talk to the gardener. Then he goes through the reservation
“The way I approach my job is to imagine that I would like to be a guest here and how I’d like to be treated – it’s about being there to help the guest, not just serving, but guiding and helping people” book, allocating the guests to their tables – a job which Diego takes very seriously as he holds sole responsibility for who sits where. After checking on all of the arrivals at the hotel and their requests (like special flowers, fruits, dietary requirements, parking) it’s finally time, at 11am, for him to sit down for lunch – a time he savours. “I come and sit for lunch, and on one side I have my personal mail and on the other a newspaper because it is so important in our profession to be up to speed with the news. The guests like to talk and there’s only so much you can talk about the food, the weather and the ducks. They want to talk about politics, about geography, about the economic state of the world so you do need to have knowledge and I drill into my staff how important it is to read. You cannot buy knowledge – you have to work at it. We have to be aware of gossip too – I read Hello and OK magazine as well, to know who is who – we have lots of celebrities coming in here.”
Once he’s fed and read up, it’s time for a meeting of the senior staff, before the big lunch briefing at 11.45am in the dining room. This is the moment that Fabrice (Alain’s number two) and Alain join with the front-of-house staff for a run-through of the menu, all table by table and name by name so that all the waiters know who is coming and when. This lasts for 10-15 minutes and is when he gives feedback to the staff – both positive and negative. Shortly after this the guests start to arrive and, as Diego puts it, “the show begins”. Service runs for the next two to three hours and Diego is quick to point out that he is the first to muck-in with the staff. “Some of the guests seem surprised when they see me clearing tables but, at the end of the day, that is my job. I run the service and take 70 per cent of the orders and it’s really important for me to get stuck in with the team and be part it – clear the tables, take orders – the staff need to know that I’m with them and I support them.” At around 3.30pm in the afternoon, with the mad rush of the lunch service out of the way, Diego retreats back to his nearby home for a well-deserved break. Every other day he finishes work around 12.30pm after passing on the necessary information to Frédéric his assistant manager who is covering the afternoon shift before returning home. When at home he showers and changes his shirt before returning to the restaurant at 5.45pm, where he checks his messages and re-allocates the evening reservation tables. 6.20pm is supper time and at 6.45pm Diego leads another briefing for the evening service, before the evening show once more begins. But even when the last guests leave the dining room, Diego’s night is far from over. If he is on a early shift he will go through the reservation book with his closing team before heading home. If it’s likely to be a late one he goes to his office at around 1am and goes through the reservation books, checks every reservation and prepares all his paperwork for the next day. “When I’m happy with that I’ll go home, read the Teletext to unwind and find out what’s going on in the world, and enjoy a glass of bitter lemon before heading to bed at around 2am. That’s my day – and that’s a very smooth day!”*
HORSES for racecourses
Enjoy successful racing with the winning Alan Swinbank team.
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ituated in the picturesque village of Melsonby in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, Thorndale is where Alan Swinbank has trained since 2001. Alan has spent a lifetime in racing and has had many a winner himself in training with the late Arthur Stephenson. A racing enthusiast, he has been a successful bloodstock agent for more than 30 years, and now buys the majority of well-bred youngstock, which he personally and successfully trains. With a passion for racing, Alan and his team always look forward to meeting new owners and hope to provide some memorable racing days with regular visits to the winners’ enclosure. The team, including his assistant Bill Haigh, who was a successful trainer at Malton before joining Alan to work riders and stable hands, are all individually chosen and form part of the winning organisation; all are valued, dedicated and caring professionals. Enjoying excellent facilities, the training yard at Thorndale and the newly built yard at Thorndale North lend themselves to produce both youngsters and older horses and so far over 400 winners have been sent out under both codes. Over the years the yard has grown in numbers and strength and a few of the past winners include Collier Hill who won the Gr.1
Hong Kong Vase and the Canadian Pacific International. Collier was also placed twice in the Gr.1 Sheema Classic and won a total of 15 races in eight countries and over £2 million in prize money. Turbo Linn won eight consecutive races from her maiden bumper at Carlisle; she developed into a top-class Group filly taking the John Smith’s Mares Only N.H. Flat Race, Aintree, (L), Lancashire Oaks, Gr.2 and the Plantation Stud Stakes, (L). Formal Decree won many races including the Cambridgeshire, Newmarket ridden by Jamie Spencer. Many others after winning have been sold on and have subsequently won Group races both at home and abroad for their new owners. At Thorndale there are a selection of youngsters just waiting in the wings for new owners to start them on a wonderful journey into the world of racing. The facilities are suitable for both Flat and National Hunt and include a 1½ mile grass and 7½f all-weather gallop, regulation fences and hurdles (with easier sections for novices), sand arena, turn-out paddocks and horse walkers. Alan Swinbank would be pleased to show any potential new owners around the excellent facilities and watch horses that are for sale breeze up the gallops. *
Please ring on 01325 377318 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find more information on our website www.alanswinbank.com THE WATERSIDE INN MAGAZINE
SHOOTING P A R T Y
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Keith and Lynne Allan talk us through the chance encounter of the first Roux Shooting Party and how it has become a great success.
ike so many great ideas our Roux Shooting Parties began by chance and strangely enough in Venice. We were staying at the Cipriani Hotel where the indefatigable Dr Natale Rusconi held court for more than 30 years until his recent retirement. As travel journalists, we had come to know Rusconi rather well, admiring his Midas touch in growing the world wide reputation of the Cipriani. He wanted us to drop in on his Cookery School and when we heard that Michel Roux would be the guest chef we couldn’t wait. Based in the ancient granary buildings that sit on the edge of Giudecca looking back across the basin of the lagoon to St Marks Square it was a perfect venue and it got us thinking. Why not do something similar around a country house in Scotland and throw in a little shooting as well? And so, after a little discussion with Michel our very special Roux Shooting Parties were born! The first party took place in December 2008 at Novar-Ardtalla, a magnificent estate complete with Georgian villa in Rosshire close to the Cromarty Firth and a short drive from Inverness. Next to it is a stable block that has been tastefully turned into a sportsman’s residence and this is where we were based. For 200 years it has been in the hands of the Munro Ferguson family with Ronald and his wife Erica putting their own very special stamp on it. So successful was it that we returned again in 2009 where the formula was repeated. One of the joys of a house party like this is the coming together of a higgledy-
piggledy crowd of people. So we met a shipping magnate, a racehorse owner, a property developer, teacher, lawyer, stockbroker, jewellery designer, two vets from Germany and Elena from St Petersburg. Together we all lived cheek by jowl for the next three days and everyone loved it. Michel showed us his incredible pastry making skills for about an hour. He makes it all look so easy, taking a heap of flour, butter, icing sugar, salt, eggs and turning it into a pâte sucrée for the delicious chocolate and raspberry tarts which we would eat at the five course Roux dinner on the final evening.
“The scenery is stunning and I am glad to say I really enjoyed my shooting” Meanwhile, back in the field our main quarry was red legged partridges flushed from the rolling hillsides by teams of spaniels and retrievers that sent them whirring into the sky and bursting over the guns like star shells. By selecting a single bird, and then mounting your gun smoothly and swinging through it as you pull the trigger, there is a chance of bringing down the brown speck in a puff of feathers before you move on to the next one for a so called “right” and “left”. Needless to say, unless you are a crack shot, you miss quite a lot! “My wife Robyn and I loved this estate in Scotland and everything worked so well because the people around us were so nice,” Michel told us. “The scenery is stunning and I am glad to say I really enjoyed my shooting.”
At last 21 of us sat down to our much looked forward to dinner. Everyone was talking nineteen to the dozen as our glasses were filled with flinty dry Chablis to accompany the terrine of foie gras served with dried fruits and almonds and glazed quince and pear, not forgetting the toasted brioche. The room fell almost silent and, yum, everyone adored it. Next a langoustine consommé was brought bursting with flavour. Michel remarked that it had taken some time to get this deep intense flavour to come through. It worked brilliantly as did the salmon coulibiac. The fish was perfectly cooked and the golden pastry melted in the mouth. Our glasses were now full of claret in readiness for a pan fried venison fillet which came with a poivrade sauce and a simple baked potato mixed with spinach. The venison was quite rare but wonderfully tender; the game sauce perfectly complemented it. Finally a tart appeared with its ganache of rich, dark chocolate which smothered a juicy layer of raspberries that had a hint of chopped mint about them, all set into a crisp base. Over coffee and repeated nightcaps our party continued late into the night. We all knew that in a few hours we would go our separate ways but it didn’t matter, for we were already counting the days until the next one. * For further information on future shooting parties, details and bookings please contact: Keith and Lynne Allan on 01289 302658 or mail email@example.com
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ince winning his first trophies back in 1987, Digweed has been one of his sport’s most decorated competitors. In a career spanning four decades, George has won seven World FITASC Championships, nine World Sporting Championships, thirteen European Championships and fourteen World Cups. He was also given an MBE in 2009 for his services to charity. His latest triumph came in February, when he won a brace of gold medals at the Pan-African Championship in Johannesburg. Competing simultaneously in two disciplines in the sweltering South African heat, Digweed recorded a closing score of 196/200 clays on the Compak – a condensed version of the main Sporting competition – and 194/200 on the Sporting itself. It was a total far beyond what most had anticipated. “It was a very difficult course,” George explains. “It was very hot to shoot in and there was very little shade. I think most people agree that the winning score should have been between 183 and 186. So to be that far ahead was a very pleasing achievement.”
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If you were to make a list of Britain’s greatest sportsmen the chances are the likes of Sir Steve Redgrave, Bobby Moore and Linford Christie would be the first names you would scribble down. One man whose name may not immediately spring to mind is George Digweed. BUT, AS PAUL BULLOCK EXPLAINS, IN HIS FIELD THE KENTBASED CLAY PIGEON SHOOTER IS SECOND TO NONE.
Despite this success, George won’t be resting on his laurels any time soon. He has already lined up his plans for the new decade and is hoping to secure another milestone in the sport. “If I win another world championship as from this year, I’ll have won world championships in four different decades,” he reveals. “So that is a massive thing for me to try and achieve over the next ten years.” Things have certainly begun well, not just on the course but off it as well, with George guesting on The Chris Evans Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 2 as coach to the host and his sports reporter Jonny Saunders in their weekly Sporting Challenge segment. Having taken on golf, darts and ice hockey previously, the pair adapted to shooting well, George says. “They thoroughly enjoyed it and I think they want to have another go. They’re certainly both good enough to be able to take it further and take it on as a sport – without any shadow of a doubt.”
And it’s not just Chris and Jonny that can try their hand. George is hopeful that others curious about shooting will follow in their footsteps and take their interest further. “There’s plenty of opportunities for shooters,” he adds. “The Clay Pigeon Shooting Association (CPSA) are there to promote the
sport. They know where all your local clubs are, how to get into it, how to get involved in it. And I don’t see why people couldn’t get in and have a really good time.” * To find out more about shooting, visit the CPSA’s website www.cpsa.co.uk and to discover more about George, log on to www.georgedigweed.com
home Favorite Recipes from the Chefs of Relais & Ch창teaux in North America
Recipes fRom NoRth AmeRicA, mexico ANd the cARibbeAN
ver the years this establishment has become a reference for seafood, oysters, crustacea, and fresh fish. Clients are greeted as friends in an informal yet discreet fashion and, although the cuisine remains simple, it remains true to the quality of the produce sourced from both the Mediterranean and Brittany coasts of France and England. Caroline and Ewan met at L’Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne hotel management school in Switzerland and from that time onwards their life has been dedicated to making La Table du Mareyeur an institution as far as seafood is concerned. Michel Roux began visiting the restaurant a number of years ago and is a regular client and friend, often dining with family and friends on the waterside terrace or enjoying the restaurants home delivery service. Over the years a strong bond has built up between Ewan, Caroline and Michel – a shared passion for excellence whether it be in the kitchen…or even on the boules pitch! “Michel has been a mentor and great friend to us over all these years and his passion and encouragement have been an inspiration to us,” Ewan explains. “We have been extremely fortunate so far. From a fairytale wedding in Port Grimaud to raising our two sons and opening the restaurant we could not have ever hoped for better.” Ewan and Caroline’s eldest son Sean
is now attending Lausanne, and next generation of their family look set to continue in the hotel and restaurant industry. Port Grimaud is often referred to as the Venice of the Riviera and it is a truly unique setting. Nestled in the Bay of Saint Tropez with over 8km of canals and waterways, Port Grimaud is a marine village of exceptional beauty with each house or ‘maison de pecheur’ enjoying its own private mooring. The architectural beauty and this privileged environment has attracted international acclaim and Port Grimaud is recognized not only as a place of reknowned architectural beauty, but also as a reference to a certain ‘art de vivre’ – the best the Côte d’Azur and Provence have to offer its residents and visitors. La Table du Mareyeur has contributed to this ‘art de vivre’ over a number of years playing host to numerous personalities from the all walks of life. A faithful and local clientele remain at the base of the restaurants success and all come to enjoy the fresh seafood served to perfection in such a unique setting. Caroline and Ewan are still totally dedicated to the restaurant and their guests – greeting everyone personally and remaining involved in a very hands on environment. “We are fortunate to live and work with a team of enthusiastic young professionals. The restaurant is a such a big part of our life that it is more of a family. We have taken a page out of Michel’s book in the sense that
many young people have trained with us and we stay in touch with them over the years following their careers and even working together with them again at later periods. It is a very gratifying experience and we are extremely proud of their achievements,” says Ewan. “The world of gastronomy is indeed one big family and Michel Roux is, for us, a father figure always keeping an eye on us and so many others – inspiring us to remain true to the essentials, always with respect for our team, our guests and above all the produce. Friends and family are a most important part of our lives and Michel has been both to us over the years.” *
For more information about Table du Mareyeur visit www.mareyeur.com or call Ewan on +33 4945 60677 THE WATERSIDE INN MAGAZINE
Wine of the Year ✩✩✩ 2010
CHAMPAGNE GOSSET GRANDE RÉSERVE
The Oldest Wine House in Champagne : Aÿ 1584 Mc Kinley Vintners - London SE1 7BL firstname.lastname@example.org - www.mckinleyvintners.co.uk www.champagne-gosset.com
“It’s amazing because I still remember the old kitchen as it was, and I don’t know if it’s because we’ve planned and worked so much on this one, but it feels like I’ve always been in this kitchen.”
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place all your mis-en-place and preparation in the drawers ready for service which means you can work a lot faster – you know where things are and you can just pull them out of the drawer rather than rooting about on your knees. That’s an addition that we’ve really seen a difference with during service.” The introduction of the plancha grills has been one of the most significant changes for Alain, who is pleased with the way he has incorporated the equipment into his and his team’s cookery. “The plancha is an additional technique which is very interesting and helps us cook à la minute. It cooks things on the spot when the customer has ordered it, and produce is cooked on both sides and put on the plate. It’s nice to have one also in the starters area for the slightly warmer starters and it’s not creating much heat or disturbing the area of cold starters, canapés and amuse bouches.” And the rotisserie, which Alain had to really convince his father to invest in, is another favourite piece of new kit. “I am very happy that we got it because you get something that you can’t get in the oven. When something is roasting in the oven, you can see what’s going on, but you don’t get the crackling noises and the smells you get with a rotisserie – that is something that is unique. It’s the most efficient way of roasting
because it keeps on turning so it’s evenly cooked – you can’t beat that.” A smile spreads across his face when he tells me that the little lobster pot attachments for the rotisserie, which he was so excited about last time we spoke of the kitchen, have been put to good use too. “There’s nothing I regret and nothing I would have done differently,” he says. “We do a full cleaning, from ceiling to floor between and after every service and I can tell that the team do respect their environment and take pride in it – that’s why it still looks pristine after 15 months and it’s looking good for the next 20 years. Every staff member who comes on board is so impressed with the kitchen – they comment on the design, the layout and the quality of the equipment. We have the best brands in here.”*
Congratulations to the Gratte Brothers Catering Equipment who won the Profit Sector: Large Projects award category at the CEDA Grand Prix Awards 2010 for The Waterside Inn kitchen.
A PALACE away from home
W i t h h i s t o r y, b e a u t y a n d o f c o u r s e t h e h i g h e s t l e v e l o f s e r v i c e , M a l t a ’s T h e X a r a P a l a c e , a 1 7 t h C e n t u r y P a l a z z o i n t h e h e a r t o f M d i n a , h a s i t a l l .
he Xara Palace hotel has its fair share of history, with the 17th century Palazzo in Mdina having been home to colonies of Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans and, of course, the British. Perched atop a hill in the centre of this medieval, walled city, the original residence of the noble family Moscati Parisio was used by the British during World War II until it was converted into a hotel in 1949. When the Zammit Tabona family bought the hotel in 1996, it had fallen into a state of disrepair and the family set about restoring the property to its original beauty as well as creating a unique boutique hotel. Using local architectural and restoration specialists, together with original drawings and plans from Government archives, the renovation of the hotel has ensured an authentic and breathtaking experience for visitors.
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With architectural features such as the Atrium, Piano Nobile and Facade all returned to their original glory, The Xara Palace offers a serene escape from the stresses of daily life. Select from 17 individually designed luxurious suites, featuring many breathtaking views of Malta. The hotel’s friendly and welcoming staff ensure that everything is catered for and are certain to make guests feel at ease. As well as providing an original and serene setting in the heart of the old capital, the hotel also offers two culinary offerings in the way of the award-winning ‘de Mondion’ restaurant and casual ‘Trattoria A.D. 1530’. Executive chef, Kevin Bonello, and his team are well known for their beautiful and delicious dishes – perfect while taking in the fantastic panoramic views. For casual day dining the Trattoria focuses on light dishes of pasta, pizza and salad among others, enjoyed under oversized canopies in the hotel’s piazza.
Kevin Bonello has been at The Xara Palace for seven years having previously worked with both Marco Pierre White and Raymond Blanc. A winner of various local and international culinary awards, Kevin’s fresh innovative method of preparing food with the focus on Mediterranean cuisine has meant that he is acclaimed in the area. The Xara Palace also offers a cooking masterclass, where guests can learn the art of cooking and preparing a menu that is guaranteed to impress their friends and family. In addition, The Xara Palace also holds regular events, features exclusive wedding packages and, of course, has regular boat charters with a variety of boats and yachts available on offer to really make the most of the island. So whether it is soaking up the sun, or just searching for that little piece of history, Malta’s most exclusive boutique hotel has it all.* For more information contact www.xarapalace.com.mt or call +356 21 45 0560
Diego Masciaga honoured with Grand Prix de l’Art de la Salle
celebratory lunch was held recently in honour of Diego Masciaga MCA, director and general manager of The Waterside Inn, at which he was presented with the award of Grand Prix de l’Art de la Salle by the President of the International Academy of Gastronomy, Mr Georges Husni. The International Academy of Gastronomy, which has 31 member countries, voted on the 25th of January to grant the award to Diego Masciaga, an honour which, previously, has only been granted to Louis Villeneuve of Phillip Rochat and Juli Soler of El Bulli.
Michel Roux echoed these sentiments, stating that “Diego is a valued friend and a great asset to the business, who has been instrumental in building the enviable reputation which The Waterside Inn holds today.” Guests enjoyed an exquisite lunch created by chef patron, Alain Roux, accompanied by a special selection of wines selected by sommelier Simone Galiazzo.
Asked how he felt about receiving the award, Diego said: “I feel really very honoured to receive such an award from a truly international society. I also hope that awards like this will encourage younger people to want to follow in my footsteps, as the service industry in this country needs to be respected, because it is not just a job but a profession.”
This award is in recognition of the outstanding qualities which Diego has demonstrated in his role at The Waterside Inn, ensuring that guests there receive a level of service and attention to detail second to none. On presenting the award, Mr Husni stressed that, whilst the creations of the chef and his brigade are obviously very important, the professionalism of the front-of-house team is also integral to the overall success of a restaurant and that this award was the academy’s way of recognising the top achievers in this field. THE WATERSIDE INN MAGAZINE
Michel and Robyn Roux Attend the Grand Reopening of La Mamounia
All-Clad Event at
nvited by Didier Picquot, Directeur Generale, Michel and Robyn Roux attended the Gala re-opening of the iconic La Mamounia Hotel in Marrakesh. A complete refurbishment of the hotel, costing in the region of $165 million, took over three years to complete with the hotel being closed for most of the time. “The result was breathtaking – this is certainly one of the grand palaces of the world,” explains Michel.
John Lewis, High Wycombe 22nd October 2009 ooks were flying off the shelves when Michel Roux visited John Lewis High Wycombe store for a book signing sponsored by All-Clad pans, last October.
Taking place in a dedicated space within the ‘Place to Eat’ restaurant, Michel Roux greeted 40 John Lewis customers and gave a talk about his latest bestselling book Sauces, and the importance of using qualitative cooking equipment such as All-Clad. As well as signing the latest Roux book, Michel Roux was also available to answer questions from food lovers and home cooks in the audience. The event was a great success and both John Lewis and Michel Roux were
The reopening event boasted a 1200-strong guest list, featuring an impressive range of guests with the great, good and very wealthy of Morocco, Paris and the world all attending. The A-list stars included names such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston, Orlando Bloom and Salma Hayek, and included editors from the world of magazines, newspapers and TV all there to capture the event. And the highlight of the night? “definitely the entertainment” enthuses Robyn, “Jose Carreras and Cirque du Soleil were amazing and the re-launch was a great success, this is definitely a hotel to visit!” For more information see www.mamounia.com or call +356 21 45 0560
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very happy with the signing and are looking forward to the next event.
news Wedding bells for The Waterside Inn’s Rachel and Frédéric Poulette
he Waterside Inn would like to offer its sincere congratulations to The Waterside Inn assistant Maitre D’Hotel Frédéric and his fiancée Rachel who were married on Saturday 9th January 2010. The couple who met in 2006 are just one of the couples to find love while at The Waterside Inn. The ceremony started at the Town Hall in Maidenhead with the reception taking place at The White Oak in Cookham, Berkshire, well known for its proprietors Henry and Katherine Cripps. For Frédéric, who works at The Waterside Inn as Maitre D’Hotel, the day was a great success, “the best part of the day was definitely the exchanging of the rings, especially as Rachel was also pregnant at the time.” As well as this happy occasion, Rachel has recently given birth to a baby girl. The couple have named their daughter Amelia May Sharrard Poulette, who was born on Friday 14th May at 4.29am at Wexham Park Hospital. Alain Roux is delighted with the news “I really admire those who work so hard and make time for a family,’” he says, “a child is such a joy, I wish all the best to Fréderic and Rachel.”
Baby Joy for The Waterside Inn’s Head Chef and Assistant Restaurant Manager
ongratulations to Head Chef Fabrice Uhryn and his partner Stephanie Munsch as they celebrate the birth of their daughter Lily. Lily was born on 11th April 2010 at 12.39pm at Wexham Park Hospital and weighed in at 7½ pounds. Fabrice who has been head chef at The Waterside Inn since 2007 and Stephanie, who is currently on maternity leave from her position as assistant restaurant manager at The Waterside Inn are delighted with their new arrival. “We are as happy as you can get,” smiles Fabrice “it was the best day – and the sleepless nights are worth it!” Having known the couple since they came over from Belgium and worked closely in the kitchen with Fabrice, Alain Roux says; “I’m so pleased, they came to The Waterside Inn as a pair back in 2001 and its been so exciting waiting for the news and its great to see them so happy!”
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Michel Roux goes down under for Cuisine Now Tony Bilson, George Calombaris, Guillaume Brahimi, Gary Mehigan, Michel Roux, Matt Preston and Tetsuya Wakuda
January 2010 saw Michel Roux take a trip ‘down under’ on an invitation from Cuisine Now organiser Tony Bilson. As well as being involved in master-classes and cooking demonstrations for Cuisine Now, Michel also took the opportunity to catch up with a few of the ex-staff from The Waterside Inn who have now made Australia their home.
tarting in Melbourne Michel met up with former manager Olivier Ferretjans and chef Harry Hajasava – The Age newspaper was also there to document the reunion. From there Michel flew to Sydney for his first activity with Cuisine Now, a master-class for 200 people, followed by lunch for 250 guests with recipes taken from Michel’s cookbooks. “The class was a perfect opportunity to discuss The Waterside Inn and it was great to have so much audience interaction,” explained Michel. Together with sous chef Michael Nizzero and head waiter Jean Francois Imbert the next event was a promotion at the Shangri La hotel. “It was hard work preparing lunch and dinner for about 140 covers per day,” says
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Michel, but ‘the clients were very responsive and very much enjoyed the added touch of a Waterside Inn head waiter carving their duck!” As well as these busy events Michel also took part in interviews with Financial Review, Weekend Australian, Western Australia Newspaper and BBC Good Food Magazine. The final commitment was filming ‘Australian Masterchef’ with Tony Bilson. Overall Michel was very happy with his Australia visit: “I managed to catch up with many other staff in Sydney and happily report that they are all doing very well.” For more information about Cuisine Now visit www.cuisinenow.com.au