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Chef’s Table “Archive” Luke French – Chef Patron of Jöro Restaurant

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Luke French

There are shipping container restaurants and then there are Shipping Container restaurants, Jöro in Sheffield is the latter. The restaurant is situated inside Krynki, a revolutionary new space created to showcase the best and most exciting independent start-ups and businesses from Sheffield, where they can share space, skills and innovative ideas.

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Chef’s Table & Luke French – Chef Patron at Jöro Restaurant in Sheffield

“I started off working as a Kitchen Porter at The White Pheasant in Fordham near Cambridge when I was 14 and then I got really interested in what the chefs were doing. I wanted to have a crack at it so I went full time into the restaurant after my GCSE’s.

I stayed at the Pheasant for about 4 years before moving into Cambridge and working in the university kitchens and local hotels.

“I was very lucky to have a couple of great restaurants locally and spent time at both Alimentum and Midsummer House. Sadly, I didn’t last very long at Midsummer, I bottled it! I was young and I definitely wasn’t ready for it at that time. Looking back I gave up on it way too quickly! I left to do a stage at The Fat Duck and ended up carrying on working there before travelling and working in Asia.

“I was not away long when the opportunity to take on the Head Chef position back at the White Pheasant was offered to me, which I jumped at. It was a couple of years later I moved to Sheffield to join The Milestone Pub Group in which over the six years I worked for them I progressed to Executive Head Chef for the Group.

Towards the end of my time with them, I began a pop-up restaurant called Joro (which translates as ‘Earth’ in old Norse.) to test myself and test the waters of Sheffield to see if they were ready for it. I ran the pop up for around 9 months in which time it gave me space to think and hone in what I really wanted to cook and serve, the style of service, find and train a team, and get some hype for the idea of opening a restaurant.

In December of 2016, we opened restaurant Jöro

Q: Which Chef/s influenced you in the past? Who continues to influence you now?

First of all of the famous chefs was Gordon Ramsay, I remember reading his books and watching him on TV when I was a kid, just starting to realize I enjoyed cooking and didn’t really have a clue about any other chefs in the world, I admired him! He got me interested in the industry. My first head chef Stuart Trangmar was a big influence, he is a great chef and taught me a great deal. He has a great palate and taught me a lot about flavour and tasting food. Heston Blumenthal was a big inspiration to me when I really started to pay close attention to cooking and I was obsessed with the science behind it so naturally, he inspired me a lot.

Gordon-Ramsay Heston_01

I then began to really enjoy naturalness and simplicity of using ingredients once I realized how complex cooking can be but doesn’t have to be – Rene Redzepi and many of the Nordics – based chefs Like Torsten Vildgaard, Matt Orlando, Esben Holmboe Bang to name a few were where I would look to for inspiration. The most present inspirational chefs to me are Gareth Ward from Ynyshir in Wales and Kristian Baumann of 108 in Copenhagen, I really love what these guys are doing in their restaurants. They inspire me a great deal. Of course, my team influence me on a daily basis, they all have similar ways of looking at things and ideas organically come together very well.

Credit: Gareth-Ward-FJONA-BLACK kristian-baumann

 

Q: What would be your last dish (to eat) “the death row question”

It would have to be a roast rib of well-aged beef on the bone, with all the proper trimmings.

Roast Aged Rib

Q: Before you chose to be a chef did you have another career in mind?

I wanted to join the military when I was a kid like most young lads probably do! But I was cooking before I left school and it felt good, so I didn’t look back. It’s the best job in the world.

 

Q: Which restaurant would you like to go to? (that you haven’t had the opportunity to visit yet)

Too many to mention! But at the top of the list at the moment is Ynyshir, Carters of Moseley and Casamia.

**Fortunately Chef, Ynyshir is featured on Favourite Tables so you can book directly when you’re ready…..

 

Q: Have you ever been presented with a dish/ingredient that you just could not eat and where was that?

I ate at the KOKS pop-up at Den Vandrette in Copenhagen, it was one of my most enjoyable dining experiences I’ve ever had, but there was one dish that I just couldn’t stomach. It was a little cracker with fermented lamb intestine fat shaved over it and it was just insanely strong in flavour, I just couldn’t eat it! I admired and understood the reason they serve it and its traditions, but I just couldn’t do it.

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Q: Which city or country is the most innovative in terms of food?

Personally, I think Either Denmark or Spain – the diversity and creativity coming out of them is insane.

 

Q: What is set to be the next ‘new’ ingredient? And which in particular interests you.

Well, It isn’t new, its thousands of years old but it is only now beginning to really hit a lot of chefs reach, and is gaining more attraction; it is Koji – grains that have been cooked and inoculated with Aspergillus Oryzae (a friendly bacteria). It’s the building blocks for soy sauce, miso, sake and so on.

We have been experimenting with it for over a year now at JÖRO, so early days! But it has completely changed the way we cook now and it is part of our cooking DNA. Incredible stuff. We began using it traditionally to make miso’s and following other recipes we’d researched, and then we took a different path with it and it is used in all sorts from bread to ice creams, brining and curing proteins etc. It is magical stuff.

 

Q: If you could change any misconceptions about restaurants/restaurant food, what would they be?

As a whole, the service we as an industry provide, and the food we deliver to guests is NOT expensive. The time, labour, thought and energy that goes into providing it all is worth far more than what we charge people for it. It really pisses me off when people think they are being hard done by in an honest restaurant providing high levels of food and service (all aspects of it) and I’m not just speaking about my own. We have such a high level of respect for the people that get our ingredients to us, whether it be a wine producer or farmer, and everyone in between. Sometimes this gets forgotten. People don’t think about what it has taken for them to receive it, from the welfare of an animal to sustainable fishing and farming etc to getting ingredients from them to training people to prepare and serve it, energy consumption, the people that take away the waste etc. It’s all relative, people must understand it more and I do think some restaurants give away too much, however, I do think that some milk it a bit too. It’s a tough topic.

 

Q: With the increased TV food programmes, is there a greater rivalry among chefs?

I don’t think so. Healthy competition! I think it has made us all more aware of each other, brought us together and in my opinion, it has made us talk more and help each other out. At the end of the day we always want to be the best at what we do, it’s natural, but I don’t think anyone should have a rivalry as such, surely this would stem from a personal problem between chefs and not what they’ve seen on TV… it’s more inspirational no?

 

Q: How important is a Michelin star? A chef in France, who has 3 Michelin stars, recently asked that they be removed because of the pressure – your thoughts

It is the highest accolade. It would make me very happy if we were ever awarded one, either where we are now or in years to come somewhere else. But first comes having a healthy, growing business, happy staff and happy guests, I think if these boxes are ticked and we get better at what we do every day then we can achieve it. But obviously, there is a tremendous amount of pressure to retain these kinds of accolades. I have seen what it takes to retain stars and it is pretty scary to think about if you were ever in the position where it was your reputation on the line…

 

Q: What do you think about negative reviews?

Some reviews take the biscuit, but the really bad ones are mostly just because some people do not understand or research into what it is we do and what we offer, or they have made it up! But everything is taken on board seriously and looked into.

All negatives lead to positives. It makes us work harder and focus more, failing is learning, learning is knowledge, knowledge is a big part of is what makes us better at what we do.

Everyone expects different levels of service, has different opinions and palates, and of course we can’t please everyone all of the time as much as I’d like us to, but so long as they don’t happen regularly and the business is not affected and what we do every service is the best we can, then I’m happy. You just have to take them on the chin and react proactively.

 

Q: You have said that although you love where the restaurant is right now the plan is to have a restaurant with adjacent access to land/farm (like Winteringham Fields) What influence do you see that having on the menus.

We would have better control over when and what we serve. Nature is my biggest inspiration of all so obviously being surrounded by open land would better our style of cooking better than a steel city, we’d have to travel less to forage, food miles would be less for some ingredients, to be more self-sustainable would be great, having to depend less on others. Ultimately it would just make me a happier chef so naturally I think it would benefit the menu, the happier we are the more creative we are and the better we cook.

Q: What is your favourite dish on the current menu/s in which you use foraged ingredients or produce from your most local supplier?

Wild Mallard with blackcurrant and cabbages. The mallards are shot 8 miles away on the Wortley Estate and brought to us the same day, sometimes still warm! The blackcurrants are from a mile away, picked by the team and preserved, the cabbages are grown half an hour away.

Q: If for one night you could be invited to cook alongside any Chef past or present who would that be and why?

Paul Cunnigham (Henne Kirkeby Kro), without a doubt! What a legend. It would be a good laugh with plenty of banter, and the look’s good too!

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My Favourite Tables – Two restaurants I have visited and why?

 

Restaurant (1): Fera at Claridges, London – always a solid meal with great service.

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Restaurant (2): Ashoka, Sheffield – banging curry.

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Gravetye_CT

The Chef’s Table team chat with George Blogg, Head Chef Gravetye Manor

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Growing up in Dorset the young George Blogg was fortunate enough to be introduced to meals containing fresh produce, rather than the prepacked food prevalent at that time. Meals at home more often than not had vegetables or fruit from the family allotment with George helping his mother to prepare dinners evenings and weekends. However, his route into restaurant kitchens came about by chance. Originally studying to be a Geologist, when his mother had to turn down a few shifts at the local Italian restaurant she put George forward to cover. Washing up led to Veg prep and then to junior chef roles. So what started as a means of paying for his studies evolved into a vocation. In his early twenties, the then geology graduate gave up the Earth Science’s to follow a full-time gastronomy career.

His résumé makes for impressive reading with time spent at two Michelin-starred restaurants: Philip Howard’s The Square in Mayfair and David Everitt-Matthias’ Le Champignon Sauvage in Cheltenham. George has also completed stages at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire, The Ledbury in Notting Hill and Noma in Copenhagen. Each playing a part in forming his chef’s style and they instilled many of the benefits around his use of locally sourced and foraged produce. Then following a very successful tenure as executive chef at Hotel TerraVina in Hampshire George moved to the AA Hotel of the Year England 2013-14, Gravetye Manor in June 2014. Gravetye was awarded a Michelin Star which has been retained for the past four years.


Q: If you could change any misconceptions about restaurants/restaurant food, what would they be?

A: That fine dining, or whatever you would like to call it, is not dying. No matter how many places are moving towards more casual dining concepts, this is as much to do with companies trying to improve profits/costs as it is a shift in public need. People expect good value for money, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they want to spend less.

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Q; Have you been featured or would you like to be featured on any TV food programmes, are these types of shows a good thing for the restaurant industry and chefs?

A: I’ve been fortunate enough to host a semi-final of Masterchef Professionals in the kitchen here at Gravetye, filmed over 2 days. As a marketing vehicle, TV is an excellent way to get noticed and improve business. The downside, that I feel some chefs fall into, is that it takes you away from the kitchen, and ultimately that is where you need to spend your time making sure that your guests receive the best experience possible.

 

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Q: How important is a Michelin star? a growing number of chefs and restaurants have recently asked that they are removed, because of the pressure – your thoughts

A: If you cook for the recognition of any guide, you are not cooking for the right reason, which is for your guests. If you care about offering your guests the best experience, then should it make a difference if you receive an accolade or not? Pressure only exists if you care more about the guides than your guests. So I don’t really understand why anyone would ask for a Michelin star to be removed unless they were worried about losing it and/or trying to implement a controversial marketing strategy.

Q: What do you think about negative reviews?

A: I don’t mind negative reviews as long as they substantiate why something is bad in a considerate way instead of being negative just for the sake of elaborating a story.

Q: What would be on your menu if you were creating a diner and could have all the previous owner of Gravetye – Richard Infield, Kathrine Compton, William Robinson, Peter Herbert and Jeremy & Elizabeth Hosking around the table?

A: I would serve them our current tasting menu. We call this menu Time and Place, and it reflects where Gravetye is at the moment. Hopefully, they would all be interested to see what Jeremy, Elizabeth and the Gravetye team have accomplished.

Click for Current Tasting Menu

Click for Current Tasting Menu

 

Q: What is your favourite dish on the current menu, that you have created in the past 6 months and why.

A: We have a cold starter using cured Isle of Gigha halibut, mussels, turnip, caviar, coastal herbs and sesame. It is a dish with a lot of interesting components. It is delicate, but has a healthy richness and looks beautifully natural.

Gravetye_02

 

Q: If for one night you could be invited to cook alongside any Chef past or present who would that be and why?

A: Paul Bocuse, because who else could you choose?

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My Favourite Tables 

Two restaurants I have visited and why?

 

Restaurant (1): Umu, London. It’s a fantastic Kyoto style (more traditional food) Japanese restaurant off a side street in Mayfair that serves impeccably fresh fish and a stunning selection of Sake. It has 2 Michelin stars, and is excellent value for money considering the quality.

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Restaurant (2): Ynyshir, Wales. Gareth and Amelia have created a unique must-visit destination restaurant with rooms.

Ingredient led, flavour-driven, fat-fuelled, meat-obsessed. This is how Gareth describes his food. I love it.

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Awards_Main

Favourite Tables Top Ten Restaurants

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The Favourite Tables Top Ten Restaurants from the last twelve months has been compiled from the number of visits to the restaurant’s page on the Favourite Tables website. This was then weighed against the social marketplace of active “Facebook” likes. More weight was given to restaurants with the most recent new likes on Facebook.

Unlike some other “lists” which are compiled from single “Food Experts” comments or the hit and miss “drive-by” reviews some “Travel” websites favour, the Favourite Tables list has been formed from analysing the locations that were most popular with ordinary people using the website to find great places to eat. With the restaurant’s social media activity across Facebook, where real people “like” a restaurant because they genuinely had a good experience and Twitter for follows and re-tweets were added as a rating.

The cumulative total creates a list of the most popular and best-loved restaurants: 


Topping the list is the very popular – Adams Restaurant in Birmingham

Head Chef: Tom Shepherd’s recent Interview with Chef’s Table HERE

Tom Shepherd Profile Adams_001

 

 

The Top Ten UK Places People Have Wanted To Eat At:

 

1) Adams Restaurant – Birmingham   Screen Shot 2018-09-25 at 14.43.03

(http://www.favouritetables.com/restaurant/adams/)

Position Last Year – 03

2) Ynyshir – North Wales

(http://www.favouritetables.com/restaurant/ynyshir/) – Head Chef Interview HERE

Position Last Year – Highest New Entry

3) Romulo Cafe – London

(http://www.favouritetables.com/restaurant/romulo-london/) – Head Chef Interview HERE

Position Last Year – New Entry

4) The Dining Room at Chewton Glen – Hampshire

(http://www.favouritetables.com/restaurant/dining-room-chewton-glen/)

Position Last Year – New Entry

5) 64 Degrees – Brighton

(http://www.favouritetables.com/restaurant/64-degrees/) – Head Chef Interview HERE

Position Last Year – 01

6) Lympstone Manor – Exmouth Devon

(http://www.favouritetables.com/restaurant/lympstone-manor/) – Head Chef Interview HERE

Position Last Year – 04

7) The Old Downton Lodge – Ludlow

(http://www.favouritetables.com/restaurant/old-downton-lodge/) – Head Chef Interview HERE

Position Last Year – New Entry

8) The Coal Shed – London Tower Bridge

(http://www.favouritetables.com/restaurant/the-coal-shed-london/)

Position Last Year – New Entry

9) Pale Hall – North Wales

(http://www.favouritetables.com/restaurant/pale-hall/) – Head Chef Interview HERE

Position Last Year – New Entry

10) Prevost – Peterborough

(http://www.favouritetables.com/restaurant/prevost) – Head Chef Interview HERE

Position Last Year – 05
A few restaurants have proved very popular recently and are just outside the Top Ten simply because they have only been listed for a short period so when looked at over the past twelve months the count of visits was lower.

Notably:
Alchemilla – Nottingham (http://www.favouritetables.com/restaurant/alchemilla/)

The Hand – North Wales (http://www.favouritetables.com/restaurant/the-hand-at-llanarmon/)

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Chef Cyrus Todiwala sits down with Chef’s Table

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Cyrus Todiwala

 

Favourite Tables recently sat down with Bombay-born chef Cyrus Todiwala OBE the Chef Patron of the iconic City of London restaurant, Café Spice Namaste, and the eponymous Mr Todiwala’s Kitchen at the Hilton London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5. Heathrow is soon to be followed by a New Opening of the same name at the brand new Lincoln Plaza London in Canary Wharf.

Cyrus is a champion of the environment, sustainability and follows closely the ethos of his Parsee community to undertake good works for others. He recently launched the ground-breaking Zest Quest Asia, a student culinary competition designed to develop skills and raise the profile of Asian cuisine ably supported by wife Pervin Todiwala and the Master Chefs of Great Britain.

He is an Ambassador for The Clink Charity and Patron of the British Lop Pig Society. He appears regularly on BBC Saturday Kitchen, has written numerous best-selling cookbooks, and has his own line of hand-crafted pickles, chutneys and sauces.

With such a busy schedule we made the most of the time we had and fired off our questions…

 


 

Q: What would be your last dish (to eat) “the death row question”

CT: “Dhaan Daar Nay Vaghaar” — quite simply, Parsi-style daal with rice and caramelised onions and garlic. Or breakfast prepared by my wife Pervin.

Cyrus-Todiwalas-dhan-daar-nay-vaghaar

 

Q: Before you chose to be a chef did you have another career in mind?

CT: I would have wanted to get a degree into agricultural studies, I have always loved nature, plants and the soil.

 

Q: Which restaurant would you like to go to? (that you haven’t had the opportunity to visit yet)

CT: Le Gavroche

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Q: Have you ever been presented with a dish/ingredient that you just could not eat and where was that?

CT: I once struggled miserably with fermented tarantula. It wasn’t the most appetizing, but I ate it, partly to look good…choke!

TarantulaDish

 

Q: Which city or country is the most innovative in terms of food?

CT: I feel it’s London. Here you find creativity and novel ideas everywhere, every day.

 

Q:  What is set to be the next ‘new’ ingredient? And which in particular interests you?

CT: These aren’t so much ingredients, but tastes and processes.  Umami and fermenting have certainly made a comeback. I’ve already run two master classes on them.

 

Q: If you could change any misconceptions about restaurants/restaurant food, what would they be? 

CT: There are so many misconceptions surrounding restaurants. Not all restaurateurs are making money hand over fist, and neither are we all ogres when it comes to staff welfare, which is sometimes what the media makes us out to be. In fact, restaurants have to work very hard to survive and landlords and councils need to be more considerate towards owners and operators.

Tough it may be, but it’s also true that the restaurant industry is open to people from all walks of life, and regardless of age, it can offer career opportunities. You could be starting out your career or making a change, or wanting to develop new skills. All the industry asks for is the right attitude, aptitude and the desire to work. The restaurant industry can help solve unemployment problems so long as Government is understanding and flexible with us. How? By taxing us less so we can be allowed to flourish.

Q: Have you been featured or would you like to be featured on any TV food programmes. Are these types of shows a good thing for the restaurant industry and chefs?

CT: I have been featured and would definitely like to be featured more. On whether these shows are a good thing for the restaurant industry depends on how well the programme is made and the light it shines on the industry. This is how impressions are made. Young people are either motivated or disillusioned by what they see, and producers have a role in seeing to it that the right message gets across. Chefs do benefit immensely from these food programmes. But the danger is they can also relay the wrong impression to young budding chefs, who then feel that getting on TV is an absolute necessity.

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Q: How important is a Michelin star? A growing number of chefs and restaurants have recently asked that they be removed, because of the pressure – your thoughts.

CT: It depends on how much you desire it. It’s this desire and determination, and sometimes desperation, for whatever reason, personal or professional, that can drive some to insane lengths. Michelin is a recognition of all round standards, though it has also become such a status symbol that some obsess over it, adding to the pressure. Perhaps some are giving it up because they discovered that they chased it for the wrong reasons, or perhaps misunderstood its core meaning. Maybe the fear of losing the stars is simply too great. On a personal note, the media and the industry do give great importance to it, to the extent, it seems that those who hold Michelin stars then belong to an elite club. But Café Spice Namaste has held a Michelin BIB Gourmand longer than any other in the Michelin Guide and we’re very proud of this. It means good value, good food. Maybe this is what most people are looking for today.

 

Q: What do you think about negative reviews?

CT: Unless totally justified, I think sometimes they’re not as honest as they ought to be. At times, reviews can be quite vindictive to the extent of destroying an establishment. But sometimes a negative review kick-starts the recognition of weakness and can drive one towards achieving excellence too. One incident, one bad interaction, or just one bad day for the restaurant or individual does not mean that the place is bad or that all staff are indifferent. So I think a review should be backed up by more than one or two visits.

 

Q: If you received a call from Buckingham Palace with a request for Chefs who have received an OBE to prepare one dish each for a Dinner for The Queen and a small group of visiting dignitaries, what would be your dish?

CT: I would still do what we prepared for Her Majesty during the beginning of her Diamond Jubilee tour, the “Country Captain” or Indian Shepherd’s Pie. I think that would stand out by providing a real cultural connection with India. It will help showcase how the very first spice influences weaved their way into Britain, leading to the current desire for spices and hot food. It would showcase Britain today as the most multi-cultural nation in the world where people don’t just mingle and live together but take part in one of the most important things in life — good healthy eating made using top quality ingredients!

 

Recipe2

 

Q: What is your favourite dish on the current menu that you have created in the past 6 months and why.

CT: “BEEF XACUTTI”. It’s always challenging to put this curry on the menu except if you are in Goa itself. Being one of the most intricate and labour – intensive curries it can let you down heavily. It is performing extremely well on the menu and is impressing diners as we had hoped it would, making all that effort that went into it worthwhile.

 

beef-xacutti

 

Q:  If for one night you could be invited to cook alongside any Chef past or present who would that be and why?

CT: Oh, there are too many! The reason, moment, or event would play their part in my choice. For one, I would like to cook alongside a regional Italian master to showcase the similarity and the link to one’s Persian heritage. Franco Tarusho would be the most likely companion as his style of cooking is brilliant. Though retired now, I still have a very deep respect for this grand master. Having said that, Mr Mosimann is my hero and perhaps doing a selective menu with him would suit me very well!

 

Franco 220px-Anton_Mosimann_2011

 


 

My Favourite Tables  – Two restaurants I have visited and why?

 

Restaurant (1): Green Papaya, Mare Street, Hackney, London.

191 Mare Street, London E8 3QE, England. www.green-papaya.com

Well, we dine here more often than not. It’s the place for us to relax and chill, enjoy some good food and very friendly staff. We know the owner very well too. We’re never disappointed.

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Restaurant (2): Good Earth Cromwell Road.

Address: 233 Brompton Rd, Chelsea, London SW3 2EP. www.goodearthgroup.co.uk 

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Park House featured

Matt Waldron, Head Chef at Park House Cardiff Talks to Chef’s Table

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Matt Waldron, Head Chef at Park House Restaurant Cardiff

Matt started his career in a small country house hotel named The Glen yr Afon in Usk, completing his apprenticeship in cooking.  His interest in food science lead him to complete a degree in culinary arts and food science in The University of West London.  Staying in London Matt worked his way through some very established restaurants with Helene Darroze at The Connaught Hotel being his most influential.  After two and half years there it was time to come back to Wales.  Working as Sous chef at Restaurant James Sommerin in Penarth from the opening of the restaurant until it gained a Michelin Star taught him a lot about running a restaurant and all that goes with the territory. After completing his time there he then moved on to work for Gareth Ward at Ynyshir, which holds a Michelin Star and 5 AA Rosettes.

Matt took over the kitchen at Park House in the summer of 2018 and has immediately had an impact. Matts style of cooking is based on exquisite flavour using Welsh produce from the coast and off the mountains. He has cultivated strong relationships with farmers and works closely with small local suppliers which gives him the ability to handpick the produce to ensure it’s the best he can get his hands on.

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CT: Which Chef/s influenced you in the past? Who continuous to influence you now?

MW: Working for Helene Darroze in The Connaught for 3 years influenced me massively.  Her philosophy of using the very best products and treating them with respect and care.  Seasonality was a massive part of her menu.

Helene-Darroze

Closer to home a big influence is Gareth Ward at Ynyshir.  The way he creates his dishes, works closely with nature, the acidity of dishes, and just the simplicity of his dishes to the eye makes one of the most amazing restaurants in the UK.

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CT: What would be your last dish (to eat) “the death row question”

MW: My mums Sunday dinner.  Roast beef, roasties, and all the vegetables from dads garden.  Cant beat it.

 

CT: Which restaurant would you like to go to? (that you haven’t had the opportunity to visit yet)

 

MW: Piazza Duomo in Northern Italy. The food at Piazza Duomo is inspirational due to the use of local food products from his kitchen garden and around Alba.  They have such amazing produce in that region and Enrico Crippa just showcases it at its best.  It is his take on Italian food with influences of Japan visible in his dishes.

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CT: What do you think about negative reviews?

MW: I think negative reviews can be a good thing.  No one is perfect and sometimes things don’t go to plan, but that’s life.  You have to see in what context the review was written in.  If used properly negativity can be flipped into positivity, ideas to improve something, maybe something that hadn’t been spotted before.  All reviews whether positive or negative are a good thing, but the people that write reviews just to get something for nothing should stop, it can be quite damaging to a business.

 

CT: If you received a call from Buckingham Palace asking you to create a Dinner Menu using the best of Welsh produce what would you feature?

MW: The main event would definitely have to be Preseli lamb, for me, it’s the best lamb around.  The abundance of seafood we have around us I would definitely have to use the crab from Solva and our vegetable guy who has an organic veg farm. His vegetables are incredible.

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CT: What is your favourite dish on the current menu in which you use foraged ingredients or produce from your most local supplier?

MW: My favourite dish on the menu at the moment has to be the pork belly, shiitake mushroom, pickled sea weed and smoked eel.  The pork belly comes from Pembrokeshire, the seaweeds are all picked from Barafundle bay 10 minutes from my house in West Wales.  We pick the seaweed every Monday then process it for the week ahead.

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CT: If for one night you could be invited to cook alongside any Chef past or present who would that be and why?

MW: Charlie Trotter.  His food is very classic, looks immaculate and focuses on seasons.  He introduced America to food styles not seen before, very bold for the time.  He was ambitious and wanted everything perfect, from the minute you walked in the door.

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My Favourite Tables – Two restaurants I have visited and why?

Restaurant (1):  Gareth Ward at Ynyshir.  The food is exceptional.  There is a continuous development there and the place keeps getting better and better.

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Restaurant (2): Restaurant Frantzen, Sweden.  It’s a combination of relaxed atmosphere and incredible food.  There is no stone unturned there, the attention to detail is out of this world.  If I could afford it I would eat there once a month.

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Chef Stuart Muir of Dine Edinburgh talks to Chef’s Table

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Stuart Muir Dine

 

Chef Stuart Muir is the executive head chef at DINE in Edinburgh. He was born in Stranraer in 1969 and education at Stranraer Academy. His ambition at school: “I always wanted to be a chef. There was nothing else I ever really wanted to do”.

Growing up in is very remote part of Dumfries and Galloway and it’s untouched wilderness, he learned many skills that still serve him well today including how to tie his own Flies for fishing the local rivers for wild trout. His father would also take Stuart shooting for pheasant, duck, geese and pigeon on the nearby moors bring the birds home and hang them up in the families garage. He understood from an early age how to pluck and gut the catch and then alongside his mother in the kitchen the skills of cooking fresh game and fish. This upbringing forged his passion for local, seasonal produce that has been present throughout his career to the opening of his own restaurant, Dine in Edinburgh.

To this day he still holds the accolade of being the youngest Scottish chef to be awarded a coveted  Michelin Star.

Chef’s Table wanted to find out a little more about what other influences help space his menus today of classic brasserie style dishes with an emphasis on Scottish seasonality and locally sourced ingredients.

 


 

CT: Which Chef/s influenced you in the past? Who continuous to influence you now?

SM: For me, it’s always been Rick Stein for his love of seafood and travelling. His innovative dishes never fail to impress.

Rick Stein

 

CT: Which restaurant would you like to go to? (that you haven’t had the opportunity to visit yet)

SM: Eleven Madison Park in New York. Owned by esteemed chef Daniel Humm, its evolution in food and culinary experience has put it top of my wish list. I’m desperate to try the famed ten-course tasting menu.

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Website – https://www.elevenmadisonpark.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ElevenMadisonPark/

 

CT: If you could change any misconceptions about restaurants/restaurant food, what would they be?

SM: Dining out and experiencing great food made with locally sourced ingredients doesn’t have to be expensive. When we launched Dine back in 2015 we saw this gap in the Edinburgh market so this has become what the restaurant is all about – affordable yet innovative seasonal fayre in relaxed luxury surroundings.

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CT: What would be your last dish (to eat) “the death row question” 

SM: Grilled langoustines with garlic butter and some crusty bread washed down with Charles Heidsieck’s Blanc des Millénaires

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CT: What is the one piece of kitchen equipment you could not do without and which would you never use or want to see in your kitchen? 

SM: I couldn’t be without my specialist set of knives and there are other’s in the kitchen I wouldn’t use or try.

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CT: What is your favourite dish on the current menu that you have created in the past 6 months and why.

SM: I am loving our hand-dived scallop starter dishes which comes in various incarnations. It’s also a customer winner too.

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CT: If for one night you could be invited to cook alongside any Chef past or present who would that be and why?

SM: It would have to be legendary French chef and restaurateur Georges Auguste Escoffier. He popularised and updated French cooking and his disciplined methods and techniques made him a modern cooking visionary.

Escoffier

 


My Favourite Tables– Two restaurants I have visited and why?

  1. Paul Tamburrini’s eponymous restaurant in Edinburgh is a blend of French cuisine and Scottish ingredients – it’s an exceptional experience for the diner and I love his passion for locally sourced produce, especially game.

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Website – www.paultamburrini.co.uk

2) Frog by Scottish chef Adam Handling in Convent Garden is another favourite. His technical skills coupled with inimitable cooking style makes for an outstanding experience.

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Website – www.frogbyadamhandling.com

 

Michelin starred Stuart Muir is executive chef and co-owner of the multi-award winning brasserie, Dine. www.dineedinburgh.co.uk 0131 218 1818

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War of the Roses, a foodie battle of epic “portions”

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Thursday 29th November sees the return of the much anticipated War of the Roses, with The Freemasons’ Lancashire lad and Chef Proprietor Steven Smith taking on Yorkshire lad and Head Chef / Patron Josh Overington, of Le Cochon Aveugle, York – in a battle of the two counties.

Tickets are £70 per person with an optional £40 per person to include a wine package.

Tickets for this event have always sold quickly so booking early is recommended.

Guests will be treated to a six-course meal Two Starters, Two Mains and Two Desserts and will be armed with scorecards detailing each course from both chefs. All six courses will be scored individually up until the end of service and you decide who will be victories – either Yorkshire or Lancashire.

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War of The Roses Menu

Soup
Veloute of Woodland Mushrooms, Fondue of Proctor’s Kick-Ass Cheddar, Truffled Cheese Hotdog

Scallop
Hand-dived Scallop Baked in the Shell with Sea Urchin Butter

Lamb
Roast Rump and Kofta, Miso Aubergine, Mint and Yoghurt

Hare
Hare ‘A la Royal’ with Quince Cooked with Saffron

Vanilla Slice

Warm Chocolate Mousse
With Sea Salt Ice Cream, Pepper Tuile and Olive Oil

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The Battle will take place at Le Cochon Aveugle in York

 

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Punjab Curry Supper returns to The Fox at Lyng

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Forget the Indian Summer, how about Christmas in a Tipi

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Have you planned your Christmas party or Christmas Dinner… No, a bit early?

Favourite Tables has been adding Christmas and even New Year menu’s to restaurant Showcase pages on our website for over 5 weeks now. Some locations are now reporting SOLD OUT days.

So with hundreds of menus coming across our desk every day and the Bah Humbug of “it’s only September” the ones that catch our eye are just that little bit special. Like Christmas in a Tipi from the team at The Maybush:

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Look what we discovered in Soho…..

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We were recently invited to a “Private” event in a Soho basement. The only information shared with us was that multiple guests could interact at the same time…

Yes we were intrigued!!!!

It turns out that the creative team at Inamo Restaurants had invited favourite tables to the Interactive Private Dining/Event video games room…phew

To be found below the Inamo Soho restaurant (http://www.favouritetables.com/restaurant/inamo-soho/ )

Inamo has always been inspired by technology, great food, and interactive fun. The Games Room is the next stage in that evolution. A unique private area to the heart of Soho with its own bar and private dining options. Double wall projections span more than 150 inches, there’s a choice of over 150 games on popular games consoles, and up to 8 players can game simultaneously. Yes, it’s massive.

A fantastic fun and flexible location for kids and adults alike! A sneak preview video can be seen below showing the projectors in action.

 

For an evening with your colleagues or a birthday party with a difference, the Games Room is the perfect location. Featuring 2 x PS4s, 2 x Wiis, and Atari gold for retro games, with Chromecast & Apple TV, you can play, drink, eat, sing(for those of a Karaoke persuasion!), watch TV (e.g. live sports), and even project your own content onto the walls for a private presentation, screening, or just showing off your favourite images, videos & music. Perhaps just a games night taking on your mates at Fifa18 on one projector, and watching a live football match on the second, or Wii tennis and a Grand Slam?

Contact Maria, the Party Manager, by email to events@inamo-restaurant.com or call 020 7484 0500.

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