Ferran Adrià is a genius.
Jason Atherton says the word is used too often – “Wayne Rooney kicking a football will never be genius” – but in Adrià’s case it’s different. He is a genius. Of that there is no doubt. Gee-nee-us.
Adrià stands up and takes the stage following Atherton’s introduction. He starts speaking in Spanish.
“It’s clear I’m no genius at all,” says Adrià’s translator, “because I don’t even speak English.”
The audience laughs. So, he’s a genius and he’s funny. Crikey, he’d be a real hit with the ladies if he could cook asw… oh, right, yeah.
We’re sitting in the main lecture theatre at IET London’s Savoy Place residence to hear from the man behind elBulli, the best restaurant in the world before it closed its doors in 2011. He is speaking ahead of the opening of his Somerset House exhibition, elBulli: Ferran Adrià and the Art of Cooking, in part to give us a flavour of what to expect from the show but mainly to talk about what he has got planned for the future: namely, the elBulli Foundation.
There are three projects that his team are working on: elBulli DNA, elBulli 1846, and La Bullipedia.
And it is the latter, La Bullipedia, that is perhaps the most intriguing. It will be an online database of gastronomic knowledge and will connect chefs all over the world to the ideas and techniques that are at the heart of the elBulli philosophy. But it will go beyond just chefs, La Bullipedia will involve and encourage all manner of cooks, from the professional to the most humble home kitchen.
Although Adrià didn’t say a great deal about La Bullipedia – we were shown a video that went some way to explain the concept – he promised to come back to London in September to discuss it in greater detail. As ever, Ferran Adrià kept his audience wanting more; just like when he closed elBulli at the peak of its popularity, he closed it with his audience wanting more.
The most touching part of the evening came with a video taken on the restaurant’s last night, just after the last service at elBulli. The head chef and all his staff were jubilant. This came as a surprise to him as he imagined it would be a solemn occasion.
“But we knew it was the beginning of something else,” he said. “We were happy because we knew elBulli would continue – the spirit of elBulli had to continue.”
And through the three projects, it will. The Foundation will allow 30 chefs every year to discover the most original, innovative and inspiring gastronomic delights. It’s an R&D lab for chefs, essentially.
While the elBulli exhibition at Somerset House is breaking the mould – it’s the first art exhibition based on a restaurant – and even though Adrià has always been pushing the boundaries of the now and setting new standards for the future, he is only too aware of the importance of history. elBulli created and served 1,864 distinct dishes during its lifetime. Auguste Escoffier – “the Van Gogh of cuisine” – was born in 1864. Hence the name: elBulli 1864. This project was created as a respectful nod to the past as much as it was a welcoming appeal to the future.
You must understand the past to fully appreciate the possibilities of the future.
Adrià didn’t say that last line but it feels like something he would believe. He is frustrated that so little has been done at universities on cuisine – “where is the knowledge on cooking? Who’s done a thesis on Escoffier? Why have academics been so slow to look at cooking?” – so with the elBulli Foundation he is hoping to spark a new movement. From recipe book to text book. From the kitchen to the classroom. “Our lack of knowledge is the most irritating thing, the next generation must know more than us.”
Ferran Adrià is a visionary. He is a genius. Because of that I have little worry in being candid with you at this point: I barely understand elBulli DNA, elBulli 1846 and La Bullipedia. I understand their underlying concepts and I get what they are hoping to achieve, generally speaking. But I’m not sure I fully appreciate them for what they are yet. I know they will be revolutionary; I know they will play a part in changing how we look at and interact with food. I just don’t quite know how.
Perhaps I’ll have to wait until September to find out more.
You often lose something when hearing people speak through a translator. It was clear the Spanish-speaking members of the audience laughed more than the rest of us – we laughed at the translators’ comic timing as much as we did at Adrià’s material. But does language matter? Atherton went on a pilgrimage to work at elBulli during the summer as a 28-year old without knowing a word of Spanish, let alone Catalan. And he did ok for himself didn’t he? elBulli’s grand project will bring people together from all over the globe who speak in thousands of different dialects, but Adrià isn’t concerned.
“Our language will become cuisine itself,” the genius said.
We were going to see One Man, Two Guvnors that evening. I had excitedly booked a table for two at the Modern American Steak House (MASH) on Brewer Street four days earlier after finding out that they offered a pre-theatre menu. From the moment the cheerful lady at reception – it felt like a reception, though there may be a more restaurant-friendly word for this – offered to take our coats, I knew it was going to be an agreeable evening.
I was looking forward to the food. My girlfriend was looking forward to the theatre.
MASH, despite its name, is actually a Danish export. That’s not a terribly important nugget of information, but it does make the next sentence flow better as you read it.
The waiter – probably a Danish guy – showed us to our seats. Big, red, sexy seats. We were placed in the middle of the restaurant – I could see about 190 seats in front of me, she could see about 190 seats behind me. It’s a BIG place. An old Art Deco masterpiece, the building itself is a sight to see.
“Have you ever filled this place?” I ask.
The waiter hesitates. Why’s he asking? A few cautionary shakes and rolls of the head. “We’ve been very full many times, but I don’t think we’ve ever had a situation where there hasn’t been a free table. Yet.”
MASH has been open six months so it’s been reviewed many times already. I’m not a restaurant critic and this isn’t a review. It’s a blog of my food-based experience, which just happened to be inside a restaurant. I mention this because I don’t care if they’ve been full or not. Like the waiter, I don’t want you – the reader – to think there’s an agenda for the things I say here. There isn’t.
OK, back to the non-review.
FREE TAP WATER! AS MUCH AS YOU LIKE! IN A CARAFE! WITH ICE!
Oh, the joys. Why can’t other restaurants do this? It’s a simple gesture – ordinarily you’re made to feel like a cheap, grotesque Neanderthal who’s just scuttled his way from the gutters of 1840s Paris. The waiter Javert to your Jean Valjean. So Bravo, MASH. Bravo.
For the £22 theatre menu you get a choice of two courses – a starter and a main, or a main and dessert. I have a sweet tooth, so it wasn’t a difficult choice.
I could have had a Danish sirloin, a Uruguayan Ribeye, or a Uruguayan strip. How am I supposed to choose? I ask the waiter what he recommends.
“For the lady the New York Strip is very lean and tender,” he proposed. “The man must have the strip.”
It just got personal, folks.
“But if you prefer you can share steaks – we’ll carve it for you at the table and you can have whatever you wish.”
Deal! Good idea, we both think.
In a tawdry attempt to keep up a show of manliness I suggest we order the Sirloin and Ribeye. No lady meat at my table, thank you. *Slaps waiter on the back and calls him ‘mate’*
“We can share sides too?”
Fantastic. I was struggling between the mash and chips – who wouldn’t? – but the waiter said we could have both. I haven’t been this excited about having two servings of carbs on one plate since discovering the delights of asking for chips and smiley faces at the school canteen.
While we wait, two glasses of the pricey Pinot Noir arrive in encouragingly large glasses. It was silky and fragrant – based on everything we’d experienced at MASH so far that evening, we weren’t surprised by the quality of the wine.
Following the little bit of theatre in carving the meat, which was done with commendable care and attention, we tucked in.
What is there to say? The meat was exquisite; perfectly cooked, tender, delicious. Everything a steak should be. The Sirloin had a deep, smoky flavour that worked well against the creamy potato and delicate red wine – we both preferred it to the Ribeye.
I imagine the side of mash was a 50:50 blend of potato and butter. The best kind. I wasn’t sold on the chips – were they frozen? – and would certainly just go for the mash next time round. The clue, I guess, was in the name on that one: MASH.
Dessert – mine cheesecake, hers crème brûlée – was average. We were a little pressed for time to get to the theatre and with my eternal disquiet about being late we rushed through it. The cheesecake was fine – how good or bad can a cheesecake really be, right? If I were to be critical I’d say it was too big, but fine.
The bill came in a quaint, MASH-branded envelope – little details make a big difference – and the “damage” wasn’t bad. You’re eating steak so it’s never going to be a cheap meal, but for the quality of the food, the attentive service and experience as a whole it was well worth the £73 debited to my card. I would recommend MASH to anyone; it’s worth that little bit extra … and besides, don’t forget the water’s free.
The next time we go to MASH, both of us will look forward to it. Forget the theatre.
Ingredient 1 Butter – 70g
Ingredient 2 Plain Flour – 150g
Ingredient 3 Golden syrup – 675g
Ingredient 4 Fine white breadcrumbs – 270g
Ingredient 5 Clotted cream – dollop
Step 1 To make the pastry rub the butter and plain flour with your fingertips until it resembles rough breadcrumbs then add 2 tablespoons of cold water to form a soft ball of dough. Rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Step 2 Line the pastry in a deep-sided (4cm) 20cm tart tin with a removable base and chill for 20 minutes. [Pre-heat the oven at 200°C/gas mark 6]
Step 3 Warm the golden syrup in a saucepan, stir in all of the fine white breadcrumbs and then pour into the uncooked pastry shell.
Step 4 Slide the tart into the oven and bake for 15 minutes and then turn the heat down to 180°C/gas mark 4 and continue cooking for 15-20 minutes.
Step 5 Serve warm with a dollop of clotted cream. To decorate you could use raspberries, a sprig of mint and a dusting of icing sugar.
We exchanged several emails to arrange our interview. I’d called a few days earlier but just missed her before the school run…or was that her greeting the fishermen just coming back with their fresh catch? Or the menu writing and food prep for the restaurant? Or an errand for the outside catering side project?
Emily Scott is a busy woman. When her voice came on the line – a chirpy, fond, “hello” – three weeks after our initial introductions, I knew I’d been fortunate to pin her down.
“The thing with me is I’m strong,” she said. “I know exactly what I want to do and of course I’m quite competitive: Right, ok, done that, what can I do next? … even if I’m juggling a lot already.”
Emily Scott is the Head Chef and owner of The Harbour, a small fish restaurant nestled on the cusp of the cove in Port Isaac. The building itself is a glorious relic from the 15th century, which even in an idyllic Cornish village marks it out as a remarkable venue. It’s a cosy, warm little place with an address that couldn’t be any more apt: Number 1 Middle Street.
Along with her partner, Jason Brain, who is the Front of House, Emily has been running The Harbour for the last five years.
“It’s a small restaurant and my menu is short, but I want that to reflect the fact that I make everything … from the aioli to the pastry to the bread to the salad dressings – nothing’s bought in,” Emily said. “The menu is entirely dependent on what the fishermen bring in that day.”
She continued, in a tone you might identify as timid or shy were it not for the palpable ambition and pride that underpinned every word: “There’s only me in the kitchen. I have a second chef that will prepare plates for me and cold starters but I don’t have someone on scallops, another on mains; it’s all…me.”
The food at the restaurant is “simple;” that’s the word she used to describe her whole ethos of cooking to me, but she hates the word “rustic.” Emily said it doesn’t convey how refined her food is…and yet in truth it does have a rustic elegance; a hearty finesse.
For Emily, a good restaurant doesn’t rely on one element but is about the experience as a whole. A restaurant, she believes, is a vehicle for creating life-long food memories and they cannot be formed without the atmosphere and surroundings to complement great food.
“I think you can serve the best food in the world but if your service doesn’t match or if it’s not very comfortable or doesn’t feel right then I think it almost doesn’t matter what comes out of the kitchen. It’s a combination of everything – it’s a bit of theatre.”
It’s important to Emily. Eating good food should be memorable – like the time she ate peaches on the terrace of her French Grandfather’s home in Bagnol as a child.
“I can think of nothing nicer than having a table of people drinking delicious wine and food. It sounds corny but you are making memories for people. I think that’s where my cooking is driven – let the ingredients speak for themselves.
Above all else Emily believes the ingredients must be allowed to shine – “I’m certainly driven by the seasons; you won’t see blackberries on my menu in January or strawberries in December” – the skill of the chef is to merely to enhance them.
“I’m not into foamy sauces and streaks of jus on the plate. Those things have their place, and they’re technically amazing, but I’ve just got to the point where I think, no, I really like what I do. Every day I think maybe I should change something, but…”
She doesn’t finish the sentence. I can only assume that was because she was thinking about making a complicated change to her menu that evening, just because she could. She was thinking about not keeping it simple for a change – about not being…rustic.
Picking the conversation back up a little later she said, “I think you can see that everything we do is with care and attention.”
You can, and it is. Emily Scott doesn’t need to change what she’s doing – every day she creates menus that delight and food that thrills. Simple or not, she is responsible for some of the finest food memories in Cornwall.
Don’t take my word for it, she won Best Chef at the South West Food Magazine’s award ceremony in January. Emily called it an “amazing achievement” but, being the humble woman that she is, said, “it’s a team effort because you’re only as good as the team around you.”
Rarely in a person do you find such modesty paired with an intense competitive fire. You get the impression Emily’s food has matured a great deal over the last three years; she is comfortable with her style of cooking and proud of her achievements. That’s why she’s ready to tell people about them.
What’s next for Emily Scott?
“I’m working on my book at the moment,” she explained. “That’s definitely one of my top goals … It’s been my on-going project for a while but in the last month I’ve sorted out my chapters.”
The book – likely to carry a title along the lines of ‘The Harbour Kitchen Cook Book’ – will be a tour de force of Emily’s food memories, her love of ingredients and some dishes from the restaurant in Port Isaac. It won’t be just a cookbook with recipes and pictures but rather a window into the mind, and heart, of Emily Scott.
She also wants to explore television opportunities – “sometimes I think TV chefs make things look scarier than they are; I’d come at it from a down-to-earth angle” – and she’d also like to share her recipes and ideas in magazine features to show people what her food is about.
She describes these things as being “completely out of my comfort zone.”A few years ago I doubt Emily would have talked about TV and magazines with me but I think now she’s confident enough in her own ability to understand that people want to listen to her.
I told you she was ambitious
Emily and Jason are looking to move on from The Harbour soon and begin a “bigger project … with a bar and outside space.” The trouble with The Harbour is its size. It only has space for around 30 covers and as a result they have to turn many people away. Emily said that they’re looking for a place in the same sort of area of North Cornwall but it will likely be outside of Port Isaac (and not Padstow). I’m curious about how she will cope with being cut off from The Harbour restaurant because it seems so closely aligned with her style of cooking.
“I’ve created an outside catering business – it’s called the Harbour Kitchen. Anything I do in the future will be from the Harbour Kitchen. I won’t lose that.”
Emily runs the Harbour Kitchen with Emma Stephens, who is also the Front of House with Jason in the restaurant. It caters for weddings, of which they’ve had three since April with over 120 guests at each, as well as other smaller functions.
“I thought I didn’t have enough to do so we started doing big weddings! … Tomorrow I’ve got a private dinner party at someone’s house for 25.”
I did mention that she had three small children as well, right?
Emily Scott is a busy woman.
“I’ve been at The Harbour for five years and I feel like I’ve come to a point where I’ve achieved everything I can in that small place.”
Emily Scott is an ambitious chef. Expect big things from her.
Food Heroes Nigel Slater, Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers from River Cafe, Dan Lepard, Fran Warde and St John’s Bread & Wine.
Food Heaven Strawberries in June (or peaches on a sunny terrace in France)
Food Hell Rice pudding
Emily kindly gave Chef Insight her homemade treacle tart recipe for our 5-in-5 section – 5 ingredients, 5 steps. Take a look and give it a go here.
What would McDonald’s in heaven look like?
That’s the concept Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent reflected on nine years ago before establishing their first Leon Restaurant in Carnaby Street. How can you make healthy, fast food?
“There is nothing in the words ‘fast’ and ‘food’ that means it needs to be disgusting or unhealthy,” Leon’s founders Henry and John told Chef Insight in an email interview. “We thought: what would happen if you took the fast food machine but put great ingredients and creativity in one end?”
With 13 restaurants across London, Leon is certainly in fast-food-chain-territory and Henry and John said they plan to continue expanding the Leon brand over the next five years. Year after year the restaurant wins plaudits for its healthy eating menus too.
Before trailblazing the healthy fast food market, Henry and John plied their trade for Bain management consultants. The story goes that one day Henry phoned John and said something to the effect of: “Let’s quit our jobs, work at Burger King for a month for research purposes and then set up a naturally fast food restaurant chain.” They did, and it seems to have all gone to plan. And so, having side-stepped the habitual quagmire of management consulting, and with the success of Leon palpable, earlier this year Henry and John went in search of their next challenge.
“It was a problem that needed to be solved,” they said of the need to differentiate the terms ‘fast food’ and ‘greasy food’ when Leon was just an idea. The same affirmation applied when they decided to tackle the issue of healthy cooking at home with the recently launched Cook 5 programme.
“A large proportion of young adults in this country are leaving home with no idea how to cook and we want to change that with Cook 5.
“The aim is to teach children under 16 how to cook simple, nutritious meals before they leave home.”
With research suggesting that around 60% of 18 to 25 year olds were leaving home without the ability to cook five simple dishes in 2011, Cook 5 aims to instil these basic skills in young children now in order to wipe out this statistic in a decade’s time. Like most of us, a love of food began at a young age for Henry. He notes that his mother, the cookery writer Josceline Dimbleby, has been his biggest culinary inspiration. The Leon founders are hoping to impart a similar passion for food and thirst for knowledge with Cook 5. (And if that wasn’t enough there are various prizes on offer for lucky winners! Take a look at www.cook5.co.uk)
“There is a lot of work to be done on changing the food culture in this county,” Henry told Chef Insight.
I suggest there’s an underlying lack of respect for food in the UK, emanating from the robust American influence on British culture in the mid-20th Century and the post-Thatcher consumer boom. Henry sees it differently, but confesses to there often being little appreciation for the lifecycle of food and ingredients.
“Perhaps it’s not a lack of respect so much as a lack of awareness of where the food we eat comes from and changing that starts at home and in the classroom.”
The Cook 5 programme will be a “big focus” for the Leon pair. Since its launch earlier this year Henry explained that over 1,000 children have already signed up to the scheme and 100 have uploaded their first dishes.
“Our target for this year is to get 100,000 children cooking five dishes but we won’t stop there. We want to get every child in the UK cooking so we’ll keep going until we achieve that.”
I don’t have children (yet). If I did I’d sign them up for Cook 5 in an instant. But in the long-term I suspect that’s not quite the point, is it? Children have to be motivated and enthusiastic about food for this programme to work; they should want to sign up for themselves. Just like Henry’s mother did for him, that interest in the food on our plates begins at home and it’s the responsibility of parents to nurture it. While Cook 5 is aimed at kids, the programme’s success will ultimately be judged against its ability to reach out to parents. It needs to spark a mini food revolution in every home in the UK; encouraging kids to understand the food they eat, encouraging families to sit down and eat together. If it can do that, Cook 5 has the potential to reverse generations of nutritional neglect in Britain.
“When everyone can cook five things this country will be a much better place,” John Vincent states.
It’s an admirable venture. The concept is straightforward and plainly has the capacity to expand and be rolled out nationally. But that essentially depends on people finding out about it. Every headmaster, pediatrician, sports coach and parent in the country needs to have a sign waved in front of their face to make sure they’re getting the message: LOOK, COOK 5!
Let’s all hope they take notice.
Before wrapping up, I just had one final question: Any regrets about leaving Bain all those years ago?
Thanks to Henry, John, and Laura at Leon Restaurants for their help. But a Chef Insight interview wouldn’t be complete without first asking for a recipe, that’s why we’ve created a dedicated tab where we’ll host a recipe from all of the chefs we interview. They all contain 5 ingredients and are explained in 5 easy steps……we call it a 5-in-5 recipe. Have a look at what Henry and John contributed: Perfect scrambled eggs.
Let us know what you think – write in the comment box below or email email@example.com.
Ingredient 1 Five medium eggs
Ingredient 2 A dash of milk
Ingredient 3 A good pinch of chopped fresh parsley, or basil, or coriander, or thyme
Ingredient 4 One tablespoon butter
Ingredient 5 Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Step 1 Crack the eggs into a bowl, add the milk, salt and pepper (and the pinch of chopped herbs, if you’re using them), and beat them all together with a fork.
Step 2 In a heavy-based pan, melt the butter over a medium heat until it starts to foam.
Step 3 Pour in the eggs, and start stirring at once with a fork or a wooden spoon. Keep stirring constantly as the eggs start to come together.
Step 4 The question now is: how runny do you like them? As the eggs begin to come together, start turning down the heat – they’ll keep cooking in the warmth. Keep stirring until you’ve got them just how you like them, and serve out on to plates at once. Bear in mind, the eggs at the bottom of the pan will be firmer than the eggs you serve first – just in case some people prefer them one way or the other.
Step 5 Garnish with an extra grind of black pepper and tuck in.
For further inspiration from the Leon team head over to www.cook5.co.uk/recipes.
“The time at the tone is 11:53 in the evening.”
That’s what the Japanese speaking clock lady informs us at the beginning of Less Than Jake’s Look What Happened, which is the third track on Tim Anderson’s playlist for his new Shoreditch restaurant, called Nanban.
The actual time when I heard this tune from my rapidly receding youth was around 7:49 in the evening. It was Thursday 14th February, Valentine’s Day, and I was sitting at a table in Ozone Coffee Roasters near Old Street tube, which was the pop-up venue Anderson was using to host his restaurant’s second preview event. This was my prize for becoming @NanbanLondon’s 1,000th follower on Twitter. (If you’d like to see some fantastic photos of the evening taken by Paul Winch-Furness click here).
We were greeted with a friendly smile from the waitress and a complementary beer. We were told it was brewed by a niche outfit in Stoke Newington called Pressure Drop Brew and, on quaffing some, it appeared to have an unusual tang not dissimilar to the taste of sweet potato. That’s because it had been brewed with sweet potato. Don’t worry, it’s a good thing.
We drank, we waited around, yadda yadda yadda. Then, thirty minutes in, we were seated and the man himself (who I idolised in some very small and insignificant way during his run on MasterChef in 2011) shushed the crowd and welcomed his 40 or so guests. Two things struck me following his address: First, Nanban is a proper, fully-fledged Japanese restaurant and does not conform to my previously held belief that it would serve modern European food with a slight Japanese twist. This is Japanese food, folks. 日本人!
I’ll admit in hindsight this was a naive, lazy assumption and should not have come as a surprising revelation. But there we have it.
There were five courses – Chicken Nanban, Mini Kumamoto-Style Garlic Tonkotsu Ramen, Mackerel Kake-ae, Mentaiko Yaki-onigiri, and Nagasaki Castella with Purple Sweet Potato (spot the theme) Ice Cream – which was brought to everyone in whatever order they were ready. Almost instantly Anderson had created an informal, order-from-chaos-type calm in this East London coffee shop. It was pleasant, comforting.
We had the mackerel first and, after a brief moment of panic following the misidentification of a soy sauce-marinated chunk of the pelagic fish that my girlfriend is allergic to, I’m happy to report that it tasted damn good. If I’m being picky the dressing was a little strong, overpowering the delicate flavours of the vegetables on the dish, but a good starter regardless. I won’t dissect the menu course by course but the highlight was unquestionably the Tonkotsu Ramen which had an intense pork broth made yet more vivid by the accompanying spicy miso butter bomb. The Chicken Nanban didn’t fail to deliver either with its light, crispy batter and flavoursome meaty centre. The lowlight? With it being Valentine’s evening I appreciated the effort to make the “triangular” rice balls (Mentaiko Yaki-onigiri on the menu) into heart shapes, but they were not to my taste. At all.
But all things considered the food was excellent. I’m not a Japanese food lover as such, but it doesn’t take a weatherman to tell you it’s raining. Tim Anderson is conjuring all his technical and creative nous for his first restaurant project – the food won’t disappoint.
The second thing from Anderson’s welcome speech that resonated with me was the unconventional fact that he wants music to be central to the dining experience at Nanban.*
“Let us know your feedback about the menu at the end of the night,” said Anderson, wrapping up his opening speech. Then a slight pause, the cogs evidently whirring away… “And don’t forget the music, let us know what you think about the playlist too!”
I missed, ignored or just plain didn’t care what the first two tracks on the playlist were but as soon as the words “And I swear it’s the last time and I swear it’s my last try” filled the air and Less Than Jake’s guitar chords hit it suddenly became clear to me who Tim Anderson is, and perhaps more tellingly who he does not want to be. He is not trying to become a Michel Roux or the next Phil Howard. For Anderson, the informality of his “southern barbarian” food** and the to-Hell-with-it fun playlist underpins the culture of Nanban as a restaurant and showcases Anderson as its 1990s-influenced avant-garde composer.
When Anderson came round to speak to us after the meal he didn’t ask if everything was cooked to our liking; he didn’t probe us on our thoughts about the fine balancing of textures and he didn’t question us on whether or not we thought the dressing on the mackerel was a little strong, overpowering the delicate flavours of the vegetables on the dish. He asked us if we had fun!
The answer was most definitely yes. We left with our appetites satisfied at around 10:22 in the evening, smiling as we went.
* The playlist also included Weezer’s My Name is Jonas, I’ve Got Soul But I’m Not A Soldier by The Killers, The Lovecats by The Cure, The Ting Ting’s That’s Not My Name, A Message To You Rudy by The Specials, and two from The Clash, namely I Fought The Law and Rudie Can’t Fail. There were some Japanese tunes mixed in there too – I couldn’t begin to list what they are though. Sorry.
** According to the handy information printed on the back of Thursday’s menu, the Nanban moniker derives from the Japanese meaning “southern barbarian,” which is what the locals originally called the European settlers.
As a prize for becoming @Nanban’s 1000th Twitter follower I’ve just won a free dinner for two (or an invite to the soon-to-be-opened restaurant’s preview event). I was a huge fan of Tim Anderson during his masterchef run and earmarked him as my favourite/the winner from the beginning, which makes this little competition win all the more exciting.*
I’ll be making notes on the evening (whenever that may be, I have no clue) so keep an eye out for my first impressions – if I’m super-lucky I may even have get a quick word Tim while I’m there…..well, I’m getting ahead of myself perhaps, but we’ll see…..
*In addition to the fact that I’ve never won anything before.
I’m part-way to securing the first interview for the Chef Insight blog and all I can say is: Holy-flying-garlic-crushers friends it’s a good one! I don’t want to say too much, or tempt fate unnecessarily, but if the said chef agrees to speak with me for the inaugural interview I think it will blow your socks off. It has mine.
All I’ll say is that he’s world-class and Michelin starred. He’s been front and centre on countless television programmes and steamrolled the competition in one particular British show…twice. And last but not least, he’s probably one of the nicest guys I’ve never met.
Watch this space…
Welcome to the Chef Insight blog. After finding it difficult to find a news source that consistently delivered in-depth interviews with Michelin-starred and revered chefs I decided to establish this blog dedicated to exactly that: Talking to, listening to and learning from the best chefs in the world.
I’ll be looking to update this blog as often as I can with exclusive interviews with those chefs who wish to share their passion for food and some of the secrets of their success (…hopefully the odd recipe as well!). In short, I aim to get the Chef’s Insight.
Now all I need is some willing volunteers to get started! I’m just about to email a few of the best chefs in Britain and ask them very politely if any would like to be the first ever interviewee on the Chef Insight blog. Wish me luck…