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eat-my-words-luiz-hara-wk10

Eat My Words – Luiz Hara

This week we interview Luiz Hara the blogger behind The London Foodie. Luiz was a former banker turned food writer and trained Cordon Bleu Chef! Read below about Luiz’s transition into the world of gastronomic delights! You can also follow Luiz on Twitter: @thelondonfoodie  Instagram: thelondonfoodie, Facebook: thelondonfoodie and Pinterest: thelondonfoodie

From reading your blog you moved from a corporate banking career to food. Can you explain to our readers what were the key reasons you decided to take a bold step and change careers completely?

I have always been interested in working the food industry, but I didn’t have the confidence in my early adult years to take that interest to a professional level.  After years in finance and investment banking, and facing a big birthday, I decided it was time to take the plunge and pursue this interest professionally.  I had been planning the move for around 5 years before leaving the City.  Given that work takes up over half anyone’s waking life, I decided it was time to devote myself to a career I felt passionate about. When the time came in 2011, it was difficult to leave the security of a stable job I had long trained for, with a good income, but I am now very glad to have made that decision. 

You have not only taken on the task of being a serious foodie and writing about it but you also trained to be a Cordon Bleu trained Chef! So if there was a title of you, combining the two into their own special ‘recipe’ what would the name be? Or what would be your most prominent title?

Writing as The London Foodie, I would say I am a food writer who can cook. One complements the other – as a trained chef, my understanding of food and cookery, and therefore my ability to write knowledgeably about food has improved.  Equally, as a writer, I get to visit restaurants all over London, which in turn has helped me to raise my game as a supperclub host and chef.   

How do you choose a restaurant to review?

I am not particularly interested in newly opened or expensive restaurants, but am equally happy reviewing a good Italian pizzeria, a dim sum venue or a Michelin-starred restaurant.  I want to find good examples of whatever restaurant style or cuisine I will be featuring, where the chef himself or herself actually cooks the food served rather than spends their time on TV shows.  

Who is your current favourite chef?

Nuno Mendes of Viajante.  I have known Nuno for years, since I first went to his Loft Project supperclub in Hackney.  I have been lucky enough to dine at Viajante on a number of occasions since then. I find his food innovative, creative and very sophisticated.

Most underrated Local Restaurant?

I love Saponara, a local Italian delicatessen and pizzeria in Prebend Street, Islington, serving up what I think is the best pizza in London, with a fine Italian wine selection. It has been serving its local clientèle for years, and I go there often.

How has blogging in general changed your outlook on food/restaurants?

Blogging has broadened my horizons considerably.  Whereas I used to have a few favourite food haunts I would visit regularly, now I need to visit a variety of venues. Blogging has also made me much more observant than I used to be of skills in restaurant design, cooking, value, atmosphere and front of house service.

What are 3 favourite places/dishes you love to prepare and or love at another restaurant?

Japanese and French cooking are close to my heart.  For my recent series of Japanese supperclubs, I created a summer dish of cold green tea noodles served in an ultra-chilled dashi broth topped with deep-fried aubergines and chillies. A perfect dish for a hot summer’s day.

I love unusual sushi combinations. My latest creation, Seabass Sushi Gangnam Style, combines sushi rice and seabass sashimi with elements of Korean cooking including white radish and carrot sweet pickles, wilted spinach in sesame oil, and a garlic and soy sauce jus.

Another favourite is a French classic I love to prepare whenever I can – Pomme Dauphine.  This is a mixture of mashed potatoes and choux pastry, eggs and butter. These are made into dumplings and deep-fried.  Like profiteroles, the dumplings puff up, with a crispy choux exterior, and a light, deliciously fluffy potato centre. They’re great to accompany a main dish with a rich creamy sauce, to soak up all the goodness!

What’s the biggest mistake a restaurant can make in your opinion?

Stop trying to improve.

What do you think the London food scene is missing?

A more continental approach to drinking or in other words partnering small affordable appetizers with drinks. Much as I love pork scratchings with my pint, I also love going to Spain, Portugal or Italy, where I will routinely be served a flavoursome local snack with a glass of wine or beer.

Who’s your favourite food writer/critic?

Jay Rayner.  He’s an entertaining writer, equally at home celebrating a hot chilli dish in a neighbourhood Asian restaurant as critiquing the most stellar chefs.

What has been your all-time favourite restaurant experience to date?

Three Michelin starred Martin Berasategui in San Sebastian, Spain. I was lucky enough to go there for lunch a couple of months ago, and have his tasting menu with accompanying Spanish wine flight.   This was an epic feast, with astonishing culinary skill and exquisite presentation.

Do you have a simple recipe that you would be happy to share with our readers?

I have just made some Avocado Ice Cream, it couldn’t be simpler to prepare. Add 340g avocado flesh, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 340ml whole milk, 120g sugar and 240ml double cream in a food prcessor and blend until smooth. Process the mixture in an ice cream maker for 45 mins. For a firmer texture, you can freeze it for a couple of hours before serving, and voila!

Thanks for the interview and receipe Luiz!

Posted By Mise En Place Hospitality Recruitment

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