FOUR Summer / Autumn 03/12
The World’s B est Fo o d Mag az i n e
The World’s Best Food Magazine Summer / Autumn 03/12 FOUR_ COVER 1.indd 56
4 You 25/07/2012 18:49
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YOU CAN READ ABOUT COUNTRY LIFE, OR YOU CAN LIVE IT COWORTH PARK, ASCOT
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HOTEL PRiNCiPE Di SAvOiA
THE BEvERLY HiLLS HOTEL
The Wo rld ’s B e st Fo o d M a ga zin e CHEFS
32 Carlo Cracco The Milanese chef talks to Manuela Tomasini about his career to date and what inspires his creative Italian cuisine
CHEF CRACCO'S RECIPES 42 Have a go at this Mediterranean medley 50 Sven Elverfeld Germany’s answer to Heston Blumenthal tells us about why his native cuisine is underestimated and explains his culinary philosophy
CHEF ELVERFELD’S RECIPES 60 Master the technical brilliance of the German chef 68 Margot Janse South Africa’s most lauded chef tells the story of how she was adopted by a continent whose cuisine she now shapes
CHEF JANSE’S RECIPES 78 Take a bite of Africa 86 Eric Ripert The Franco-American chef on TV, New York, and cooking ‘for’ the fish
CHEF RIPERT’S RECIPES 96 Learn the art of fine fish cookery
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Th e Wo rld’s B e st Fo o d M a ga zin e FEATURES 11 Editor’s Letter 13 Specials Our new front section brings you the latest news, trends and events in food and travel 20 Picture Imperfect Discover Russia’s wild child urban artist Lora Zombie 25 Five Chefs, Five questions Five top-chefs provide an insight into their thoughts 29 Into the Fire Four’s new columnist Jeremy Chan documents his career shift from banker to cook 30 Four Dispatch We report on the ‘future foods’ being explored at Noma’s Nordic Food Lab in Copenhagen 104 Four is Watching Rosie Birkett reports from The Catbird Seat, a chef’s table restaurant putting Nashville on the foodie map 107 Wine Focus How Catena Zapata elevated Argentinian Malbec 108 Wine Crush Taking a closer look at Taittinger’s Millennial blend 111 Seriously Sumptuous Fare Our pick of gourmet products for your delectation
114 Rooftop Metropolis In his travel piece on Beirut, Dave Drummond discovers a city torn between its past and present
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PECORINO ROMANO D.O.P. BRVNELLI
Dry salted & kept aging 1 year at least into ancient Etruscan Roman tufa caves dating back to the 1st cent. B.C.
AUT. CONSORZIO PER LA TUTELA DEL FORMAGGIO PECORINO ROMANO N. 63/92 - D.P.R. 30/10/1995 MODIF. COND D.M. 06/06/1995 D.O.P. - REG. CE 1107/96
GARANTITO DAL MINISTERO DELLE POLITICHE AGRICOLE, ALIMENTARI E FORESTALI AI SENSI DELLâ€™ART. 10 DEL REG. (CE) 510/2006
The World’s Best Food Magazine™ Sloane Trading International LTD Publisher: Antioco Piras Jakob Siegeris Editor-in-chief: Rosie Birkett Sub Editor: Alice Webster Art-Director: Rula Khatib-Yanis Designer: Natalie Dourado Production: Martin Bell Consumer Division: Frank Rossi Ralf Sellmann For editorial enquires call +44 (0) 208 947 5511 firstname.lastname@example.org © Sloane Trading International LTD
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I I Editor's Letter
Hello and welcome to the summer/autumn issue of FOUR International. In the words of the legendary Rolling Stones, who this year celebrate their 50th anniversary: “please allow me to introduce myself...” Rosie Birkett here, and I’m very excited to have taken up the reins as editor of Four’s International and UK editions. I’ve been a freelance journalist specialising in food, chefs and travel for the past four years, and it’s fantastic to be joining a title with such dedication to discovering and profiling the world’s best chefs. Four – which, in its short existence, has already carved out a niche giving readers an intimate insight into the world’s leading culinary talent – is unique in the way it brings together not just gastronomy, high-end lifestyle and travel, but wine, luxury goods and art.
I hope you’ll agree this issue features an exhilarating line-up of international chefs, and they have provided us with some of their recipes for you to try at home. We’re proud to present content from Italian super-chef Carlo Cracco, whose restaurant in Milan has two Michelin stars and who has cooked with industry luminaries like Alain Ducasse and Gualtiero Marchesi.
The one and only Margot Janse joins us from South Africa, where she’s built up a reputation for her restaurant in Franschhoek as the best in Africa; and French/American celebrity chef Eric Ripert, who has three Michelin stars at Le Bernardin in New York, takes a break from filming to talk to us.
Germany’s Sven Elverfeld, who’s been instrumental in putting his country on the global gastronomic map, tells us how people originally doubted his venture at The Ritz Carlton in Wolfsburg – which is now 22nd Best Restaurant in the World. It’s also a jam-packed issue when it comes to travel, with dispatches from the Nordic Food Lab in Denmark and the trailblazing Catbird Seat restaurant in Nashville, as well as turning the travel spotlight on Beirut, where journalist Dave Drummond finds a city whose chic rooftop nightlife belies its recent war-torn past. As well as focusing on chefs at the top of their game, we want the magazine to showcase up-and-coming talent, which is why this issue we welcome new columnist Jeremy Chan, who will be charting his career change from financier to fledgling chef in ‘Into the Fire’ on page 29. Oh, and in case you’re wondering who’s responsible for our brilliant piece of cover art, turn to page 20 to read our feature about Russian ‘grunge artist’ Lora Zombie… I hope you enjoy!
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news • trends • events
hot in the city
How a slew of new openings are putting London’s Square Mile on the global dining map
hile Europe is still very much in the midst of economic crisis, London’s financial district is undergoing a lifestyle boom, thanks to a cluster of notable launches from respected restaurant operators and lauded chefs. Things have been hotting up since June, which saw the opening of Upstairs at The Ten Bells on Commercial Street, the new permanent restaurant from Isaac McHale of The Young Turks, the talented chefs’ collective that ran an acclaimed pop-up at the East-End pub for six months prior to this launch. McHale has returned to the pub minus his previous cooking partner James Lowe (who’s currently looking for his own site), but with service sidekicks Johnny Smith and Daniel Willis of the Clove Club, and with the addition of former Ledbury chef Giorgio Ravelli, who’s heading up the restaurant day-to-day, crafting British à la carte creations like blueberry mousse, milk crisps and tarragon. Meanwhile, Soho restaurant king Russell Norman, the man behind the boundlessly successful Polpo and its siblings, has made his first foray into East London with the opening of Polpo Smithfield, a slightly bigger version of his modish West End bacaro. “There’s the same focus on great ingredients and classic, simple Italian dishes and it’s the sort of place that will get slightly naughty in the evenings,” Norman told us, referencing the bespoke Negroni bar downstairs. And on the subject of Italian cuisine, Calabrian chef Francesco Mazzei is launching a second venture in the City, just around the back of his acclaimed L’Anima restaurant. According to a spokesperson for the restaurant, L’Anima Cafe will be an “offspring of L’Anima, with a take-away element and wine. It’ll be more affordable, the sort of place you could come into in the morning for your coffee and croissant, or come after work to get a bottle of your favourite wine and house-made pasta to take home. It will have communal tables and an informal feel.” September is shaping up to be a big month for the Square Mile’s collective stomach, with luxury Asian restaurant group Hakkasan expanding into Broadgate to launch the 100-seat Chrysan – an exciting collaboration with three-Michelin-starred Japanese chef Yoshihiro Murata, who’s considered to be the godfather of ‘kaiseki’ – Japanese haute cuisine. Chrysan is Murata’s first international opening, and will see local chefs working alongside Japanese chefs to showcase Japanese regional specialities, creating refined dishes made with local produce. “I visited Scotland and tried the local salmon, both native and farmed, lobsters and crab, and I was very impressed by the amazing quality,” said the chef, who’s been scouring the UK for suppliers in the run up to the opening, rather than flying ingredients over. “English pork is very good too. There are so many high quality, superb ingredients in the UK so what is the point of sending foodstuff from Japan over to London?”
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news • trends • events
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created by restaurateurs. It is as much about ‘meet and eat’ as ‘sleep’. It also derives its inspiration from many of the things that make London buzz: cultural diversity, local neighbourhoods, understated wit and an easy sense of self.” The 80-bedroom hotel will feature two restaurants and three bars, including a rooftop terrace and a ‘secret garden’ on the first floor within the atrium, with a specially commissioned sculpture by award-winning designers Grace and Webb. Crowning the hotel is Angler Restaurant on the seventh floor, with views across the London skyline. It will be a quintessentially British seafood restaurant overseen by Tony Fleming, previously Executive Chef at One Aldwych, with the menu focusing on seafood and shellfish from across the British Isles. On the ground floor, 3 South Place will be a relaxed, informal, all-day restaurant for hotel residents, City customers and East End locals. Next door, 3 South Place Bar will feature distinctive cocktails, and wines and Champagnes by the glass, with an atmosphere that will be buzzing late into the night thanks to its 24-hour licence and after-hours DJs.
Keralan Fish Pie, Cinnamon Soho, London Light, fragrant and fresh – we fell hook, line and sinker for Vivek Singh’s Brit-Indian creation at his new Soho restaurant. Inspired by the Keralan favourite, moily – a fish curry made with coconut milk, curry leaves, green chillies and ginger – the dish combines a curried seafood base with a golden flaky pastry lid. Delish.
© ISTOCK: ANDREAROAD
While Murata will be overseeing the operation as executive chef, his protégé and head chef Daisuke Hayashi will be working with him, heading up the daily running of the kitchen. The restaurant will include a chef’s table for eight and a 12-capacity private dining room, along with a seated bar offering cocktails and lighter dishes. And it's not just the food that will turn heads at Chrysan, as the interior is being created by the legendary Kyoto designer Yoshiaki Nakamura, who is known for combining traditional Kyoto tea house architecture with contemporary Danish design. Just adjacent to the restaurant, the group is also launching HKK, a high-end Cantonese restaurant headed up by Hakkasan’s executive chef Tong Chee Hwee, who will be creating ‘experimental Chinese cuisine’ in a single tasting menu that draws on the long-standing Chinese banqueting tradition. At the same time the D&D Group (the Blueprint Cafe, Launceston Place) is opening two ambitious, City-based projects in September – the four-tiered Old Bengal Warehouse in Bishopsgate and its first hotel: The South Place Hotel which will be situated between Moorgate and Liverpool Street. The Bishopsgate development will incorporate food and drink, with a British grill restaurant, cocktail bar, fish restaurant and a specialist wine shop in the oldest surviving warehouses built by the East India Company. The sites, which are being designed by Conran & Partners, will occupy the ground and basement floors of the Grade II listed Georgian brick warehouse covering over 10,000 square feet in New Street, EC2. New Street Grill will be a modern take on the British grill restaurant, with a menu of meat and fish dishes cooked using the Josper grill, and a wine list focused on red wines from Bordeaux, Burgundy and the New World. Fish Market will be a relaxed taste of the British seaside, with coastal classics like cockles and whelks and a daily changing ‘fish of the day’, as well as a seafood bar offering a selection of platters alongside English wines. The Old Bengal Bar will serve cocktails by the bar’s head mixologist Milos Popovic, and in a similar vein to the New Street Grill, the New Street Wine Shop will specialise in wines from Bordeaux and Burgundy. South Place Hotel will combine the buzz of D&D London’s restaurants with Conran-designed interiors and specially commissioned work by contemporary London artists. Bruce Robertson, the new property’s General Manager said: “It’s a hotel
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news • trends • events
London’s Galvin brothers make their Scottish restaurant debut in Edinburgh They are known for creating some of London’s smartest, best-loved French restaurants, but this summer chef siblings Chris and Jeff Galvin are branching out of England with the launch of two new restaurants in the Scottish capital. The Michelin-starred brothers are opening in Edinburgh’s iconic Caledonian hotel, which is reopening as a luxury Waldorf Astoria following the completion of a £24 million program of upgrades and restoration. The two new eateries mark a steady flow of expansion for the chefs, who run the Michelinstarred Galvin at Windows in the London Hilton Park Lane (where the bar has just undergone a £500,000 refurbishment); Galvin la Chapelle and Café au Vin in Spitalfields; Bistrot de Luxe on Baker Street and Demoiselle by Galvin which opened at Harrods Department Store in March this year. “It’s our first project outside of London – and it’s really big,” Chris told Four. “We want to celebrate An artist's impression of the Scottish ingredients and showcase Scottish talent Galvin Brasserie de Luxe and over the next couple of years we’re going to spend a lot of time visiting farms and going on shoots to find the very best ingredients. We’ve just come back from a trip up there with the guys from the North Highlands Initiative, and were so impressed by the produce. We’re joining some top chefs already up there in Scotland, and people like Martin Wishart and Andrew Fairlie have been very welcoming.” The Caledonian is a former railway station which has been a hotel since 1931, and the décor of the restaurants will be in keeping with the its glamorous aesthetic – the marble floors, sweeping stairways and bronze work that harks back to the golden age of rail travel. The 50-seat Pompadour will be an upscale French-meets-Scottish fine dining restaurant with locally sourced ingredients and seasonally inspired menus, matched with a cellar of handpicked wines and drinks from the cocktail bar, which has stunning views over Edinburgh Jeff and Chris Galvin Castle. The ground floor, 140-seat Brasserie de Luxe will be more in the mould of the bustling Parisian brasseries so beloved of the Francophile brothers, with a crustacea display at the heart of the brasserie, a large circular bar to dine at, and menus featuring brasserie classics and prix fixe menus. Chef Craig Sandal, who was previously with Jeff Bland at the Balmoral hotel, will oversee both restaurants, along with Dale Dewsbury, who spent 10 years at Gleneagles with Andrew Fairlie, and will be in charge of front of house, as general manager for both restaurants.
Diary: Food events worth travelling for kitchen in Dorset. These monthly packages give guests the chance to get up close and personal with the darling of the UK’s food scene who will share his philosophy on ingredients, techniques and recipes. seasonedtravel.co.uk/events/ mark-hix-kitchen-table/
UK Dom Pérignon Dark Dinners AugustSeptember, various restaurants
Mexico Mexican Culinary Festival November 7-11, One & Only Palmilla The luxury Mexican resort is launching a new state-of-theart outdoor kitchen and herb garden to tie-in with its annual food festival which features some of the country’s best chefs and wines from the Guadalupe valley. oneandonlyresorts.com
Some of the UK’s top restaurants are hosting foodmatching dinners with Dom Pérignon to launch its 2003 Vintage. Restaurants including Bristol’s Michelin-starred Casamia (beginning September), and Gleaneagles in Scotland, will create unique menus to compliment the champagne. facebook.com/ domperignon
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Mark Hix launches Kitchen Table working lunch packages Lauded British chef/ restaurateur Mark Hix and foodie travel operator Seasoned Travel have launched exclusive packages offering two nights accommodation in Lyme Regis and a cooking demonstration from the chef in his home
Abergavenny Food Festival, 15-16 September “To food as Cannes is to film” – according to the Observer Food Monthly, this annual gathering of Britain’s top chefs and artisan food producers includes masterclasses, tutored tastings, food talks, walks and demos. abergavennyfoodfestival.com
news • trends • events A suite at the Inkaterra Machu Picchu
Inkaterra in Peru launches edible garden and honey-making classes Inkaterra Hotels – a small collection of boutique ecolodges in Peru – has been spearheading the Peruvian food movement for over 35 years, serving authentic, locally-sourced ingredients and traditional dishes across its hotels in Machu Picchu, the Amazon rainforest and Cusco. At Inkaterra Machu Picchu, guests will now have the opportunity to pick their own lunch in the hotel’s edible garden, within the hotel’s 12 hectares of cloud forest where vegetables like native potatoes, pumpkins and lettuces grow in abundance. Honey-making classes and visits to the twenty beehives are also available, and guests can pick their own organic tea and coffee beans which are processed then served at the hotel. That's some stylish self catering! inkaterra.com
FOUR loves Aperol spritz Move over Pimm’s. Perfect for poolside or party, this fizzy Italian aperitif has been filling glasses from Berlin to New York all summer and will be our tipple of choice for as long as we can stretch it.
Legendary London club Boujis leaps into the Hong Kong Market
Montréal Taste Montréal Restaurant Week 1-11 November
Portugal Algarve International Gourmet Festival January 2013
Sicily Sagra dell'Arancino Ficarazzi: Sicily's east coast 9th - 12th September
Considered one of the most popular gastronomy events in Europe, this festival only features Michelin-starred chefs and will include demos and appearances from over 20 of the world’s most celebrated chefs. internationalgourmetfestival.com
Fans of Sicilian cuisine will know about arancini – the small deep-fried risotto balls traditionally filled with meat sauce or melted mozzarella and ham. In Ficarazzi they like them so much they’ve dedicated a festival to them. thinksicily.com
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Montréal’s food scene is growing apace and to reflect that comes the Canadian city’s inaugural restaurant festival, which will show off the best of of its culinary talent – from upscale five star restaurants to its quirky little Bring Your Own eateries. Restaurants confirmed include Bar Tazaflores, Birks Café par Europea, Brasserie T, Chez Delmo, Chez l'Épicier, Chez Victoire, Ferreira Café, Toqué, and Van Horne, Cuisine du Marché. tastemtl.com/index-en.php
The Cube By Electrolux Fresh from Paris and Madrid, the temporary restaurant on the top of Royal Festival Hall has showcased some of the UK’s top chefs, including Sat Bains, Claude Bosi and Daniel Clifford, whose dinner we attended with glee. It’s there until September – see electrolux.co.uk/Cube/ London
Palacio Nazarenas Peru With its oxygenated suites, Cusco’s first infinity pool and a gourmet restaurant from Peru’s hottest chef Virgilio Martinez (who's just opened Lima in London), this latest boutique hotel from Orient Express has gone straight to the top of our travel wishlist. Watch this space…
Poolside at the Palacio Nazarenas
© istock: CactuSoup, dasbild
Glamourous nightclub Boujis, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary as a favoured London nightspot among the city’s flash pack, is launching a new site in Hong Kong, due to open in September. The new club will be located on Pottinger Street – renowned as a meeting place for the Hong Kong society crowd and will showcase the An artist's image of the new Boujis in Hong Kong brand’s signature offerings alongside a new, British-inspired twilight food menu. The venue will house award-winning mixologists serving their cocktail creations, and is being designed by Tim Mutton of Blacksheep, the hospitality visionaries behind London coolspots Whisky Mist and The Cuckoo Club. The interior of the club will combine British and Hong Kong heritage, featuring panelled walls and intricate mouldings along with state-of the-art sound and lighting systems. A new, exclusive international membership will be launched simultaneously with Boujis Hong Kong, providing members with global access to Ignite Group’s sites and international and national pop-ups. Recent projects include Boujis at Battersea Powerstation, Boujis and Roberto Cavalli Fashion Week Party, Boujis Bentley Party and Boujis’ annual summer party in Ibiza.
Our fruit; our signature
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Beautiful insanity We profile the Russian 'grunge artist` taking the international gallery scene by storm
Above: The ‘Depressed Superheroes’ series Opposite page: ‘Amy’
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Gourmet Food London
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he creator of our inspired cover image is 22-year-old self-taught Russian artist Lora Zombie, who made a name for herself on the urban and street art scene, amassing a following for her bold and subversive watercolour works. She’s since broken into the gallery circuit, with her recent Toronto and Los Angeles shows ‘Drugs and Unicorns’ and ‘Whales. Love. Procrastination.’ proving hugely successful. Next on the agenda for the young talent is New York, where she’ll be exhibiting a one-off show for one night in November – the details of which were not confirmed when we went to press. Working in watercolours and mixed media – the artist flicks paint onto the canvas with skilled precision, allowing it to run down the page and giving her pictures a palpable sense of freedom and catharsis. She’ll then pencil or colour in intricate details, using the paint as a base from which to work. Her self-proclaimed ‘grunge art’ is at once magical, nostalgic, psychedelic and often tinged with satire, sadness or irony – playing on notions of faded childhood ideals, American pop culture and human behaviour. In her ‘Depressed Superheros’ series (featured on P104) Batman looks mournful sitting beside his cape, which is drying on a washing line; while in another picture Robin despairs into his arms on
Her self proclaimed ‘grunge art’ is at once magical, nostalgic, psychedelic and often tinged with satire, sadness or irony – playing on notions of faded childhood ideals, American pop culture and human behavior. a swing, and Flash mourns his bleeding, blistered feet beside his bright yellow boots. Faded or degraded depictions of the iconic and the familiar are a defining feature of her work, and she says that drawing on “the world’s pop culture is an easy way for me to express my ideas.” Animals are another source of constant inspiration for Lora, who features everything from killer whales to monkeys, tigers, birds and pandas in her pictures, often with an impressively lifelike intricacy that juxtaposes brilliantly with the more surreal elements of her work. Children are also a recurring theme, and often star alongside the animals in her pictures. When asked about her
preoccupation with small people, Lora just says this: “I like children and old people most, in between there are lots of jerks!” And where did the name come from? From her other main influence: music. “The Gorillaz' artist studio was called 'Zombie Flesh Eaters', and I thought if ever I were to work there I should have a good artist name to fit in,” she says. But if she keeps on going the way she is, the chances are it will be Lora that has her own artists’ studio. lorazombie.com, eyesonwalls.com
‘Drugs and Unicorns’
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5 chefs, 5 questions Some of the world’s best chefs answer your questions Fergus Henderson
Chef and co-founder the iconic nose-totail restaurants St John; St John Bread and Wine and the St John Hotel
Three-Michelin starred chef at De Librije in the Netherlands Which Chefs do you admire the most? Michel Bras and Marc Veyrat. What is your favourite comfort food? Spaghetti with smoked eel. What qualitites do you value most in a friend? Honesty. Do you believe you can ever achieve culinary perfection? No, there is always room for improvement. What’s your favourite chef’s book? The books by Heston Blumenthal Purest – the third book by Jonnie Boer and his wife and co-chef Thérèse is published this month. librije.com @delibrije
Which Chefs do you admire the most? I admire most chefs who are doing a good job. What is your favourite comfort food? Lasagne, it speaks for itself! What qualitites do you value most in a friend? A spirit of adventure. Do you believe you can ever achieve culinary perfection? It depends on the moment. What’s your favourite chef’s book? Simon Hopkinson’s Roast Chicken and Other Stories: it works. He loves food – it all makes sense. Fergus Henderson is author of Nose to Tail Eating: A Kind of British Cooking and Beyond Nose to Tail: A Kind of British Cooking: Part II stjohnrestaurant.com @Mr_St_JOHN
Chef owner of Momofuku restarants in New York, Sydney, and Toronto – which opens this month Which Chefs do you admire the most? There are so many chefs I admire, from Ferran and Albert Adrià to Andoni Aduriz, René Redzepi, Marco Canora, Jonathan Benno & Wylie Dufresne. What is your favourite comfort food? Bread and good butter. What qualitites do you value most in a friend? Honesty and loyalty. Do you believe you can ever achieve culinary perfection? No, but you can always keep striving to be better. What’s your favourite chef’s book? White Heat, by Marco Pierre White. David Chang is author of the Momofuku cookbook and editor of Lucky Peach magazine. Momofuku.com @davidchang
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Peter Goossens Three-Michelin-starred chef at Hof Van Cleve in Kruishoutem, Belgium Which Chefs do you admire the most? Traditional chefs like Robuchon, Ducasse, Redzepi, Troisgros. What is your favourite comfort food? Chicory with ham; pork cheek stew with Trappist beer and asparagus cooked in the Flemish way [with hard boiled eggs, butter, lemon and parsley]. What qualitites do you value most in a friend? Honesty. Do you believe you can ever achieve culinary perfection? Perfection is very relative. What is perfection? My goal every day is trying to achieve perfection so that customers leave my restaurant happy. What’s your favourite chef’s book? Robert Lafond’s books about the chefs Girardet, Robuchon and Alain Chapel, and Modernist Cuisine by Nathan Myhrvold. hofvancleve.com
Harald Wohlfahrt Three-Michelin-starred chef at Die Schwarzwaldstube restaurant in Baiersbronn in the Black Forest
What is your favourite comfort food? I love asparagus from Germany. What qualitites do you value most in a friend? I appreciate it if friends don’t have any mysteries. Do you believe you can ever achieve culinary perfection? To my mind, culinary perfection is a subjective sensation. What's your favourite chef's book? 'Der Junge Koch', a school book for apprentice chefs published by Pfannenberg. Harald Wohlfarht is author of All About Cocktails & Barfood and other cookbooks. traube-tonbach.de
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© gabriele stabile: momofuku; Hotel Traube-Tonbach; jean pierre gabriel; Patricia Niven; Restaurant De librije
Which Chefs do you admire the most? Philippe Rochat from the restaurant Crissier in Switzerland.
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Into the Fire
Into the fire
Four’s new columnist, aspiring chef Jeremy Chan, charts his career shift from finance to fine dining
© Marie van Berchem
t was 10pm and I had been sitting at my desk for what seemed like an eternity. For two years I’d been feigning productivity in that colossal financial institution, and that night, like all others, I was squirming in my seat like a steed in his pen, yearning for my chicken. Yes, my chicken – the succulent bird that was nestled in the oven at home, gently coaxed to a temperature that would allow the cellular walls of the meat’s structure to burst and ooze with flavour. I had brined it, air dried it, slow cooked it for six hours, and was now about to finish it off, into the frying pan for a crisp skin, followed by an injection of “chicken” brown butter, infused with sinew and roasted essence of the wing’s skin and tendon. It was this fanatical passion, feverishly pursued in my spare time, that led me to call time on my days as a well-paid banker in a stable job, and enter the notoriously obsessive, all-encompassing world of the chef. Flavour, and the sensory diversity of food, have been recurring fascinations in my daily life. I recall two particular meals that made me want to make food my life’s work. I was 18, it was my first year at Princeton, and a close friend invited me to his home to try his parents’ native dish, the Sichuanese hot pot. The soup, held in a large bowl, was spicy to say the least, but also aromatic, rich, complex and bubbling with a velvety crimson film on top. Red hot peppers bobbled at the surface while we dipped in reams of fresh tripe, winter melon, langoustine and thinly sliced beef. It was a sort of cathartic bouillabaisse. Sweat poured off my face and neck, igniting the metabolism and leaving me with a fresh mind. I had never expected that food could instil such an immediate, palpable effect on the spirit and the body. Several years later I was in New York, about to leave college, and was lucky enough to be invited for a meal at Per Se, Thomas Keller’s famous restaurant. One dish, the “peanut butter and jelly sandwich”, revolutionised the way I would appreciate food from then on. It was a perfectly formed rectangular cube of layers – pistachio crumble, unctuous goose terrine, and a translucently ruby epidermis of rhubarb. Spread over a toasted, mattress-like brioche, the amalgam of simplicity and texture underlying the dish’s concept belied the luxury of its ingredients. I was transported back to my childhood, this food igniting Proustian recall in a single bite. Having relinquished my corporate chains, I now plan to stage (embark on the equivalent of culinary work experience) in some of the country’s best kitchens, with the hope of one day opening my own restaurant. It’s a long and volatile path that lies ahead, but to surrender to passion must surely provide the ultimate satisfaction.
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Live ants, grasshoppers and algae ice cream might not be what you’d expect from the brains behind the World’s Best Restaurant, but these are some of the future foods explored at the Nordic Food Lab. Rosie Birkett reports from Denmark
Lars Williams amidst his future food projects at the Nordic Food Lab
’m obsessed with the culinary taxonomy with the Nordic Kitchen become so ubiquitous of untapped species,” says Lars that these leading developers of Scandinavian Williams quite matter-of-factly as he food culture are turning to the critters that make picks a large brown ant off his arm and their homes among them for inspiration? Not pops it into his mouth. quite – we found the ants while foraging for late This is not an outlandish act for the tattooed chef season woodruff – but the Lab team have just and leader of the Nordic Food Lab, the innovative returned from a trip to Holland to meet leading research facility set up by Noma founders René entomologist Dr Arnold Van Huis at Wageningen Redzepi and Claus Meyer to scientifically explore University, and he’s opened their minds to the New Nordic Cuisine and other forward-looking potential of insects as ingredients. Van Huis is one Red dulse seaweed foods. The Lab is based on a houseboat moored of Europe's most outspoken exponents of insect behind Noma, but we’re standing in the depths of a pine eating, believing that these creatures, which are so widely scented forest in Roskilde, half an hour outside Copenhagen, consumed in non-Western parts of the world like Sub-Saharan and Williams is crawling with the ants we’ve disturbed from the Africa and South East Asia, could be the solution to the pulsating comfort of their mound. I pinch one, squirming, from forthcoming food crisis resulting from rapid population growth the palm of the Lab’s 26-year-old anthropologist (of course it (the global population is set to hit 2.5 billion by 2050); climate has its own anthropologist) Mark Emil Hemerson, and blink at its change and resource shortages. intense acidity and deep bitter undertones, caused by its high With his Government-funded research, Van Huis cites the levels of formic acid. protein content of the crickets and mealworms he breeds; So what's with the insects? Have the wild herbs synonymous their high levels of fatty and amino acids; rapid reproduction
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© Claes Bech-Poulsen
Live ants on crème fraîche
capacity and comparatively small greenhouse gas emissions. This, matched with their yield levels or feed-to-protein ratios (2kg of feed to 1kg meat: 12 times better than beef) and the fact they can be fed on food industry waste, rather than the land-monopolising soya required for cattle, make them a more sustainable option than conventional livestock. The Nordic Food Lab's fascination with them is less nutritional. It may be bound up in the ecological consequences, but first and foremost is the fascination for creating something delicious from new foods, and opening up people's eyes to the possibilities of ingredients that are underestimated, under-appreciated, and undiscovered. After all, this has always been at the heart of Noma – which took the seemingly obscure Scandinavian larder and translated it – through a prism of Redzepi’s artful technique, imaginative brilliance and sheer daring – into some of the world’s best cuisine. Redzepi himself has been a big driver behind the Lab's involvement in and pursuit of entomology – and Williams is running with this. “One of the core missions of the Lab is to add to the culinary vernacular,” says Williams. “We’re always searching for new things and insects are a completely new world we’ve been discovering. Coming up with creative ideas is about dissolving barriers. Everyone baulks at the idea, but it’s good to overcome perception barriers because of the creative possibilities insects entail – they have huge potential for the future of food. We
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Rose beetle larvae
consider chefs to be ‘lead users’ who can see problems and solutions in cuisine before the market does.” Back at the Lab, we taste a rich, umami-laden broth made from grasshoppers. It's a garum – an intense fermented liquid based on the Roman condiment that was originally made with various fermented fish innards, and it’s a follow-on from a fish garum Williams has created from fermenting mackerel stomachs – his hope being that he can pass the method on to other chefs and fishmongers in the city to turn fishing waste into something delicious. Neither of the garums have made it onto the menu at Noma yet, but the ants have. They're served live, on a mound of crème fraiche, which balances their powerful acidity and binds their feet, keeping them captive for the mouths of diners. As well as insects, fermentations and various fruit vinegars, algae is something else being developed here. "We have 260 varieties of seaweed in Denmark – on a similar level to Japan, but it's as alien to the Scandinavian palate as sulphur," explains Williams. Outside, Hemerson shows me an ice box bike he's made to take around the city, peddling the most delicious ice cream made from milk infused with red dulse seaweed – a natural thickener. “We’re a region filled with seaweed, but it’s not eaten here – so to captivate people we had to put it somewhere unexpected. It’s all about this delineation between what’s edible and what's inedible.”
The Master of Milan
Manuela Tomasini speaks to Carlo Cracco – Milan’s most creative chef – about his career to date, his views on Italian cuisine and the art of subtraction
orn in Vicenza but adopted by Milan, Carlo Cracco was led to Italy’s second city after an intensive, unique career path that began in local restaurant Da Remo – and took flight with the Master chef of Modern Italian cuisine, Gualtiero Marchesi – only to be enriched by time with French luminaries Alain Ducasse and Alain Senderens. Cracco remembers with admiration and pleasure his first years at Marchesi’s side: “In via Bonvesin de la Riva I learnt what work in a kitchen means: how to make a menu; create recipes; the relationship between the kitchen, plate and the final message you convey to your guests,” he says. Besides the important influence of the famous great chefs of Italian cuisine, Cracco talks passionately about his crucial meeting with Matteo Baronetto, who has been assisting him for years in the kitchen of his two-Michelin-starred Ristorante Cracco in Milan.
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Saffron risotto with grilled marrow
Cracco says of his assistant Baronetto: “From a creative point of view we live in symbiosis: he brought new concepts to my cuisine, he is always behind the new trends.” Cracco’s cuisine is double-edged, encompassing both a formal tidiness and sort of creative anarchy, where tradition meets the avant-garde, merging the cerebral with a hedonistic sensory seduction. You can find and feel the emulsion of these contrasts in his dishes: that coincidentia oppositorum which lies among the arcane mysteries of his cuisine. According to the chef, cooking does not need too many alterations or additions: it should be simple – the main thing is its taste and substance. He wants his diners to make the most of every single ingredient, choosing to place fewer elements on the plate so that their taste is clear and distinct, while at the same time combining harmoniously. Therefore “minimalism” is the mantra we always find in Cracco’s cuisine. This doesn’t mean depriving the recipes
In spite of its appearance, my cuisine is deeply Italian, I would say even Mediterranean, because these are intrinsically modern traditions, if well-interpreted
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of essential ingredients and of their characteristic taste, it means subtracting what’s not necessary – not just in terms of ingredients, but also preparation, such as a particular way of cooking or a cut. A perfect example is the famous Wiener
schnitzel (Cotoletta alla Milanese) which is cut in cubes. This recipe is everpresent on Cracco’s menu in homage to Marchesi, and in this case, instead of being served whole, as the tradition says, the guest receives it cut into cubes on
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a plate, thus emphasising the contrast of the lean meat and the crisp external golden brown crust. The recipe follows the original Milanese one with all the typical ingredients, the only variation is in the way the meat is cut.
Cracco likes every recipe he makes to have a concept underpinning it – and this concept must be both an accurate reflection of the raw materials and of the result he wants to achieve. “In spite of its appearance, my cuisine is deeply Italian, I would say even Mediterranean, because these are intrinsically modern traditions, if well-interpreted. It’s about the centrality of the raw materials compared to their transformation, and the immediacy of the cooking. It requires
a sort of self-restraint from the chef when he has to deal with a series of products that probably have no equal in the world. It never fails to surprise me…” The raw materials are worked to create new recipes, with the same traditional ingredients masterfully reinterpreted with a modern outcome, like with the Yellow Risotto, a typical Milanese speciality: “A foreign person visiting Milan always has the right to find the saffron risotto on the menu,” says Cracco: “This has inspired
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several recipes, like the saffron risotto with marrow cooked on the hot plate, or the cream with rice and saffron, always topped with grated chocolate.” Among the classic recipes that made him famous, the chef likes talking about the Marinated Egg-Yolk: a dish where the egg yolk is marinated in a purée of pinto beans for seven hours, transforming the simplest of ingredients into a culinary masterpiece. Cracco is the king of the shape – he likes playing with contrasts, exploiting every
Chef Cracco possibility to bring the dish a delicate harmony of shapes and colours, all without impairing the taste. â€œIt is a matter of involving your guest in different ways, because the reaction of the guest is the captivating factor for a chef. I would like my customers to reflect when they eat: for me this is the greatest satisfaction ever.â€? Research occupies the days of Cracco, who is continually trying to bring an
element of innovation to his ever-evolving menus, keeping change at the root of his cuisine. The chefâ€™s creativity is nomadic: inspiration comes from the terroir but also from around the world, as well as his imagination and memories, which he translates into a culinary dimension. In 2001 Cracco Restaurant merged with Peck, the historic Milanese delicatessen owned by the Stoppani
family, becoming Cracco-Peck. For the Stoppanis, the opening of the restaurant gave them the opportunity to elevate the offering of their store in a different way, putting their specialities into the service of the food industry, but from a fresh perspective, with their products being rendered into little works of art by the chef. For Cracco, it meant he was at the centre of an important source of
Marinated egg yolk
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quality raw materials for his menus. Years full of history, experience and collaboration followed, combined with the freshness of young and innovative minds: a union that led the name Cracco-Peck to the heights of food excellence. In 2007 Cracco took over the full management of the restaurant and changed its name to Cracco, refurbishing and enlarging the interior thanks to the contribution and mastery of two architects Gian Maria and Roberto Beretta. They created an elegant and comfortable environment and a great atmosphere for guests in the financial and cultural Italian crossroads that is Milan city centre. The restaurant is built on three basement floors, like a “submarine”, and Cracco followed every step of the restoration, asking the architects to give the rooms and kitchen more natural light and more air. “I had the idea to create a private room where a small group of guests can eat in a total peace and privacy,” he explains. “The table inside this room is always the first one in the restaurant to be reserved: people love privacy and also a personal approach with food”. The two-Michelin stars the restaurant was awarded are usually considered not a commensurate award, with many people believing that the chef deserves much more than this, owing to the inspired, meticulous nature of his dishes: on the one hand deeply rooted in the Italian food culture, and on the other hand exploring new culinary realities. Cracco’s guests cannot fail to be impressed by the perfection of his recipes, but the chef is ever humble. “I’m not a designer, I’m just a cook,” he insists, though it seems more accurate to compare him with an artist. When you try his dishes you can feel the consistency of the raw materials and see the colours. This isn’t just an experience for the taste buds, it’s a sensation that’s powerfully transferred to your mind. And this is exactly what makes a good cook a great chef.
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BURNT OIL CREAM WITH SEA SNAILS AND COCOA BUTTER
S SERVES 6 FOR THE OIL CREAM 1.3kg cuttlefish 450g extra virgin olive oil (ideally from Sicily or Calabria) 18g sugar 6g salt 1 Madagascan vanilla bean 50 green pea sprouts 10g Maldon salt
FOR THE SEA SNAILS 200g sea snails 1 carrot 1 stick celery 1 shallot 1 garlic clove 5 white peppercorns Bunch of parsley 4 litre water 8g kitchen salt ½ bayleaf 50g extra virgin olive oil
FOR THE BUTTER 50g extra virgin olive oil 25g cocoa butter 16 pea sprouts
FOR THE OIL CREAM Wash the cuttlefish and allow to dry on kitchen paper for approximately 1 hour. Put the cuttlefish into a large casserole, and cover it with the oil, salt, sugar, and vanilla. Place a weight on the cuttlefish and cook for 2 hours, not exceeding a
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FOR THE SEA SNAILS Add the salt to the water and cook the sea snails with the carrot, celery, white pepper and shallot. Strain and remove the snails from their shells. Cook the snails in a pressure oven at 120°C for approximately 30 minutes with a clove of garlic and ½ bayleaf. Once the cooking is finished, grill the sea snails on a hot plate with some oil. Place approximately 45g of oil cream on a serving dish and gratinate at moderate temperature for 7-8 minutes in an electric salamander or in a non-ventilated static oven for approximately 5 minutes at 240°C until the surface becomes coloured. This way you will obtain a salted burnt cream. Place the sea snails on the surface of the cream, and add a pinch of Maldon salt.
FOR THE BUTTER
temperature of 62°C. After 2 hours, strain and allow to cool until it reaches the temperature of 45°C. At that point, whizz in a food processor to make an oil cream. Chill in the fridge for approximately 2 hours.
Melt the cocoa butter and mix it with the oil. Pour into a square mould and place it in the fridge for 1 hour to set. Then remove the mixture from the mould, and grate it onto a shallow plate. Add the pea sprouts and a pinch of kitchen salt.
NOTE: This butter is flavoured with olive oil and served with the burnt cream, to evoke the aroma of new, freshly pressed olive oil.
MARINATED SALMON WITH FOIE GRAS
S SERVES 6 INGREDIENTS 750g salmon fillet(s) 140g fine salt 155g caster sugar 4g fresh dill 8 white peppercorns 20g foie gras 3g Hawaiian black salt
METHOD Mix together the salt, sugar, dill, and white pepper. Place a fillet of salmon on a plate and cover it with the mixture. Leave it marinate in the fridge for 3 days. Once the marinating is finished, rinse the fish in cold water, dry and cut it into slices of 0.5cm each. Put three slices of salmon on each serving dish, and place 2 slices of fois gras on 2 salmon slices. Put it into the salamander for half minute. Add the Hawaiian black salt to serve.
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SEITAN, SEA URCHIN ROE AND CAPERS
S SERVES 6
Mix together the flour and water and work for 5 minutes. Put the mixture into a container and cover with cold water. Leave it at ambient temperature for 7 hours then strain and keep the gluten fibre only. Rinse it in a pasta strainer. Leave it in the fridge for half a day. Take it out of the fridge one hour before
500g weak flour 300g water 12 salted capers 80g soncino salad 40g fresh sea urchin roe 4 pea flowers 8 anise flowers
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service, shape into small 15g pieces and bake in the microwave at 950 Watts for 4 minutes. Once the seitan pieces are baked, cut them in half horizontally and fill them with soncino salad and capers. Garnish with the flowers to serve.
MEDITERRANEAN RED PRAWNS ON CHARCOAL WITH YOGHURT AND FRESH CORIANDER
S SERVES 6
Peel the prawns and skewer them each on a toothpick. Place the pieces of charcoal on the fire and leave them there until they begin to glow brightly. Season the prawns with oil and salt. Place the coals on a wooden chopping board, it must be covered by a layer of kitchen salt and seaweed. Sprinkle the pieces of coal with the toasted and ground cumin seeds. Then put the prawns on top. Place the chopping board in the middle on the table and provide each guest with a plate sprinkled with yoghurt, honey, the anchovy oil, and fresh coriander. This way, each guest can cook the prawns as he/she likes, and then season them with the yoghurt sauce.
24 Mediterranean red prawns 20g acacia honey 80g oil strained from a jar of anchovies 50g fresh yoghurt 40g fresh coriander sprouts 4 pieces of natural charcoal 15g extra virgin olive oil 2g fine salt 40g toasted cumin 200g kitchen salt 50g seaweed mix 24 small toothpicks
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Who’s laughing now? When Sven Elverfeld opened Aqua in the Wolfsburg Autostadt 12 years ago, people laughed at the idea. Now his restaurant is rated 22nd Best in the World and he’s flying the flag for German cuisine. Just don’t ask him to shoot his own deer…
nternationally, nobody knows what’s going on in Germany,” says Sven Elverfeld, the threeMichelin-starred chef of Aqua restaurant in Wolfsburg. “It’s picking up though – we’re starting to get tables from Asia and Scandinavia, because slowly, slowly people are getting to know what’s going on here,” he says. What’s going on here, at The Ritz Carlton hotel in the rather unlikely setting of the industrial town of Wolfsburg – previously only famous for its Volkswagen manufacturing plant, currywurst and football team, is some of the best, most inventive cooking in the whole of Germany. As the chef rightly points out, though Wolfsburg may seem remote, it’s only an hour from Berlin, which is comparable to the time it takes to get from London to Bray to visit Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck. “People read ‘Wolfsburg’, and think ‘where’s Wolfsburg?’, but when people know we’re not far from Berlin it’s better.”
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Chef Elverfeld It’s this lack of perception that Elverfeld, with his modernist, deconstructionalist approach to cooking his native cuisine, is working towards changing, this year coming in at an impressive number 22 in the S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurant list. “It’s been amazing,” he says with a big grin. “We’ve felt the effect very strongly and we’re getting more and more international guests, which is important in Germany – especially if you’re not in a big city. “People don’t expect something new and different from Germany,” he says. “Maybe they think we are very traditional and not imaginative, but if you travel around the country you will find different kinds of cuisine at a very high level, all very innovative. It’s taken us a long time to get to where we are today, but we still need more people to open their eyes to German food.” Elverfeld opened Aqua 12 years ago, to a baffled reception.
He tells me the opening was laughed at because of the hotel’s unusual location, in the industrial depths of the Volkswagen manufacturing Autostadt with its ominous looming chimneys and concrete landscape. In fact, the restaurant’s dramatic backdrop – all stark lines and shiny glass curves – is a constant source of inspiration for him, and he draws on the aesthetics of his surroundings when plating his food. “The Autostadt is a very unique place,” he says. “Some guests say it feels like you’re in the harbour in New York or somewhere, and the architecture inspires me. “Nobody thought we’d be this successful, even I doubted it. But if you cook food that shows you’re dedicated to quality, and you’re innovative, it doesn’t matter what the place is like – the people will come.” The food at Aqua certainly does both of these things – with the chef utilising some of the best of Germany’s suppliers and
The 'Corned beef from Muritz lamb with Frankfurt-style green sauce, potato and egg
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Secret de Grands Chefs
Each bottle of GOSSET Champagne is a source of inspiration... an invitation to wine and food matches, to the meeting of flavours and aromas.
The oldest Wine House in Champagne: AĂż 1584 www.champagne-gosset.com To source Gosset Champagnes in your country : email@example.com GOSSET.indd 1
REISETBAUER The Pure Taste of Nature Hans Reisetbauer is a distiller, fruit-grower, farmer, forester, machine-builder and traveller. The Reisetbauer family farm, Kirchdorfergut, is located in the Hausruckviertel district of Upper Austria. Because of its favourable soils and a climate with wide ďŹ‚uctuations in temperature, it is one of the best Austrian regions for growing fruit. The fruit for the distillery, ranging from Williams pears and apples to apricots and rowanberries, is cultivated on 18 hectares surrounding the huge foursided farmhouse complex with its interior courtyard. An indispensable ingredient in making high-quality distillates is the perfect quality of the fruit. That is why the Reisetbauer family tends the orchards with the utmost of care, beginning with expert selection of trees adapted to the special growing conditions, continuing with rigorous pruning to reduce yield and improve quality, and ending in the harvest, which is conducted in numerous stages to guarantee that the fruit has been ideally ripened. In order to best preserve the powerful aroma of ideally ripened fruit, mashing and fermentation are carried out immediately after harvesting. Fermentation takes place at carefully controlled temperatures before the mash undergoes double distillation by the traditional method in a copper pot still. The still was specially designed by Hans Reisetbauer in cooperation with Christian Carl with a number of detail of construction that make it possible to retain an unusually high percentage of the original aroma. Reisetbauer Eau-de-Vies are 100 per cent genuine, pure and unadulterated. Under no circumstances are sugar or fragrances ever added. Hans Reisetbauer is named as the best Austrian distiller 2012 and he is the winner of the FalstaďŹ€ Spirits Trophy Award.
www.reisetbauer.at oďŹƒce@reisetbauer.at Reisetbauer 2.indd 56
Elverfeld's 'iced hand-formed' cheese dish
produce for the imaginative dishes he creates using cuttingedge techniques. As well as drawing on global influences, and culinary memories from countries he’s worked in and visited (see the marinated mackerel with Cretan salad recipe), Elverfeld is known for deconstructing and re-imagining regional and traditional German dishes, like his famous ““Simmered corned beef from Müritz lamb with Frankfurt-style green sauce, potato and egg” (pictured on P52). One recipe that he’s particularly excited about when we speak is 'Iced hand-formed cheese – homage to my native land’(pictured above) – his modern take on “Handkäse”, a
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culinary speciality of Hessen, Elverfeld’s home region. It’s a small, translucent, sour milk cheese which gets its name from the way it’s hand-made, and is often served as an appetizer or as a snack. Many people find its rather pungent aroma too strong, but the chef has found a way of making it lighter and texturally intriguing, by Thermomixing it into a cream with the ingredients it’s traditionally served with – chopped shallots; Hessen apple wine, caraway seeds and cream, then forming it into balls and freezing it with liquid nitrogen. The result is a cool, light, brittle, hollow cheese ball that he serves at the table with fried, buttered bread croutons and the
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I want people to leave Wolfsburg wanting to come back because it’s a unique experience. traditional white wine vinegar and chive vinaigrette that begin to melt it in front of the guest. It’s an almost unrecognisable version of a dish that, once tasted, evokes childhood memories for many of Aqua’s native diners, and it represents Elverfeld’s pledge to play with ideas of ‘luxury’ ingredients. “For me, luxury is something whereby you take a traditional product and remake it in a new dimension. As chefs, we have the power to show the guests that a simple, humble or traditional product rendered in a new, improved way can be more interesting that just the usual lobster or turbot.” Like the resourceful, traditional recipes he riffs on, his starting point is local, seasonal produce. “Mostly it’s the product that gives me the ideas,” he says. “For me, there might be a traditional thing that inspires me – but it’s also about the product, the season and the supplier keeping you up to date with what they have.” And after a significant amount of time in the same kitchen, he’s built up a network of trusted suppliers that includes his own hunter, who provides the restaurant with freshly shot deer and homemade sausages from the surrounding area. “It was funny because I went hunting with him once and I saw a deer. He asked me to shoot it but I just couldn’t. I said, ‘I can cook it but don’t ask me to kill it’. I’m very proud that I have my own
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Elverfeld: A Cookbook Sven Elverfeld’s cookbook has been a major project for the chef over the past year. The elaborately illustrated, 500-page book features more than 75 recipes of signature dishes as well as culinary memories of the last four years at Aqua, allowing insights into Elverfeld’s distinctive style, as well as the motivation behind it. The book is available in a limited edition English version for € 110. For more information see restaurant-aqua.de/en/boutique/
© RITZ-CARLTON WOLFSBURG
supplier hunting in our region here, it means that I know where my meat is coming from and that it’s not vacuum packed. He hunts at the weekend and gives me all the parts of the animal I need – like the liver which has to be very fresh.” With regards to kitchen technique, Elverfeld is renowned for his clever manipulation of ingredients using progressive, sometimes even scientific techniques. For his featured recipe of langoustine with char-grilled pork belly, bulls heart-tomato, crustacean mayonnaise and balsamic emulsion, the chef uses a centrifuge procured from a laboratory to create a smooth emulsion of aged balsamic vinegar. “As a chef you have to be like a small child – to try everything and be curious,” he says. “Sometimes it doesn’t work and you have to forget it, but we’re using these techniques so there’s more variety for our guests. I want people to leave Wolfsburg wanting to come back because it’s a unique experience. “I think the future is getting back to the product, but in a clever way, with all the knowledge we have now – presented with nice technique, but there needs to be a harmony between the presentation and the flavour, because the flavour is what lasts in the guests’ memories and minds. You can’t lose the product.”
La passione per il â€œLambrusco Grappello Rubertiâ€? di Quistello www.cantinasocialequistello.it tel. +39 0376 618118 Cantina Quistello.indd 1
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BEEF TARTARE À LA BORSCHT (HOT/COLD); BEETROOT, SOUR CREAM AND IMPERIAL CAVIAR
S SERVES 8
TO MAKE THE SOUR CREAM SCOOPS
TO MAKE THE SOUR CREAM SCOOPS
FOR THE BORSCHT BROTH
3 litres liquid nitrogen 8 plastic bowls of 6cm diameter – transparent and divisible Baking spray
Pour the liquid nitrogen in a high-sided special canister. Spray the baking spray in the inside of the plastic bowls. Stir the chilled sour cream mixture. Using a funnel, half-fill 4 of the plastic bowls with the mixture. Cover each bowl with another bowl to make a sphere. Turn it around with both hands so that the mixture spreads evenly in the inner of the plastic bowl and sticks to the whole of the inside wall. Let it float in the liquid nitrogen while turning it in every direction. Remove from the nitrogen after one minute. Put it immediately into a deep freezer. After 10-20 minutes, remove the plastic bowl from the frozen sour cream scoop. Melt a 4cm diameter hole into the scoop by spinning it around as fast as possible in a very hot pan. Store it, padded and covered, in the freezer at -40°C.
1.5 litre beetroot juice 500ml beef consommé 55g Dijon mustard 40g tarragon vinegar 75g raspberry vinegar 10g caraway 10g mustard seeds 6 pieces allspice 3 bayleaves 4 sprigs dill 10g salt 5g sugar
FOR THE TARTARE 150g fillet of beef 15g finely cubed beetroot 15g yellow beetroot 10g finely cubed blanched cabbage 5g boiled mustard seeds 10g cucumber broth 10g ketchup 3g minced dill 3g grape seed oil 15g borscht broth 2g salt 1g pepper 1g ground caraway 40g Imperial caviar 8 tsp croûtons of dark farmhouse bread
FOR THE SOUR CREAM MIXTURE 450g crème fraîche 350g milk 50g lemon juice 3 dashes Tabasco 10g salt 5g sugar
TO GARNISH Small, equally-sized Swiss chard leaves Scarlet cress Red and white beetroot (variety: Chioggia), sliced thinly into rounds and raw marinated A little bit of purée of stewed yellow beetroot.
METHOD FOR THE BORSCHT BROTH Mix the beetroot juice with a robust beef consommé, all other ingredients and spices. Boil it up and simmer it for about 20 minutes. Strain it through a fine cloth strainer and season if required.
TO SERVE FOR THE TARTARE Cut the fillet of beef into fine cubes, combine it with the other ingredients except the caviar and croutons. To complete the tartare: Form the tartare into rounds of 4cm diameter. Place a small scoop of the caviar on top of each one and leave to chill. Before serving, remove the rounds and sprinkle with the croutons.
FOR THE SOUR CREAM MIXTURE Mix the crème fraîche with the milk. Season it with lemon juice, Tabasco, salt and sugar.
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Place the tartare in the centre of a deep plate. Put the frozen sour cream scoop, with the hole to the bottom, carefully on top of the tartare. Flame the sour cream scoop quickly to make it less solid at the top. Dress small dashes of yellow beetroot purée with a dash bottle onto the sour cream scoop and fix the Swiss chard leaves, the Scarlet cress and the slices of Chioggia beetroot to the dashes of purée. At the table, pour the borscht broth onto the middle of the scoop using a sauce boat.
MARINATED MACKEREL WITH CRETAN SALAD
S SERVES 4
FOR THE MACKEREL
FOR THE MACKEREL
1 Breton mackerel, 500-600g 100g coarse sea salt 100g fine sea salt Olive oil, white pepper and sea salt from the grinder for marinating
Gut, clean and fillet the mackerel, then pat dry. Mix the salts and spread over a metal plate. Place the fillets with the flesh face down on the salt - do not allow the salt to touch the skin. Allow to marinade for 40-45 minutes and then rinse the salt off with cold water. Place the fillet with the flesh side down, on a perforated metal plate. Pour scalding hot water over the skin and pat dry. Slice each fillet into four slices of 10cm length and 1cm width. Store the fillet slices in olive oil with the skin side up. Shortly before serving, pat dry the flesh side of the fillet slices and season with salt and pepper.
FOR THE CRETAN SALAD Goods from Greece are preferred for this dish 40g red bell peppers 40g green pointed peppers ½ cucumber 25g white onions 4 cherry tomatoes 4 kalamata olives
FOR THE CLEAR TOMATO BROTH 8 vine-ripened tomatoes 1 small sprig of oregano Spice bag containing 2 juniper berries, 4 white peppercorns and 1 star anise A little bit of white balsamic Sea salt Tabasco Xanthan
FOR THE FETA ‘SNOW’ AND CUBES 120g feta cheese brine 90g feta cheese 30g milk Salt
FOR THE OREGANO 10g fresh oregano
Cut the red pepper into dice of 1cm x 1cm. Slice the green pepper into fine slices of 2.5cm x 0.2cm. Slice the white onion into fine slices of 2.5cm x 0.2cm. Peel the cucumber and cut the peel into fine cubes. Slice the peeled cucumber into 0.5cm thick slices. Cut out the core of every cucumber slice into rounds of 2cm diameter, and halve them. Dice the cucumber flesh into 0.5cm x 0.5cm cubes. Chill. Halve the olives and slice them. Remove the seeds from the cherry tomatoes and cut the flesh into little triangles. Store every ingredient separately in the chiller. To serve, stir and season all ingredients together.
FOR THE CLEAR TOMATO BROTH Wash the tomatoes, remove the stems, chop and mix. Bring to the boil and add the oregano and bag of spices, and allow to simmer. Afterwards, hang up to strain through a cloth strainer and collect the clear tomato broth. After 3-4 hours,
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FOR THE FETA ‘SNOW’ AND CUBES Crumble 40g of the feta cheese into cube-like pieces. Mix the brine with the rest of the cheese, the milk and the salt, season and strain it through a fine sieve. Put it into the Pacojet and freeze at -40°C. Before serving, Pacotize the frozen feta twice to produce the feta ‘snow’.
FOR THE DAKOS Break the dakos into small cubes and sprinkle with the salt water. Stir together with the olive oil and vinegar.
FOR THE CRETAN SALAD
FOR THE DAKOS 20g Dakos bread (dried rusk-like barley bread from Greece) Water mixed with sea salt 1tbsp Cretan olive oil 1tbsp red wine vinegar
season the clear tomato broth with sea salt and a dash of Tabasco. Bind it with xanthan. Vacuum the chilled tomato broth so that any air bubbles disappear.
FOR THE OREGANO Pick off 12 small leaves and store them in a wet paper towel for the garnish. Pick the rest, put them on a paper towel and dry in the microwave. Pass it through a sieve so as to form a powder, and store it in a closed container. Season the Cretan salad with the oregano powder before serving.
TO SERVE On each plate, place a fillet of mackerel with both dark and light skin if possible. Arrange the seasoned salad ingredients and the oregano leaves between the fillets. Coat the salad with the gelatinized tomato broth. Combine the dakos and the cubes of feta cheese and arrange on the left side of the plate, next to the salad. Shortly before serving, add the frozen feta ‘snow’ and sprinkle with olive oil.
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LANGOUSTINE and CHAR-GRILLED YOUNG PORK BELLY
BULL'S HEART TOMATO, CRUSTACEAN MAYONNAISE, BALSAMIC EMULSION
S Serves 8 For the LANGOUSTINES 8 langoustines Olive oil 1 sprig of thyme Fresh butter Sea salt
For the pork belly 500g young pork belly (edges approx 10cmx10cm)
2tbsp Carpier charcoal oil Salt and pepper Device: Julabo water bath Device: Big Green Egg charcoal grill 1 handful charcoal
For the kroepoek (lobster crackers) 100g lobster meat 100g tapioca flour 2tbsp water Salt, pepper, cayenne pepper
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20g lobster roe
For the tomato coulis 1kg tomatoes (Pelati) 3 shallots, finely diced 1 clove garlic, finely chopped 50g diced carrot 50g diced celeriac Spice pouch (3 bay leaves, 2 cloves, 6 juniper berries, 5 black & white peppercorns, 2 pimentos, 1 star anise) Salt, pepper, aged balsamic vinegar
Olive oil 1 Bull’s Heart tomato, finely diced with approx 0.5cm of the skin removed
in the olive oil for 1 minute. Finally, add the thyme and the fresh butter, baste the langoustines with the butter and fry.
the tomato fruit pulp that looks like a strawberry. Season lightly with salt and temper lukewarm.
FOR THE TOMATO ROLLS
FOR THE PORK BELLY
2 small firm tomatoes (Bull’s Heart) 5tbsp tomato coulis Olive oil
FOR THE LOBSTER ROE POWDER
4 tomatoes (Kumato variety*) Sea salt * The inner fruit pulp and kernels of the Kumato variety look very much like a strawberry
Season the pork belly with salt and pepper and sear briefly on the grill for 2-3 mins on all sides. Allow to cool and vacuum together with the charcoal oil. Cook for 20 hours at 72°C sous-vide. Allow the pork to cool and remove the rind. Cut 3 slices per portion (2mm thick, 5cm high, 9cm long) using a food slicer. Brush with a little charcoal oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Put the slices in a warm place.
FOR THE LOBSTER ROE POWDER
FOR THE KROEPOEK (LOBSTER CRACKERS)
20g raw lobster roe
Blend the lobster meat with the tapioca flour and water in the Thermomix. Season to taste and mix the lobster roe into the mass. Roll the mass thinly between two silicone mats to a thickness of 5mm and steam in the convection oven for 90 mins at 100°C. Afterwards, dry in the dehydrator. Break into pieces and deep-fry at 180°C in vegetable oil. Season with salt and keep warm.
FOR THE TOMATO “STRAWBERRIES”
FOR THE BALSAMIC EMULSION (ABOUT 25 PORTIONS) 80g Balsamic vinegar (e.g. Fondo Montobello, 13 years old) 20ml soy sauce 10g Savora mustard 1 pinch Maldon sea salt 175ml olive oil Device: Silent Crusher M from Heidolph Instruments (homogeniser to make emulsions)
FOR THE CRUSTACEAN MAYONNAISE 1 egg yolk 1 Espresso spoon of mustard Juice of half a lemon 100ml grapeseed oil 1 tbsp highly reduced crustacean stock
OTHER 16 nice sprigs of basil cress
METHOD FOR THE LANGOUSTINES Break open the langoustines, remove the gut and put each of them individually on a fine wooden skewer. Add salt and sear
FOR THE TOMATO COULIS Sauté the shallots, garlic and vegetables in olive oil. Add the tomatoes and spice pouch. Simmer for 2-3 hours at a low heat till it takes on the texture of a paste. Strain and season to taste with salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar.
FOR THE TOMATO ROLLS Cut the tomatoes into 0.5cm thin slices. Put one teaspoon of tomato coulis on each slice and roll them up like a roulade. Brush with oil and temper lukewarm. Reserve the rest of the tomato coulis and store in the refrigerator.
FOR THE TOMATO “STRAWBERRIES” Remove the tomato skin until you can see the kernels. Carefully take out
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Cook the lobster roe in water until it turns red and firm. Remove from the water, dry in the deydrator and then blitz to a fine powder.
FOR THE BALSAMIC EMULSION (ABOUT 25 PORTIONS) Put the balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, mustard, salt and 100ml of the olive oil in a plastic measuring jug and mix for 2 minutes at 5000 revs/min whilst constantly moving the jug. Gradually increase the speed every 2 minutes to 10000 revs/ min, then to 18000 revs/min. Slowly add the rest of the olive oil to the jug and keep on moving it until you get a homogenous toffee-like texture. Store covered at room temperature. In case of the emulsion getting too warm during mixing, you can put a container with iced water underneath it to keep the jug and the emulsion cool.
FOR THE CRUSTACEAN MAYONNAISE Prepare a mayonnaise with the egg yolk, mustard, lemon juice and oil and mix with the reduced crustacean stock.
TO FINISH Using two teaspoons, place a quenelle of the balsamic emulsion on the right side of the plate and draw it into a line to the left using a brush. Pipe a drop of crustacean mayonnaise on the right into the balsamic emulsion and place some kroepoek on top. Put a “tomato strawberry” on the left side. Draw a line of crustacean mayonnaise in the middle of the plate using a piping bottle, and add the Langoustines and the tomato roll on its right and left side. Cover with the pork belly and scorch lightly using a kitchen blowtorch. Finish with the roe powder, kroepoek and basil cress.
PARSLEY, VINEYARD PEACH AND CHICORY
S SERVES 8 FOR THE PIGEON BREASTS 4 Étouffé pigeons (approx 550g) Salt and freshly ground white pepper 200g mirepoix 1 sprig thyme and 1 sprig rosemary Clarified butter
FOR THE CREAM OF PIGEON GIBLETS “HANUTA” 150g pigeon livers 35ml pigeon gravy
50g goose liver 10ml cream 1g agar-agar 0.5 sheets gelatin (soaked in cold water and squeezed) Salt, pepper, aged Balsamic vinegar
FOR THE PARSLEY OIL 40g flat-leaf parsley without stalks 50ml grapeseed oil
FOR THE WAFERS TO FORM THE “HANUTA”
FOR THE PARSLEY PURÉE
75ml water 25g whole egg 12g melted butter 50g flour
165g flat-leaf parsley 1 pinch baking soda for the cooking water 40g reduced poultry stock
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50g sugar Salt 1tbsp chopped hazelnuts
30g brown butter Salt, pepper, nutmeg & lemon juice
For the parsley root dice 3 parsley roots 20g butter 4 tbsp poultry stock
For the vineyard peach dice 3 vineyard peaches
For the parsley root chips 1 parsley root Vegetable oil Salt
For the cream of pigeon giblets “Hanuta” Sear the pigeon livers in clarified butter at a high heat and season with salt and pepper. Add a few drops of balsamic vinegar and the goose liver, and mix in the Thermomix at 60°C. Bring the cream, gravy and agar-agar to the boil and cook for 2 mins, remove from the heat and dissolve the gelatin in it. Add the cream mixture to the liver in the Thermomix and blend. Pass through a sieve into a rectangular container and allow to cool completely. Once cool, cut the mass into 5cm x 5cm squares. Bring to room temperature.
For the chicory leaves 2 heads of chicory Juice of 2 vineyard peaches
For the sauce riche 380g mushroom caps 25g fresh butter 120g diced goose liver 7cl brown veal stock 20ml truffle stock 210g liquid cream 4cl white wine 4cl white port wine 2cl Madeira 2cl sherry 2cl Cognac Salt & freshly ground white pepper
FOR THE WAFERS TO FORM THE “HANUTA” Mix all the ingredients together and cook using a waffle iron. While still warm, cut the wafers into 5cm x 5cm squares. To finish the “Hanuta”, put a lukewarm liver square upright between two squares of wafer and roll the edges in the chopped hazelnuts.
For the parsley oil Blend the parsley leaves thoroughly with the oil and heat up to 80°C. Pass immediately through a fine sieve without any pressure and stir till cold over ice. Reserve for further processing, pour into a plastic bottle and store in a cold dark place.
Further sauces 180ml pigeon gravy
© RITZ-CARLTON WOLFSBURG
For the pigeon breasts Remove the giblets of the pigeons, washing the hearts and livers in cold water. Detach the drumsticks and wings from the body, leaving the breasts on. Store in a cool place. Sauté the breasts of the pigeons, together with the bones, in clarified butter beginning with the skin side, until golden. Remove from the pan and stir-fry the mirepoix with the herbs in the pan. Place the pigeons back in the pan on top of the vegetables and cook for approx 8 mins at 180°C in the oven. Allow to rest for 10 mins at 56°C.
For the parsley purée Pick the parsley leaves from the stalks and wash. Cook until tender in slightly salted water with the dissolved baking soda, and squeeze thoroughly to drain. Mix with the poultry stock and the brown butter in the Thermomix to a fine purée. Season to taste with salt, pepper, nutmeg and lemon juice. Put into a Pacojet container and freeze. Pacotize several times until the purée is very fine. To finish, heat in a sauté pan and season once again.
For the parsley root dice Peel the parsley roots and cut into 1cm thick slices. Dice the slices so as to get at least 40 uniform dice. Braise the dice in
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a sauté pan together with the butter and the poultry stock until firm to the bite.
For the vineyard peach dice Peel the peaches and cut into 1cm thick slices. Dice the slices so as to get at least 40 uniform dice. Store the dice at room temperature covered with foil.
For the parsley root chips Peel the parsley root and cut into thin slices of approx 2mm. Deep-fry in the oil at 180°C. Drain on a paper towel and season with salt.
For the chicory leaves Separate the leaves of the chicory, remove the stalks and vacuum with the peach juice so that they become transparent.
For the sauce riche If necessary, clean the mushrooms with a damp cloth, then cut into fine slices. Heat the butter and cook the mushrooms until golden brown. Add the diced goose liver and cook until it starts coloring slightly. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, port wine, Madeira, and sherry, and reduce. Add the veal stock and cream. Boil down the liquid to half volume, then and pass through a fine mesh sieve. Add the truffle stock and reduce to the desired consistency. Season to taste with cognac, salt and pepper and pass once again through a fine sieve. Mount the previously prepared Sauce Riche before serving – this is where you whisk small pieces of cold butter into the warm sauce to thicken it.
To serve Draw lines of parsley purée across the plate and add 5 parsley root dice and 5 vineyard peach dice. Arrange the chicory leaves on the right and left sides of the plate. Remove the pigeon breasts from the carcasses and discard the skin. Place the pigeon breast in the middle of the plate and cover with parsley root chips. Add the “Hanuta” and finish with pigeon gravy, sauce riche and parsley oil.
The African Queen
As her restaurant The Tasting Room reopens fresh from refurbishment with a new menu, Rosie Birkett speaks to Margot Janse, the trailblazing chef at Le Quartier Français in the Franschhoek Valley, South Africa
o say that Margot Janse has an adventurous spirit is something of an understatement. This is a woman who, at the tender age of 20, announced to her family in the Netherlands that she was upping sticks and heading for the wild, politically turbulent climes of South Africa. “I’d met a South African,” she tells me from the kitchen of her restaurant in the small, beautiful Western Cape town of Franschhoek. “I met him in Holland – he was a political journalist in exile at that point – and he got offered a job in Zimbabwe, where we lived for a couple of months. Then it all started changing: the ANC became unbanned; the political prisoners were being released; Mandela was freed after 27 years in prison and pretty soon after that in April 1990 we moved to Johannesburg.” Thus she found herself in the post-apartheid chaos of South Africa, taking photographs for her boyfriend’s stories and ensconcing herself in her adopted home’s socio-political world, as she’d later come to shape its culinary one. “The whole globe
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ÂŠ Anthony Friend
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Spiced brinjal and buffalo labne roulade
Dalewood Huguenot cheddar, fig, bluegom honey
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© Anthony Friend
Macadamia savarin, mango, curry
was in South Africa at this point and I was taking photographs,” she says. “There was Nelson Mandela, you know? When you’re twenty you don’t realise you’re emigrating or making a huge life decision, you’re just having an adventure.” And what an adventure it’s been – leading here, to her role as Executive Chef at the luxurious Relais & Chateaux Le Quartier Français, where she’s cooked for the past 17 years, gaining accolades for her restaurant that include numerous mentions in the World’s 50 Best list and the title of “Best restaurant in Africa and the Middle East”. In that time, Janse has built up trusting, cooperative relationships with local suppliers, and is now cherishing the very best produce she has at her disposal – cooking her ‘African Inspired Surprise Tasting Menu’ menu for guests who are visiting for a refined, unforgettable dining experience. She tells me that “we’re not ruled by budgets, but by quality”, which is a stark contrast to her beginnings in the continent, when “we had very little money” and lived off avocados and guavas foraged from the garden. “It was a culture shock, but it was amazing. I’m not sure how to describe it in words but I can still feel it – everything had much deeper colours and everything was different.” It wasn’t until after studying photojournalism in Johannesburg for three years, that Janse felt the pull of the kitchen. “I loved
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photography but the kitchen was really beckoning,” she says. “It was a place of such magic to me – eating out was such a treat. I was always cooking or throwing dinner parties and I wanted to be a part of the restaurant scene.” So at the age of 23 she entered the professional kitchen world, working for well-known restaurateur Ciro Molinaro and learning everything about running a kitchen, from how to do a stock take to how to manage staff. After that she worked in Cape Town for two years, before breaking up with her journalist boyfriend, and, looking for a fresh start, applying for the job of sous-chef she saw advertised at Le Quartier Francais, which she got. Shortly afterwards the head chef, who’d built up the restaurant’s reputation as the best in the region, left, leaving Janse to pick up the pieces, and take on the role of head chef at a very early stage in her career. “All eyes were on us,” she says. “Everyone was like, ‘who’s that?’ – I was 27, I didn’t have a particularly interesting history and hadn’t been a head chef before. Very soon after my first menu I went back to Holland to visit my family and I booked a flight to London and ate everywhere for five days – places like Gordon Ramsay's that were setting the trends. We change all the time, we learn and we evolve and that’s why I’m still here, after all these years, because it stays exciting – you never sit back and rest
Zbären Kreativküchen AG Bahnhofstrasse 26 . CH-3777 Saanenmöser . Telephone +41 33 744 33 77 firstname.lastname@example.org . www.zbaeren.ch Official Dealer
Saanenmöser . Gstaad . Lenk
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I believe they come here to experience South Africa – so I’m not going to feed them Asianinspired food. I use indigenous ingredients in a modern way, with modern techniques
and your laurels.” After such a long stint in one restaurant, this is an important point for Janse, and we speak just as her restaurant has undergone a complete refurbishment at the hands of her theatre set designer brother. “It’s vibrant, exciting and more colourful,” she says. “We don’t want it to be intimidating, we want it to be a really cool space to sit in because it’s about the food, not about sitting in a museum – the space has got to fit the food. We’ve also enlisted a local furniture maker to make new furniture out of salvaged black wood and oak trees for tables and chairs, which is exciting.” True to the independent spirit of the 20-year-old who set out to another continent, Janse says that she has no desire to be “mainstream” in her cooking. “I’m inspired by where I am and I’ve never wanted to do what everyone else is doing. I think it’s important to have your own identity. Even at 27 I my philosophy was about what was around me and using ingredients other people weren’t using – I was trying to make it work with local
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© Anthony Friend
suppliers, but it was much harder back then because the consistency wasn’t there. That’s been amazing, how things have changed and how farmers and producers have progressed. The produce I can get now is incredible – the people get enthusiastic, and they’re willing to work with me.” It’s this determination to work with local suppliers that defines Janse’s food, and situates her among the likes of Denmark’s René Redzepi and Brazil’s Alex Atala in terms of showcasing her country’s native cuisine. “I believe my guests come here to experience South Africa – so I’m not going to feed them Asian-inspired food. It’s important that they experience Africa in the cuisine, so I use indigenous ingredients in a modern way, with modern techniques, so people can taste things they’ve never tasted before. We’re in Africa but we’ve got all the toys here too – so there’s no excuses, we have the sous-vide machines and the Pacojets. And I’m still discovering. It’s not always easy to get things in a regular supply, but South Africa is very seasonal, which is wonderful because we have great game, herbs, seeds and greens and things that we work with.” Africa might not be the first place you’d think of for good artisan cheese production, but Janse has found a producer close by making a reblochon-style ‘Lanquedoc’ cheese that she serves with a large puffed maize crisp flavoured with red wine vinegar, served with charred leeks and charred leek powder in one of her new dishes. Surprise is an important element of dining in The Tasting Room, and Janse likes to build anticipation at the start of the meal with old fashioned coupes of South African sparkling wine, before serving snacks followed by her no-choice menu, with each diner receiving different dishes. She especially likes to include unusual produce that has a story attached to it, like the soft, sour, powdery pulp from the seed of the baobab tree (known colloquially as the ‘upside down tree’), which she uses in desserts like baobab and pear parfait with caramelised honey jelly. In another dish, the pulp is folded into local yoghurt, supplied by a nearby buffalo farm, and served with a consommé of watermelon and tomato with fennel pollen. “Our service staff are all local and very proudly south African. With the baobab they’ll talk about why it’s called the upside down tree, and they have their own stories about the ingredients too because they’ve grown up with them. I’m turning them into things that are different, but I’m honouring their indigenous ingredients and I want them to tell that story because it’s part of the heritage. It’s about saying to the guest, ‘we’re sharing this continent with you, here on this plate’.”
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catena zapata.indd 1
BEETROOT, BUTTERMILK LABNE, DILL AND CUCUMBER GRANITA, BUCHU POWDER
S SERVES 4
FOR THE BEETROOT SPONGE
FOR THE BEETROOT SPONGE
50ml beetroot juice ½ gelatine leaf Pinch of salt
Place the gelatine in a small bowl with ice water and set aside. Place the beetroot juice and salt in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and add the softened gelatine leaf. Strain the beetroot juice into a medium size bowl, placed over another bowl filled with ice. Whisk the beetroot mixture vigorously and continuously until it is aerated and cold. The gelatin will have set it. Scoop the mixture into a piping bag and pipe into a half sphere flexipan mould. Refrigerate.
FOR THE BEETROOT CRUMBS 50g Panko crumbs 10g beetroot powder
FOR THE SPINACH AND ONION PURÉE ½ onion, thinly sliced 100ml single cream 100g baby spinach 10g unsalted butter Salt
FOR THE BUCHU POWDER 40g dried buchu leaves
FOR THE BUTTERMILK LABNE 100ml buttermilk Pinch of salt
FOR THE CUCUMBER AND DILL GRANITA 150g cucumber, diced 10g pickled dill 5g white wine vinegar 2g salt 1g xanthan gum
FOR THE BEETROOT CRUMBS Pre-heat the oven to 100ºC. Mix the crumbs with the beetroot power and lightly toast in the oven for 20 minutes. Leave to cool and place in an airtight container.
FOR THE SPINACH AND ONION PURÉE Sweat the onions in the butter until translucent. Season with salt. Add the cream and reduce over a high heat for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Blanch the spinach in boiling water for 1 minute. Remove the spinach with a large slotted spoon and place directly into a blender
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jug. Blend until very smooth, add the creamed onions and blend again. Pass through a tamis.
FOR THE BUCHU POWDER Blend until very fine using a spice grinder.
FOR THE BUTTERMILK LABNE Hang the buttermilk overnight in a muslin cloth. Once fully drained, discard the excess whey and place the buttermilk in a small piping bag.
FOR THE CUCUMBER AND DILL GRANITA Blend all the ingredients in a bar blender then pass through a fine sieve, pour into a tray with a wide base, and freeze. Scrape the frozen mixture with a fork to form fine flakes. Keep frozen.
TO SERVE Scoop the centre out of the beetroot sponges and fill with some of the spinach and onion puree, then take the two halves and stick them together. Carefully roll in the beetroot crumbs. Pipe 1 tablespoon of buttermilk onto the plate and drag across with a small spatula. Place the beetroot ball on the plate, scoop some of the granita next to the ball and sprinkle with some buchu powder.
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SQUID INK CIGARS
S MAKES 25
onto a silicone mat. When cold and hard, break it up and blend into a fine powder.
FOR THE CARAMEL FOR THE SQUID INK AND ONION PURÉE
50g isomalt 50g glucose
FOR THE SQUID INK AND ONION PURÉE 150g onions, quartered 50g vegetable stock Salt 50g caramel powder 10ml squid ink
FOR THE CHAKALAKA MARMALADE 1 onion, diced 1 red pepper, diced ½ red chilli, finely chopped ½ garlic clove, finely chopped 15g treacle sugar 5g BBQ spice 5g curry powder 200g tomato concassé
FOR THE PARSNIP CREAM 100g parsnips, peeled and chopped 50g vegetable stock 50g single cream 10g unsalted butter Salt
METHOD FOR THE CARAMEL Place the isomalt and glucose in a small pot and place over medium heat. Bring the caramel up to154˚C, and pour out
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Place the onions with the vegetable stock in a pot and reduce until all the liquid has evaporated and the onions are soft and translucent. Season with salt and add the caramel powder and the squid ink. Stir over over a low heat until the caramel has dissolved. Blend the mixture until smooth and pass through a fine sieve. Place a rectangular template on a silpat mat and spread the mixture out thinly. Bake at 120°C for 40 minutes. Mould the rectangles around a stick while warm to create a cigar shape. Leave to cool and fill with purées.
FOR THE CHAKALAKA MARMALADE Combine the onion, red pepper, chilli and garlic, and sweat together for 10 mins. Add the treacle sugar, BBQ spice, curry powder and tomato concassé, and simmer over a very low heat until completely reduced. Blend and pass.
FOR THE PARSNIP CREAM Melt the butter in a medium-sized pot, add the parsnips and sweat over a low heat until soft. Add the vegetable stock and the cream. Reduce the liquid by half and season with salt. Transfer the mixture to a blender and blend until smooth. Pass through a fine sieve. Leave to cool and place in a small piping bag.
WATERMELON, TOMATO, BAOBAB, FENNEL POLLEN
S SERVES 6 FOR THE TOMATO AND WATERMELON CONSOMMÉ 1kg cherry tomatoes 10ml balsamic vinegar 100ml olive oil 200ml verjus 15g salt 4 basil leaves
FOR THE WATERMELON CHIPS 3g salt 100g water 10 watermelon slices, very thinly sliced
FOR THE PICKLED WATERMELON RIND 100g water 20ml white wine vinegar ½ spring onion, finely diced 5g salt 5g white sugar 4 x 50g pieces watermelon rind Tomato concassé of 2 plum tomatoes
FOR THE BAOBAB YOGHURT 100g buffalo yoghurt 10g baobab fruit pulp 2g salt
METHOD FOR THE TOMATO AND WATERMELON CONSOMMÉ Blend all the ingredients together until smooth. Hang overnight in 2 layers of
muslin cloth over a large bowl, making sure there is enough space between the muslin and the bottom of the bowl. The next day, carefully remove the solids left in the muslin cloth - there will be a clear tomato consommé left in the bowl. Blend half a water melon to a purée and leave to freeze. Once frozen, hang this in a muslin cloth over a large bowl and place in the fridge to defrost. This will produce a very clear watermelon consommé. Combine 500ml watermelon consommé with 200ml tomato consommé.
FOR THE WATERMELON CHIPS Make a brine with the water and place the slices in it for 12 hours. Drain the watermelon slices and dry in a dehydrator until dry and crisp.
FOR THE PICKLED WATERMELON RIND Place the watermelon rind together with the pickling liquid in a vacuum bag and vacuum on full. Leave for 12 hours. Drain and dry the rind. Cut into very small dice and mix together equal quantities of watermelon rind and tomato concassé.
FOR THE BAOBAB YOGHURT Mix everything together and pass through a tamis. Serve a quenelle of baobab yoghurt and garnish with the watermelon rind/tomato. Sprinkle with some toasted baobab pulp and fennel pollen. Place a watermelon chip over it and serve with the ice cold consomme.
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PASTURE-FED EGG YOLK, VEGETABLE CORNFLAKES, LOVAGE, SHERRY CARAMEL
S SERVES 4
FOR THE EGG YOLKS
FOR THE EGG YOLKS
4 pasture-fed chicken eggs 20ml olive oil
Pre-heat the sous-vide unit to 63˚C. Separate the yolks from the whites, place the egg yolks into a small stainless steel bowl and add the olive oil. Slip the yolks and the oil into a vacuum bag and seal the bag on medium in a vacuum pack machine. Place in the sous-vide unit for 40min.
FOR THE VEGETABLE CORNFLAKES 1 beetroot 1 plum tomato 1 carrot, peeled 1 parsnip ¼ onion ½ small celeriac bulb
FOR THE LOVAGE MOUSSE 100g celeriac, diced 150g vegetable stock 20g lovage leaves 20g baby spinach, stems removed 1g agar-agar 30g whipped cream Salt
FOR THE SHERRY CARAMEL 100g isomalt 50g sherry vinegar
FOR THE SHERRY CARAMEL
Slice each vegetable very thinly using a mandolin, and place in the dehydrator for 10 hours at 55˚C.
Place the isomalt in a small saucepan over a high heat until it becomes a light caramel. Remove from the heat and carefully add the sherry vinegar. Stir until smooth and the caramel has dissolved. Season with salt.
FOR THE LOVAGE MOUSSE
Bring a medium pot of water to the boil. Place the diced celeriac and vegetable stock in the pan and place a lid on top. Simmer until the celeriac is soft, without evaporating too much of the vegetable stock. Add the agar-agar and cook for 3 min. Remove from the heat. Place the spinach and the lovage in boiling
Pipe a big dollop of the lovage mousse on a plate. Very carefully place the egg yolk in the middle of the mousse. Scatter the vegetable cornflakes around it and drizzle with the sherry caramel. Garnish with carrot powder.
FOR THE VEGETABLE CORNFLAKES
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water and blanch for 1 minute. Transfer directly from the water into a blender. Add the cooked celeriac and blend at high speed until smooth. Pass through a tamis. Place in a mixing bowl and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Carefully fold the whipped cream into the purée, check for seasoning and place in a small piping bag.
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Fish Dish These days Eric Ripert is equal parts TV personality and chef. But it’s the fish he cooks at his New York restaurant Le Bernardin that’s the real star, he tells Rosie Birkett
ric Ripert is not an easy man to pin down. After weeks of trying and failing to set a date for our interview, we finally talk on the phone while he takes a break from filming his latest mini-series. “On the Table”, which started on the online Reserve Channel in July, is a series in which the French-by-way-of-New York chef interviews and cooks with A-list celebrities. “We have fun,” he says now in his still-thick Gallic tones. “I’m cooking with people from inside and outside the world of food – personalities from music, art and Hollywood.” He won’t be probed too much on who his guests are, though fellow celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain appeared in the first episode, and he does reveal he’s done one episode with Pink Floyd legend Roger Walters –
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Â© Nigel Parry F13 Ripert nd2.indd 87
We like our food to look good, but we’re more obsessed by the mantra ‘the fish is star of the plate. It’s very simple and refined. We cook it unilaterally – only from the bottom, very slowly. The salmon is rare, but cooked and warm – it has the consistency of custard because of the slow cooking. “I’m also excited about the seafood medley – which is served in a sea urchin shell filled with cooked sea urchin custard and topped with shellfish: scallops, clams, caviar, langoustine, shrimp and crab, served with a dashi broth which is smoky thanks to the bonito flakes it’s made with. That’s very popular right now – at the table we pour the dashi on top of the shellfish and the custard.” As is evident from the above dish, while he concentrates on American fish and seafood from the east coast (“I believe the east coast produce has a much better flavour than the west coast”), Ripert is inspired by international influences – something he says grows organically from his location in a global capital. “In New York we’re very lucky because we find great quality ingredients from all over the world – we use some Asian, some South American and techniques from all over the place. It’s a natural
© Shimon & Tammar
which goes some way to showing how comfortable Ripert feels among others at the top of their game: be they fellow cooks or rock and roll stars. It’s hardly surprising, given his natural charisma and mediafriendly appearance – all athletic build; white teeth; tan and a full head of silver hair – that this chef has made the leap from the kitchen to the screen, but which world does he prefer? “I like both,” he insists. “I find both experiences very interesting and today I’m at an age where I can share my knowledge of food through media and TV, and also through mentoring my team at the restaurant. I have about 45 cooks, and my two sous have been here for 18 years. I usually shoot [television] in New York which allows me to do both, so I’m often at the restaurant.” Over the past two decades, Ripert has built up a reputation as perhaps the world’s best seafood chef at Le Bernardin, which is currently rated as the 19th Best Restaurant in the World and where he holds three Michelin-stars. Here he cooks elegant, simple dishes that revolve around the best sustainable American seafood from the east coast, working in influences from around the globe, as well as from his upbringing in the south of France. After so long in the same kitchen, it would be easy to get comfortable and send out the same favourite signature dishes, but the chef is devoted to making sure his repertoire at the restaurant is always fresh. “We change dishes all the time and it’s constantly evolving,” he says. “Lately we’ve had some fantastic wild salmon from Alaska that I’ve been serving with yuzu sauce and pea and wasabi purée.
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Why not? Drink it!
ACETIFICIO MENGAZZOLI Snc Via della Costituzione, 41/43 - 46010 Levata di Curtatone (MN) - Italia Tel +39 0376 47444 - Fax +39 0376 478231 www.mengazzoli.it
Comunicazione Mauro Olivieri Â©
© Lyn Hughes
fusion because we’re inspired by our surroundings which are very multicultural.” That said, he admits missing the European produce he grew up with and cooked with in France under his mentor Joël Robuchon – the chef that would eventually send him to America. “It’s different from Europe,” he says. “It’s difficult to match the beauty of turbot and Dover sole, but the fish we get is tasty and fresh. I still use a lot of influences from the Med – I’ll always carry it with me and I can’t forget how good it is.” In a world increasingly colonised by futuristic cooking processes, Ripert’s kitchen is comparatively classic, with a lot of
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Â© Lyn Hughes
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© Keith Scott Morton
pan-searing and grilling – the fast, light cooking required for the best fish and seafood. “We use mostly traditional gas and heat – we don’t cook sousvide, because it doesn’t make sense to. You want the fish to be very fresh and cooked very fast, so yes, we’re more traditional. In terms of molecular technique, we use some at times, but only if it elevates the fish. It’s not about cooking for the technique – it’s more about incorporating it into our traditional way.” Much of the fish is barely cooked at all, and some of it never comes close to a flame (there are whole sections on the menu marked ‘almost raw’ and ‘barely touched’), with Ripert marinating, finely slicing and curing some of his produce in dishes like wild striped bass tartare; baby fennel, crispy artichoke, black olive oil and lemon. He cites the Japanese fish and seafood culture as very influential. “I think in Japan they do a fantastic job – I’m very inspired by that,” he says. The chef’s obsession with the fruits of the sea is something that’s been with him since his cooking days in France, where he was a poissonier for over two years. It’s the the delicate, easily-spoiled nature of the protein that still excites him. “I’ve developed an expertise and a love for it,” he says. “For the last 20 years I’ve been cooking fish – it’s very challenging because fish is very delicate, the flavours are subtle and I like that challenge. “The fish dictates everything we do. Everything, each element on the plate, each ingredient should be there to make the fish better. We like our food to look good, but we’re more obsessed by the mantra ‘the fish is star of the plate’." To this end, Ripert very deliberately says he cooks "for", rather than "with" the fish: “I choose the fish I’m going to cook for and I use all the resources I can to make it the best I can. It’s exciting because I can use elements of modern, traditional, simple, and complicated cooking. I have a lot of freedom. Some people think I’m limited because it’s only fish, but in fact, that’s what sets me free.”
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SAUTÉED COD; LEEK AND GRAPE PARFAIT; CARAMELISED ENDIVE; GREEN PEPPERCORN MARINIÈRE
S SERVES 2-4
FOR THE GREEN PEPPERCORN PURÉE & MARINIÈRE
INGREDIENTS 2 cod fillets, 7-8oz each 4 Holland leeks, halved and rinsed 1 Belgian endive, base removed and tops reserved 1 cup parsley leaves 2 cups white grapes 2 cups verjus ½tsp agar-agar 5 tbsp green peppercorns ¼ cup cream 3 cups mussel stock 2 shallots, thinly sliced 1 cup white wine Butter Salt and Pepper
Blanch the parsley leaves and purée the blanched leaves with 2tbsp of the green peppercorns, using just enough water to get the blender spinning. Set the purée aside in a squirt bottle. In a medium-sized pan, sweat the shallots with the remaining sliced leeks and green peppercorns in butter until tender, about 5-6 minutes. Deglaze the pot with the white wine and allow the wine to reduce by half. Next, add the mussel stock and cream and allow the aromatics to gently simmer in the stock for about 10-12 minutes. Strain the sauce through a chinois and adjust the seasoning. Set aside.
FOR THE ENDIVE
FOR THE PARFAIT In a large braising pan, slowly simmer 3¾ of the leeks in salted water until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Remove the leeks from the liquid and allow them to cool. Once cooled, line the leeks in a 5 inch by 12 inch plastic lined mould. Set the mould aside. In a blender, purée the grapes (setting 1-2 grapes aside) with the verjus and pass through a chinois. Place the passed liquid in a saucepan. Put ½tsp of agar-agar into the liquid and bring to the boil, whisking continuously. Once the liquid comes to the boil, pour it over the top of the leeks and set the parfait in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight. After the parfait has completely cooled down, carefully remove from the mould and cut into a 5in x 1in rectangle. Take 1 grape cut into quarters, and place on top of the rectangle of parfait. Set the parfait aside.
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In a sauté pan, brown 1tbsp of butter and gently wilt the tops of the endive in the butter. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
TO FINISH Season the cod with salt and pepper. In a sauté pan, sear the cod for about 3-4 minutes on each side or until a metal skewer is warm to the touch when it is inserted and removed from the center of the fish. While the fish is cooking, take a round plate and make a straight line with the green peppercorn purée. On the left side of the line, place the rectangle of parfait perpendicular to the puree. Once the fish is cooked, place the fish above and on the right side of the purée. Place the endive tops on top of the fish and pour 2-3tbsp of the green peppercorn marinière on the plate. Serve immediately.
LAYERS OF THINLY POUNDED YELLOWFIN TUNA, FOIE GRAS AND TOASTED BAGUETTE, SHAVED CHIVES AND EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
S SERVES 2-4 INGREDIENTS 1kg foie gras lobes 12g fine sea salt 3g freshly ground white pepper 1 pinch sel rose preserving salt (D’Artagnan) Chicken stock Yellowfin tuna, pounded flat between 2 layers of plastic wrap, and cut to 4½in wide x 9in long marquise shape 1 piece toasted baguette (sliced on #3 setting of meat slicer) Fine sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste Extra virgin olive oil Shallots, minced Chives, sliced Lemon halves
METHOD FOR THE FOIE GRAS Snip off the ends of the foie gras and place the foie gras in salted iced water overnight (use fine sea salt, as if for cooking vegetables: this exposes the veins). Remove the foie gras from the iced water, temper for 3 hours at room temperature, and pull the veins out. Weigh the foie gras and then season it according to the proportions given above (try to put 40% of the seasoning on the smooth side and 60% on the rough side of the foie gras). Let the foie gras cure for 24 hours under refrigeration. Roll the foie gras (3-4 lobes
per roll, plus scrap) in saran wrap to get a proper shape (3-4in wide and 11in long) and to minimise air bubbles in the roll. Carefully remove the saran wrap and place the foie gras roll on a damp cheesecloth (rinse first with cold water). Roll again into shape, this time tying the shorter end after rolling a few times and holding the other end while continuing to hold to get a good shape. If the foie gras is rather soft, allow it to rest for 20 minutes under refrigeration so it can firm up a bit. Bring the chicken stock to the boil, allow to cool to 160ºF and add the foie gras rolls. Maintain a temperature of 160°F and cook the rolls until the foie gras reaches an internal temperature of 90°F. Remove the rolls from the stock and allow to cool under refrigeration in perforated pans, leaving adequate space between the rolls. When cool, remove the cheesecloth and reshape with saran wrap. To serve, quarter each roll and cut into thin slices to fit on top of baguette pieces.
TO SERVE Place the baguette piece in the center of the plate. Place a piece of foie gras on the baguette. Remove the plastic wraps from the tuna and place on top of the foie gras. Season the tuna with salt and pepper and generously brush the tuna with olive oil. Sprinkle a few shallots over the tuna and generously sprinkle chives over the tuna. Wipe the plate well (to the edge of the tuna), and squeeze lemon juice over the tuna at the last minute.
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BAKED WILD STRIPED BASS; BRAISED DAIKON AND PIQUILLO PEPPERS, ADOBO SAUCE
S SERVES 2-4
Butter Salt and pepper
© SHIMON & TAMMAR; WILLIAM HEREFORD
INGREDIENTS 2 striped bass fillets, 7-8oz each Piquillo peppers, cut into 1in diameter rounds Daikon, blanched and cut into 1in diameter rounds Daikon sprouts Kataifi (shredded filo) 3 cups chicken jus 2 shallots, thinly sliced 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 6-8 bay leaves 2 tablespoons black peppercorns, crushed ¼ cup of rice vinegar
METHOD Toss the kataifi in melted butter and line onto a baking tray. Bake in an oven at 350°F for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Set the kataifi aside. In a medium-sized saucepan, sweat the shallots, garlic, bay leaves and black peppercorns in 1tbsp butter, about 6 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the rice vinegar. After the vinegar has reduced by half, add the chicken jus. Allow the aromatics to gently simmer in the jus for about 10-12 minutes. Adjust the
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seasoning with salt and pepper and set aside. Season the striped bass with salt and pepper. Place the striped bass in a small baking tray with 2tbsp water and 1tbsp butter. Cook the fish in the oven at 425°F for about 6 minutes, or until a metal skewer inserted into the center of the fish is warm to the touch when removed. While the fish is cooking, take a plate and arrange 3 pieces of daikon and 3 pieces of piquillo pepper into a round shape, alternating the two. When the fish is done, place the fish in the center of the daikon and piquillo peppers. Place a little handful of the kataifi and the daikon sprouts on top of the fish. Pour 3 tablespoons of the sauce on the plate and serve immediately.
TUNA ALBACORE CONFIT ‘EN SALADE’; BIBB LETTUCE, DEVILED QUAIL's EGG, LIQUID BLACK OLIVE, PRESERVED TOMATO and PEPPER
S Serves 2-4 INGREDIENTS 8oz albacore tuna fillets 1 shallot, thinly sliced 2 cucumber blossoms, halved 2 Bibb lettuce hearts, halved 1 vine-ripened tomato 1 baby red bell pepper, sliced ¼in thick 2 haricots verts, split in half and blanched 5 quail eggs 1oz compressed caviar
1 loaf sourdough bread Dijon mustard Crème Fraîche 1 bunch chives, thinly sliced 1000g water 7g sodium alginate 1 cup Niçoise olives in brine 1g xantham gum 5g calcium chloride Extra virgin olive oil Sherry vinegar Salt and Pepper 1 Pressure cooker
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METHOD For the tuna Season the tuna with salt and pepper. Divide the tuna into 2 pint-sized mason jars. Place 1-2 slices of shallot in each jar, cover the tuna with extra virgin olive oil and seal the jars. Turn the heat to high on the pressure cooker. Once the pressure cooker is pressurised, release some of the pressure and cook for 11 minutes. Remove the tuna from the pressure cooker and chill. Once the tuna is chilled,
remove it from the oil and transfer to a mixing bowl. Mix in 1tsp of the extra virgin olive oil from the jar and 1tsp Dijon mustard, being careful not to break up the tuna too much. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if the tuna is bland, and set aside.
FOR THE GARNISHES Score the tomato and remove the core. Blanch the tomato. Remove the skin from the tomato and cut into quarters. Remove the seeds and place the remaining tomato flesh onto a baking tray. Liberally drizzle the tomato with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast in the oven at 250°F for 1½ hours. Set aside. Take the loaf of sourdough and cut into 1½in x ¼in
batons. Toast the batons in an oven at 200°F until they are dry, about 10 minutes. Set aside. Purée the olives and the brine, and pass through a cheesecloth-lined chinois. Purée 100g of the olive liquid with 1g xantham gum and 5g calcium chloride, and set aside in a squirt bottle. Next, purée the 1000g water with the 7g sodium alginate and set aside in a baking pan. Take the olive liquid and pour into the sodium alginate bath to form little balls. Set aside. Gently boil the quail eggs for 2-3 minutes or until the yolks are cooked. Remove the shells and cut the eggs in half. Separate the whites from the yolks. In a mixing bowl, mix ½tsp crème fraîche, ½tsp mustard, and ½tsp chives with the yolks. Season with salt and pepper.
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Transfer the yolk mixture into a piping bag and pipe the mixture into the cavities of the halved egg whites (where the yolk used to be). Set the eggs aside.
TO SERVE Place the tuna in a 1½in x 4in mould. Toss the lettuce hearts, bell peppers, cucumber blossoms, roasted tomatoes and haricots verts with extra virgin olive oil and a few drops of sherry vinegar. Spread the compressed caviar over the sourdough batons. Arrange the deviled eggs, the vegetables and the croutons over the top of the tuna. Lastly, gently take the liquid olives out of the alginate bath and place over the top of the vegetables. Serve immediately.
Four is watching
The Catbird Seat A chef’s table restaurant Rosie Birkett reports from Nashville on how a 32-seat restaurant is putting ‘Music City’ in the gastronomic spotlight
From left to right: Erik Anderson and Josh Habiger
’m sitting at a smooth wooden counter sipping a carbonated concoction of sake, dry Riesling and maple syrup while chefs Josh Habiger and Erik Anderson dance around each other in front of me in the open kitchen – basting fish in skillets, pan-searing pigeon and artfully finishing each other’s dishes. Circulating the seated counter, where diners look on enthralled, is sommelier Jane Lopes, matching her bespoke beverages and well-selected wines to the chefs’ modern, seasonal American creations – no small feat given the combinations they’ve come up with tonight: pork belly with violet foam and ramp vichyssoise; wood pigeon with white asparagus tips and hay-infused, caramelised yoghurt, and nduja and rabbit sausage. Since opening in October last year, The Catbird Seat, which is part of Nashville’s trailblazing Strategic Hospitality group, has had a glittering reception – being nominated for a James Beard award and named by American GQ as one of America’s Best New Restaurants. The two co-executive chefs behind its success, Anderson and Habiger, have also been named Food and Wine Magazine’s Best New Chefs. So what’s all the fuss about? The interactive, chef-cooking-fordiner concept is not entirely new: it’s something we’ve seen at
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the likes of Relæ in Copenhagen and Schwa in Chicago – both notable culinary cities – but what’s turned heads here is that these are two chefs at the top of their game cooking together, directly for the diner, in Nashville, of all places. It’s not as unlikely as it sounds. The city has been coming up in kitchen terms for a good few years, earning itself a newfound reputation as ‘the Brooklyn of the South’, thanks in part to these two, and local chefs like Tandy Wilson at City House; Tyler Brown at the Capitol Grille, and the recent foodie fashion for Southern fare that’s swept New York and London. Between them, Habiger and Anderson have cooked at some of the world’s best restaurants – their joint résumés spanning the likes of Alinea; St John; Noma and The French Laundry – but rather cleverly, they’re charting new territory with their style of restaurant in Music City. “Erik and I worked together in 2006 and we both started talking about the idea because it eliminates the middle man,” says Habiger, who came here a few years ago to help Strategic Hospitality launch the cool, prohibition-style cocktail bar Patterson House just downstairs. He liked the laid-back, enabling vibe of the place, and when the opportunity to open a restaurant with the group came up, he called his friend.
Sake, dry Riesling and maple syrup
Wood pigeon, white asparagus and hay-infused caramelised yoghurt
Charred oak wood ice cream with cherry crisps and bourbon balls
“We could have opened a restaurant that had 30 cooks, white tablecloths and a huge service staff, but that’s not what we want to do – we want to cook and we want to talk to people and we want to have a good time doing what we do. Nashville has a different attitude that’s helped us keep things more fun.” For Anderson, who managed rock bands in a previous life, it’s all about “being able to cook again – you get to a certain level in the industry where you’re not really cooking, you’re managing and overseeing, but we like cooking, and that’s what we’re doing.” They sure are – prepping all day and then serving their creative, weekly-changing seven course tasting menus four evenings a week. Without them, there is no restaurant. Produce is “the best we can possibly get” and inspiration comes from “all over the place – the places we’ve worked in the past and available produce”, as well as the odd local inflection in dishes like their starter of spiced crispy chicken skin – their ode to the Nashville staple of hot fried chicken. And that’s The Catbird Seat: a restaurant with palpable hallmarks of internationally-lauded dining, served to you by award-winning chefs, with a noticeably Southern drawl. But with only 32-seats and a serious buzz surrounding it, you might find it tricky getting a table…
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Argentina’s Malbec Pioneer How one family with a vision for world-quality wines changed the face of Argentinian viticulture
hese days when we think of Argentinian wines, we think of Malbec – that rich, full, fruity red wine that’s become synonymous with the best wines from this long and varied terroir. But it wasn’t always this way – in fact, when Nicolás Catena took over the wine making at Catena Zapata, the winery established by his Italian immigrant grandfather in 1902, Malbec was mostly being used as a blending grape, rather than the elegant, complex stand-alone wine we drink today. While his father and grandfather had followed the old traditional Italian oxidative style of wine making, Nicolás spent time in the wineries of California in the 80s, picking up ideas for how New World wines could compete with the best French wines, and when he returned home it was with a vision to elevate his nation’s wine to the quality we’ve now come to expect. Nicolás abandoned the production techniques accepted by the Argentinian domestic market and introduced new, small French oak barrels to impart flavour. But undoubtedly the most important of Nicolás’ moves was to seek out cooler climes for his vines, planting vineyards at high altitudes, at elevations where no one in the region had done before. “I discovered that by going to the high altitude regions of Mendoza I could I could make profound and distinctive wines,” says Nicolás, who was voted Decanter Magazine’s “Man of the Year” in 2009. “But I was not sure if we could make a wine of importance with our Malbec grapes. It was my daughter Laura that persuaded me to put our best efforts into increasing the quality of our Malbec. History should recognise her for this vision.” Today the Adrianna Vineyard, located in the district of Gualtallary at 1500m (5000 ft.)
elevation, is the pride of the Catena Zapata family, and Nicolas’ daughter Laura – a Harvard graduate – continues the family tradition, researching and investigating the terroir of Mendoza. For the first time in the region, the effects of sunlight intensity in high altitude vineyards is understood, and Laura works by obtaining maximum quality through a rigorous selection, in each harvest, of those Malbec vines that produce the best wines that can compete
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with the most prestigious in the world. With its high altitude vineyards, permanent dedication to investigation and its family tradition, Bodega Catena Zapata is the pioneer in the production of internationally recognized Argentinian wines, and has won many national and international awards – including being named best New World Winery and 98 points from wine expert Robert Parker. catenawines.com
WINE CRUSH: TAITTINGER PRÉLUDE GRAND CRU NV A modern Grand Cru take on a prestigious house style
aittinger’s origins can be traced back to 1734, when the house was founded by one Jacques Fourneaux (later to be bought by Pierre Taittinger in 1931), but the ‘Prélude’ is an altogether more modern wine – being the house’s Millennium blend. This delicious tipple was first introduced especially for the Millennium in the form of the seriously glamorous Taittinger Millennium magnums – magnums with a fabulous Grace Kellyesque image on the front – but following the success of its concept, a Grand Cru play on the house style - it was released for sale in early 2004. Made only from the first pressing of the fruit grown in Grand Cru vineyards, Prélude has a brilliant, pale yellow colour with silvery highlights, reflective of the high proportion of Chardonnay that Taittinger is known for. The blend is made from 50% Chardonnay grapes from the Côte des Blancs (including Avize and Le Mesnil sur Oger) and 50% Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims area (including Mailly, Ambonnay) and it’s the Grands Cru aspect that brings precise characters to the wine such as its
wonderful minerality, because Grands Cru grapes come exclusively from the 100% rated vineyards of Champagne. There are 17 of these and they cover approximately 14% of the vineyard’s total surface area. Prior to release the wine is aged for a minimum of 4-5 years on lees (the residual yeast), sometimes more.
are dominated by intense fresh citrus fruit which then give way to a much fuller, well-bodied and mellow taste with flavours reminiscent of white peaches in syrup. The finish is long, rich and extremely expressive.
Drink as an accompaniment to grilled and roasted white meats, or with fish and shellfish, particularly fine fish like Dover sole. Or you could just enjoy as a super indulgent apéritif...
The bubbles are fine and form a lasting and delicately creamy mousse, and the nose is understated and fresh. The initial mineral aromas quickly develop into green, floral scents with hints of elderflower and spicy cinnamon overtones. Flavours
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home by AsA
Extremely hard fine bone china, warm white, pure and simply elegant design. À TABLE – firsT choicE in quALiTy And dEsign.
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simple things are beautiful
à table flies first class on swiss.
A Maestro of Flavour Nino Di Costanzo, two-Michelin-starred chef of Terme Manzi Hotel & Spa on the island of Ischia
Aside for its stunning setting on the beautiful volcanic island of Ischia off the coast of Naples, Terme Manzi & Spa is known for its two-Michelin-starred gourmet restaurant, Il Mosaico, which is headed up by talented chef Nino di Costanzo.
guests’ shoes, and I prepare my combinations and compositions in order to highlight the products of our land. Mediterranean fruit plays a leading role in our menus.” The hotel’s culinary offer is based on a long and careful search of high quality ingredients.
Nino obtained his chef diploma at the Ischia School for Culinary Arts and Hotel Management, and has worked in some of the most renowned hotels in Italy and abroad, including the Four Seasons in Los Angeles (set of the famous film “Pretty Woman”); the Eden in Rome, and many others in Canada; the United States; Belgium; Great Britain; Spain and Switzerland.
“I combed through hundreds of small producers both in Italy and abroad, looking for and finding the same passion that inspires my job. My careful selection allowed me to have the best products on the market,” he continues.
Add to this his experience working with many chefs at the top of their game, and you can see how Nino’s hard training inspires the culinary creations at the hotel with his original and unmistakable style.
Only fresh ingredients find their way to restaurant Il Mosaico’s kitchen. All the rest, bread and confectionery included, are homemade.
Terme Manzi Hotel & SPA’s cuisine is simple and refined at the same time: simple in the ingredients and in the preparation which maintains flavour, colour and substance unaltered; refined in the combinations and in the presentation of the dishes, turning each recipe into a masterpiece.
“The products of our land are excellent. Therefore their flavour, colour and substance must be respected during the cooking process, in order to convey the right emotions. The secret is to find the right combinations to highlight each ingredient and make it recognizable even in the most complex creations and by less educated palates” says the chef who received his first Michelin star just nine months after opening, and his second nine months after that.
Nino’s creations are full of strong emotions: “I am inspired by love and passion every day when I choose my ingredients,” he says. “When I create my dishes I put myself in my
In 2011, he become Grand Chef of the Relais & Chateaux family and this year Nino has been appointed Ambassador of the same region for the same group.
www.termemanzihotel.com l email@example.com
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Gourmet Products LE PARFUM DES BOIS DRIED CEPS Le Parfum des Bois is a small, French artisan shop specialising in authentic and rare mushrooms – and their fantastic dried wild ceps come from woods in the Lozère region. Because they are dried they are available all year (not just during the season) and once rehydrated have meaty flesh and a very aromatic nutty/woody flavour that makes them ideal in risottos and pasta, but they can also be used to enhance seafood and white fish dishes. Just soak in water thoroughly for rehydration (10g of dried Ceps are the equivalent of 100g of fresh ones). £8.90 for 100g available via online gourmet food supplier Excellent Foods: excellentfoods.co.uk
TRUFFIÈRES DE RABASSE BLACK TRUFFLES Truffières de Rabasse was founded recently by Michelinstarred chef Christian Etienne with the aim of supplying high-quality truffles to carefully selected clients. These whole black truffles have been naturally preserved using traditional Provençal methods so that they can be enjoyed all year round and kept for longer (with a shelf life of over two years), but retain all the finesse and deep, earthy notes of the elusive fresh fungi. Try crumbling them onto buttery mashed potato or grating them on top of scrambled eggs for a luxurious treat. £26.50 for 12.5g available via online gourmet food supplier Excellent Foods: excellentfoods.co.uk
Treat yourself or your loved ones to some seriously sumptuous fare COMTÉ CHEESE
This creamy, nutty French cheese is steeped in a heritage of over 1,000 years of artisan cheese making, and is the product of one of the world’s oldest farming cooperatives. It can only be made from the milk from Montbéliarde cattle, who graze on more than 130 flowers and grasses, contributing to the diversity and complexity of aromas and tastes. It’s the first PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) cheese in France and is made at an altitude of between 200 and 1500 metres, in the Franche-Comté area which extends over three départements of the Massif du Jura. Most Comté cheeses are aged from 8 to 12 months, though some are aged as long as 2 years. The longer the cheese is aged, the more intense and nutty the flavour becomes, with salt crystals adding a sharp, savoury edge. It can be paired well with Jura wines, but goes brilliantly with Champagne, Châteauneuf du Pape red or wines from the Loire Valley. You can find out more about Comté at comtecheese. co.uk and follow it on twitter at @comte_cheese. Comté is stocked in most major retailers and you can find a list of stockists here: comtecheese.co.uk/where-to-buy/
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GUIDO GOBINO CHOCOLATES
Italian chocolatier Guido Gobino is considered to be one of the most important artisanal chocolate makers alive today, and is known for his creativity and respect for the remarkable, ancient chocolate recipes of the Turin region. His Chocolate Selection is the result of a mix of creative passion, gourmet know-how and innovation and includes specialties like his famous Classic Giandujotto, Giandujottino and his Cremini.
This is his five gram version of the traditional Giandujotto – the first wrapped chocolate which was born in Turin back in 1865 – created using Piedmont hazelnuts to subsidise some of the cocoa because of the blockade on imports brought in by Napoleon. Guido Gobino’s Tourinot Maximo is made with no milk, according to the ancient Classic Giandujotto recipe. It’s intense, persistent and enveloping, thanks to the finest cocoa and to the higher quantity of Piedmont Hazelnuts (PGI).
Widespread since the second half of the 19th Century, the cremino is another handmade interpretation of a traditional chocolate from Turin, with a typical square shape. It’s made up of three layers which include the gianduja chocolate on the outside, with the fillings changing according to Gobino’s creativity. Classic Cremino: Two layers of gianduja chocolate and one layer of hazelnut cream. Dark Chocolate Cremino: Two layers of gianduja chocolate and one layer of dark chocolate. Sea Salt and Extra Virgin Olive Oil Cremino: Unlike the others, the Sea Salt Cremino is not made up of three layers. This chocolate is in fact a refined and elegant praline of gianduja chocolate, enriched with sea salt and extra virgin olive oil from Liguria. The sea salt used is a particular sweet kind of salt that, together with the extra virgin olive oil, contributes to the creaminess and silky texture of this chocolate. Prices vary, see guidogobino.it
GONNELLI EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
This deliciously fruity extra virgin olive oil can immediately transport you to a Tuscan hillside with its distinctive, perky notes of freshly cut grass – the result of the pressing of Frantoio olives, the most acclaimed variety for the production of olive oil. This is made in Tuscany by the Gonnelli family, who have been dealing in extra virgin olive oil since 1585, when brothers Francesco, Lorenzo and Giulio di Taddeo di Michele di Lorenzo Gonnelli bought the Santa Téa Farm from the monks of the Carmine Convent. Over five centuries, they’ve honed olive oil creation down to a fine art – processing the olives within 24 hours of them being hand-picked and fashioning them into a beautifully full-bodied, ever-so-slightly spicy emerald green slick. Use this sparingly for dressing salads, dipping artisan breads or for giving a ‘wow’ factor to pretty much any ingredient. gonnelli1585.it
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Indigo on the Roof restaurant at Le Gray Hotel
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A Tale of Two Cities With its sleek hotels and heady rooftop bars, Beirut is the go-to Middle Eastern city for the urbane traveller. But the divide between its war-torn old town and glitzy rebuilt centre mean it’s a city caught between being a luxurious capital, and a turbulent Middle Eastern metropolis, as Dave Drummond reports
he distinction Beirut has between ground and roof level is as clear as the divide between its different areas – the historic old town; the glitzy central district; the bay. On the ground you’re likely to wander past walls riddled with bullet holes, politicised graffiti, police, army and tanks: the unsettled history of what still feels like a recent civil war (in reality it ended in 1990) lining the hot and humid streets. Up on the roofs however, where the air thins out, Beirut is the picture of sophistication. At Le Gray, one of Beirut’s premier luxury hotels, there’s an impossibly picturesque infinity swimming pool alongside numerous bars and restaurants, while at the Moëvenpick Hotel, with its own private beach, you have the 24-hour Hemingway bar, offering nibbles and an impressive wine and cigar list. But arguably they’re all in the shadow of the jewel in Beirut’s rooftop crown; Sky Bar. The trouble is, it’s not all that easy to get into – the result of doormen and women so stereotypically vain and shallow, your best chance of entering is by taping a mirror to your face. It’s not worth explaining how I got in, but I did, and up the coveted elevator and down a corridor I’m witness to the spectacle that is at first a sort of explosion of colour, light, noise and people. Twenty-foot LED walls play visualisation loops, fire billows into the air, dancers climb atop tables dressed in skimpy cabaret dress, while impossibly chic punters swig from vodka and champagne bottles the size of small children. There’s no dedicated dance floor in Sky Bar, but this isn’t necessarily somewhere you come to dance, it’s more a temple of fun extravagance. The open air and the sea breeze coming in from the Mediterranean give a surreal
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but sophisticated atmosphere to what in so many other countries would be sweaty and claustrophobic. Across the city, rooftop bars are everywhere, such as Capitol, another bar/club with a highly competitive door policy, sleek interiors and an air of ostensible affluence. It’s a more laid-back affair mind, and makes up for what it lacks in debauchery with understated style. But, as you might imagine, one can’t live on rooftops indefinitely, and Beirut on street level is an entirely different city. When I first arrive I’m struck by the blistering heat of the mid-June summer and the absence of an expected sea breeze, the air sticking to me like Clingfilm. The drive from the airport passes countless buildings on their way to being constructed, all grey concrete shells without windows, but curiously with washing lines and satellite dishes. I assume they aren’t left abandoned from Lebanese fleeing war, but instead by contractors fleeing from economic meltdown. My hotel however, is anything but half-formed. Le Gray is a sparkling beacon of glamour, located on the cusp between a redeveloped and a redeveloping city. At its front sits the old town, where decrepit but historic buildings are ridden with bullet holes, and there’s real character. It’s here that you can find the best pistachio ice cream, or rose water sorbet you might ever taste, but it’s hidden behind a sliding door with no sign, where a single man stands behind his chest freezer asking politely but abruptly “whatyouwant?” To the rear of Le Gray is the Central Beirut District, already in the latter stages of a heady facelift. Here the streets actually shimmer, having been pumped with cash in order to get them back to something resembling the city that was once known (albeit rather patronisingly) as the ‘Paris of the Middle East’ due to palpable French
A chicken sandwich at Lala Chicken
influences (though it gained independence from France in 1943); its beauty, and cosmopolitan reputation. But like any such public display of wealth, the renewed beauty does come with an air of insecurity, and so it’s not uncommon to see the streets heavily patrolled by not unfriendly, but slightly intimidating armed troops. On the other side of the city however, there’s a contrasting atmosphere of modesty and resilience, in both the buildings – still standing and occupied despite continued battering – and the people, who despite having a penchant for talking at you rather than to you, are warm and inviting. On a mid afternoon walk I visit Mar Mitr Street and stop in at Boubouffe, a café offering Lebanese staples. The stand out here is the shawarma, cooked on a doner spit, using charcoal instead of gas to infuse a smoky flavour so often lost in modern cooking. The choice is simple – either beef or chicken – but both warrant savouring. Flavoured with something in the region of 20 spices (the exact recipe is carefully guarded), the meat is tender and fragrant, and like so much of Lebanese cooking, has a sour, acidic kick. It’s a pleasant
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The Bourj Al Haman restaurant at the Moëvenpick Hotel
astringent flavour which comes out in a number of their dishes, notably in anything using za’atar, the spice mix of wild thyme, toasted sesame seeds, sumac and salt, which appears in dishes across the country’s menu. Notably on manoush, a pizza-style flatbread normally baked in a wood-burning oven and slathered with either the mix or seasoned minced lamb, but also makes a surprisingly pleasant croissant filling. Lala Chicken, only a matter of streets away, excels at the same simply prepared food. Its chicken sandwiches are also cooked on charcoal, and feature simple seasoning that highlights the smoke and poultry mix. Beirut has a thriving restaurant scene, and places such as the seaside brassierie Saint Elmo’s; the sophisticated seafood of Mandaloun Sur Mer; the Argentine meat fest of La Parilla; or even the Lebanese outposts of Gaucho and Momo, are deserved of any culinary tourist’s attention. As is the forthcoming opening La Petite Maison, the sister to the swish Mayfair restaurant, which opens in October in le Venodome Hotel – another of the city’s luxury digs – serving seasonal, laid-back gourmet dishes with Cote d’Azur inflections. But the real gems of
We are a young and dynamic company, our goal is to meet our customersâ€™ demands and to serve them professionally. We still work according to old manufacturing techniques yet honoring quality and tradition values that are still present in our region, and that allow us to create modern, exclusive and unique products. We use a vast array of materials, from the most modern and advanced to the more traditional ones: cashmere, moleskin, carded flannel, pure wool felt, suede and leather of the highest quality.
best in order to preserve and continue a manufacturing tradition that makes Italy famous all over the world. The style of our products is clean, smooth and traditional yet combined with innovative creativity intended to give the idea of a healthful and modern lifestyle.
The materials that we use to create our products are all from Italian companies or at least from within the E.U. We give our
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All of this is conceived and made possible in our Bottega completely immersed in the Umbrian countryside, near Orvieto, where we work in harmony with other people and the environment.
Gracia Lala, proprietor of Lala Chicken
The Square roof bar at the Moëvenpick Hotel
the city’s dining options are those in the Boubouffe and Lala vein, where simplicity and tradition are held high. For a more refined, sit down experience which maintains these ideals, Seza’s, in Mar Mikhael, is an unassuming but stylish Armenian bistro serving excellent, simple food. Littered with soft fairy lights and rustic furniture the menu offers dishes such as manti, minced lamb and beef baked in dough and served in garlic yoghurt, to an almost entirely local dining room. It’s the mix of the local traditions and the high-end glamour that make Beirut such an enticing city to visit. The comfort and luxury makes it ideal for the affluent tourist, but it’s just as easy to hail a taxi, barter your way down to a reasonable figure and pray for your life while you rattle down a highway with two lanes but four cars. It’s a city still finding its feet, and so it’s worth going now, while the people are still welcoming and eager to show off their country; while there’s still the resilient character of a post war nation, and while it’s known as Beirut, ‘Capital of Lebanon’, and not the ‘Riviera of the Middle East’.
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Beirut Stay: Le Gray, Waygand, campbellgrayhotels.com ,+961 1 971 111 Möevenpick, General De Gaulle, moevenpick-hotels.com, +961 1 869 666 Eat: BouBouffe, Mar Mitr StreetAchrafieh, +961 1 200408 Lala Chicken, Hekmeh Str, Achrafieh, +961 1 203986, lalachicken.com Seza’s Patriarch Arida Street, Mar Mikhael +961 1 570711, bistroarmenien.com Saint Elmo’s, Beirut Marina, Zaitunay Bay, +961 1 368276 Mandaloun Sur Mer, Biel Area, Downtown, +961 1 999 330, almandaloun.com La Parilla, St Maroun Str, Gemmayzeh, +961 1 585885 Fly: British Airways (britishairways.com); +44(0) 871 945 9747 runs daily, direct flights from Heathrow to Beirut.
Beef shawarma at Boubouffe
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