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    Specialist recruiter to the Catering and Hospitality Industry. Our values: Professionalism, Integrity, Flexibility, Partnership

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Posts Tagged ‘food’

Eat My Words – Mark Morris

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Mark Morris is here chatting this week. As a celebrated chef he travelled around the world. He is owner of The Staff Canteen, the much talked about social networking site that every chef or wannabe chef should know about. There’s an app that goes with that too. We were interested in what words Mark had for us to eat…you can follow him on Twitter too @CanteenTweets

The Staff Canteen community is huge and growing daily. Everyone’s downloading Chef Plus. We love it! Please tell us a bit more about how things are cooking and what you have planned for the future?

Our focus at The Staff Canteen now is very much about trying to improve the content we put out. We’ve always invested heavily in terms of video and we see that as a major factor in our success. If you look at our YouTube channel, you’ll see that it’s just passed 60,000 views in the last 30 days which just shows the audience our videos are getting. Chefs are time poor and while it’s important to have good editorial written content, the reality is that video is so easy to consume.

The opportunity is there now for a chef to watch another world-class chef creating a dish – like this month we have three star Michelin chef Jonnie Boer from Holland cooking two dishes for us. It’s one of the closest things you can get toactually being there with him in the kitchen.

So the main focus is to reach more chefs, to widen what we do, to reach into Europe and America – my biggest goal is to get into America – and overall to improve the quality of the content we put out.

It must be hard to pick favourites but who have you really enjoyed interviewing at The Staff Canteen and why?

I think I’ve enjoyed every single chef and I genuinely mean that. It’s impossible not to enjoy Raymond Blanc. The man is infectious; he’s just so passionate and genuine. It’s difficult to capture that passion and enthusiasm on a video but I hope we did it. The fact that such an incredibly busy man gave us his time was a complete honour. And it was the same with ReneRedzepi at Noma. He has the world’s media knocking on his door yet he invited The Staff Canteen in to do an interview. He doesn’t need our PR. He’s in the New York Times and all over the place but he did it because he knew that we are a website that chefs go to. El Celler de can Roca as well; all of these places have been a huge privilege to do and I’m grateful to all the chefs for their time. But I enjoy all of them. I’m like a kid in a sweet shop when I’m in there; it’s fantastic.

What is the best bit of advice you’d give someone wanting to become a Chef? And what was the best chef advice you ever received and from who?

I can’t remember who, but the best piece of advice I was ever given was: you’ve got two ears and one mouth, so listen before you speak.

I would say to anyone aspiring to be a chef: it’s a very hard industry but it’s a very rewarding industry. It can’t just be a job because the hours are too long and I think that’s why the industry has such a high drop out rate. It has to become a way of life and if you can’t make it a way of life, you’re not going to make it work.

I would also say: work at the highest possible level you can because once you’ve been to Manchester United or Man City you can play anywhere, whereas if you start at a lower league club, you might be lucky and go up, but it’s much more likely if you start at the top. Also just work very, very hard at what you do. It isn’t going to happen overnight. Raymond Blanc didn’t become successful overnight. It took him many, many years.

You have a huge membership already but who would be your dream member and what would you like them to do on the site?

I don’t really know. We have a lot of great chefs already who look at the site without being members. I like it when things happen like the other day when I saw Tom Kerridge. He said:“That was a fantastic chicken dish on your website, Mark.” And I realised he meant the recent Featured Chef video and I said: “Did you watch it?” And he said: “I watch all your videos.” I thought that was amazing.

Of course we’d like all these great chefs to post recipes and comment on our site but the reality is that they’re extremely busy. And I get as much satisfaction from a young student coming onto The Staff Canteen saying “this is a great site” as I do from Tom Kerridge watching my videos. I think it’s important you don’t become an elite club. You have to be accessible to all chefs and you don’t want people to be intimidated. I want everyone to use it and share their knowledge and collectively raise everyone up.

Which Chefs inspired you as you were growing up?

Loads. Raymond Blanc was hugely inspirational. Paul Gaylerwas a huge influence. At a time, in the eighties, when to be a top chef you either worked in London or in hotels, PaulGayler was one of the first British chefs who came out of a hotel and became a restaurant chef and he is one of the greatest British chefs, in my opinion, of a generation. AntonMosimann, who I worked for, was a phenomenal influence on me – a really traditional chef with a massive brigade at The Dorchester. Alan Hill at Gleneagles was a massive influenceas well.

And of course you can’t be of my era and not mention Marco Pierre White. I remember when his book, White Heat, came out. It was one of those jaw-dropping moments. The photos became iconic and Marco became iconic. Suddenly there was this bad boy with long hair chasing food critics out of his restaurant and almost seeming to not give a damn, and yet at the same time he was doing the most amazing food. He was like a rock and roll bad boy turned chef and suddenly all chefs wanted to be like him. So you can’t be from my generation and not be influenced by Marco.

Which chefs do you think we should keep an eye out for in 2013?

I think we’re really fortunate at the moment with some phenomenal chefs out there with great backgrounds. JamesKnappett is one, doing his own thing at Bubble Dogs; Paul Foster at Tuddenham Mill – again a brilliant chef;  MarkPoynton at Alimentum; Russell Bateman at The Grove; MattGillan at South Lodge; there’s a huge buzz around Tom Seller’s new opening. We’re at a really great time with some really great chefs coming through and I think it’s very exciting for the whole scene, I mean I could have listed 20 or 30 names in answer to that question.

Where was your last dining out experience? How was it?

Geranium in Copenhagen – we went over to film RasmusKofoed and he very nicely cooked us dinner. Although I must say that I’m very much against going to places to interview chefs and expecting them to cook you something. In fact I get very embarrassed and humbled when they do and I never want people to think: “Oh God, The Staff Canteen are here; we’ve got to cook them dinner.” These are immensely busy people and to give us their time is more than enough.

Anyway, the food at Geranium was absolutely fantastic. One of the things that really impressed me was there was very little cooking – lots of preparation but very little meat-in-a-pan style cooking. We had eight or nine courses and it was just a wonderful selection of Nordic cuisine. And you didn’t walk out feeling like you’d eaten half a cow. It was a lovely dining experience.

What’s your favourite local restaurant and favourite meal?

I don’t know; I like really simple things when I go out. I sometimes think that pubs try too hard. Why not just do a really good lasagne or a really good cottage pie or shepherd’s pie instead of trying to do pork belly or something like that and maybe not doing it right? So if I go out I like really simple things and really informal dining. I have children so it has to be accessible to kids. And I never mind paying for something. I would rather go and spend £15 on roast beef than £5.95 and wonder where the meat has come from. I don’t have a particular restaurant where I think, I must go there. I just like very simple, well-cooked food.

What is your favourite food related website? Favourite Foodie Tweeter?

Loads. I like The Critical Couple website. I like The British Larder blog. I like Elizabeth on Food; I’d love to have her lifestyle and I like her writing style, which is very objective.

In terms of tweeters, again Elizabeth on Food; I think her tweets are fantastic and her blogs are fantastic. She’s not there to create an audience with sensationalism. She writes what she honestly believes. There are loads of blogs and websites out there that are just vanity projects. For me to like it, I have to know it’s objective and like the writing style. The moment the writer becomes bigger than the blog I just forget about it.

Thanks Mark!

Posted By Mise En Place Hospitality Recruitment


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Eat My Words – Damian Wawrzyniak

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

In this weeks addition we have been joined by the extremely driven and unsurprisingly busy Damian Wawrzyniak. This Chef has many pies to keep him busy. Damian runs The Fine Art Of Dining . He had a hand in looking after the Olympics 2012 after refining his skills all over the world. Educated and experienced from working at the ”worlds best ” – NOMA restaurant. You can now find him popping up at restaurants everywhere, running around consulting on all things food related and of course cooking…at live demonstrations in fact! Head over to the website to book your seats and guarantee yourself a personalized pop up with a difference. Follow Damian on Twitter.

We love the site and the services on offer, please tell us more about how things are cooking at The Art of Fine Dining…

We are Cooking Great, thanks! Busy with Restaurant Consultancy and Pop Ups. After my work experience at Noma and a few (sixteen!) years in very busy kitchens across the whole of Europe, FAOD have got reputation of quality, great prices and fantastic service. We are still getting more and better but being a chef it is all about pushing to the limits! Potato Skins are our latest ‘push’.

Who inspired you to become a chef and what’s your favourite thing about the job?

My dad is a chef. Since I could walk I was spending all my time with him in the kitchen. I was always jealous as he could chop faster than me and now I’m nearly as fast as he is. My inspiration is my wife and without her I would not be able to do what I am doing. My wife is always supporting me and now she is also running part of our business (restaurant interior design). The favourite thing about the job are always satisfied guests!

Whats your favourite local restaurant and favourite meal?

I love @m1lkcoffee, very small Coffee / Restaurant in Balham! I adore their Smashed Avo dish and they do have BEST COFFEE IN THE WORLD!

Who inspires you now and who would you really like to work with?

Rene Redzepi is the person who is inspiring me. His love for food is huge! He is also a very nice guy. I would like to work with Simon Rogan.

Best piece of advice to someone wanting to be a chef?

Don’t do this for money…

Where would you like to go locally to eat in the future that you haven’t tried yet?

Scotland, maybe not locally but I would like to go there to get ingredients, cook it and then eat it.

What food, if any, would you like to try but haven’t got around to yet?

Real Japanese

Where was your last great dining experience and why?

Joel Robuchon in London. Chef made dessert for me which is not available in London Branch but only in New York – that was a treat for me. Class!

What do you have planned coming up that we need to know about?

We have set dates for my Pop Up Restaurants including :

20.04 Cambridge – Eight Courses
11.05 Balham / London – Eight Courses
06.06 Cambridge / Eight Courses

My food will be also available whole week between 28.07 – 05.08 at Aura in Mayfair / London. All information are available on our website – www.fineartofdining.co.uk . We also have on offer Culinary Courses including RAW Cooking and Chef at Home services. We are always happy to create something new for our clients.

Thanks Damian!

Posted By Mise En Place Hospitality Recruitment

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Eat My Words – Sat Bains

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

This week we are delighted to chat to the talented and much loved Chef Sat Bains. His book ‘Too many Chiefs, only one Indian’ has been named ‘Best In The World’ at this years Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. We’re not surprised! If you haven’t checked it out yet, please do, you’re missing out!

Restaurant Sat Bains based in Nottingham not only has a main dining room but you can enjoy a Chefs table  in an anteroom off the main restaurant kitchen which seats from 4-6 people. It’s totally exclusive with a door that slides open into the kitchen where you’re served by Sat or the chefs themselves. It’s very interactive and great fun. Then there’s the Kitchen Table which is in a private building across the courtyard from the main dining room with private access from the car park if you want, it seats 4-6 and for this you have your own dedicated chef cook your dishes in front of you. That way you can see each component ingredient being cooked and how they plate the food too. Finally there’s the Kitchen Bench which is brand new and bang slap in the restaurant kitchen’s new Pastry section, it seats up to 4 people and gives you a full on view of how a professional kitchen at 2 star level works. Head to the website to make your booking, order Sat’s book and enjoy everything Sat Bains! Follow Sat on Twitter!

Here’s what he shared with us…

What’s been the best thing to come out of the launch of your book? How will this affect your cooking?

Getting our restaurants philosophies and DNA on paper, and of course winning Best designed cookbook in the World wasn’t bad either…. It was a brilliant journey working with brilliant people like Anthony from Face Publications, the designers for the book. John from Darkwater did the photography and the results say it all.

Many chefs look up to you as their Chief! Who’s YOUR top faves and what have they taught you?

I love what Heston has achieved through perseverance and determination to create one of the best restaurants in the world. Ferran Adria for his pure Genius, I was very lucky to eat there twice at Elbulli. These were life changing experiences and what he and the team at Elbulli have shown is possible is incredible. Its such a shame that more chefs didn’t get his message, to create means not to copy. He’s probably the most copied chef in Modern History.

What’s the best piece of advice you’d give someone wanting to become a chef?

Give yourself a 10 year plan and stick to it, assess it every year to see if you’re on track and if not, do something about it. Don’t just sit on your a*#e waiting for something to happen, it f*@$#!g won’t!!!!

Whats your favourite thing to cook? Favourite thing to eat if someone else cooks and who would you want to cook?

I love cooking meat and game when in season, and I love eating vegetables as I think they are actually harder to get right. My favourite thing for someone to cook, or prepare for me even is Sashimi by a Japanese Master. I was very lucky to have this in Chiba last year and it was a masterclass of simplicity, craft and respect of the ingredients.

What food, if any, would you like to try but haven’t got around to yet?

Vietnamese

Where was your last dining out experience? How was it?

Le Manoir, last week, very good!

What’s the plan – where do you go from here?

I try every single day to be a little better, to push my team a little further on their paths to fulfil their potential.  To extract a little more flavour from every single ingredient that comes into the restaurant and to be more in tune with my surroundings. To create a World Class Restaurant where you can only ever taste a dish we have created here in Nottingham, and to relish this brilliant journey of Gastronomy I have found myself on…….as I feel very privileged indeed.

Thanks Sat!

Posted By Mise En Place Hospitality Recruitment

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Eat My Words – Dan Catford

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

We have been joined this week by highly creative and passionate Head Chef at  The Lamb at Angmering Dan Catford. You can follow what Dan gets up to on his blog that includes many scrumptious treats for your eyes and mouth.  Keep a look out for him being featured over at Visionary Dining in the coming weeks. You can find  him on Twitter

What made you want to be a chef and what’s your favourite thing about what you are doing now ?

I always had a love for food. My earliest memory would be standing on a stool helping my nan peel roasted peppers for a party my family where having. My passion for food then grew and thought the most natural path for my career would be to become a chef.
My favourite part about the job, especially at The Lamb at Angmering, is being able to have a free reign of the kitchen. Being able to put dishes on that I like and that I can tweak and play with to get a great menu. I love the buzz of a Saturday night service when your full and that first check comes on , it’s like going into battle !

What do you consider to be your biggest achievement so far and what do you have in the pipeline?

My biggest achievement so far would be getting this head chef job so early into my career at the lamb ! I have a few things in the pipeline that I hope to achieve though one being getting a rosette for the lamb and second hoping to start up my own venture one day starting off with my pop up restaurants around Sussex and surrounding areas cooking modern British food in a relaxed atmosphere. I also have a photo and video shoot with visionary dining.com which I am very much looking forward too.

Which chefs inspired you growing up?

My biggest influence in my career would probably be my executive chef from bailiffs court hotel, Martin Hadden. Martin taught me everything and suppose could say made me the chef I am today. But other chefs that inspire me now are Tom Kerridge, Tom Aikens, Paul Ainsworth, Heston Blumenthal, Simon Rogan and Ernst Van Zyl

Where was your last dining out experience? How was it?

My last dining experience was at a local Tex Mex restaurant called limings which was not great at all to be honest ! Starters were good but mains where poor and not value for money

What’s your favourite local restaurant and favourite meal?

My favourite local restaurant for everyday meal would be a little Thai restaurant called Lemongrass who make a damn good massaman curry ! For a special occasion I love the pass at South Lodge Hotel. The food I had there last time I went was easily best meal I’ve had. Matt Gillan is a great chef and rightly deserves his star and four rosettes.
My favourite meal, although I spend my time cooking fine dining food with the best ingredients, would have to be chicken enchiladas, nachos and guacamole.

Who inspires you now and who would you really like to work with?

Everything inspires me from my wife to be, to my great sous chef Richard Cook, to seasonal produce, the great chefs I’ve already mentioned and the world around me. I’d really like to work with Tom Kerridge as he is an amazing chef, to have two Michelin stars for a pub is outstanding and would love to learn from someone that skilled, plus he looks like a good guy to work with.

Best piece of advice to someone wanting to be a chef?

Be passionate, listen to everything you hear in a kitchen whether it’s the head chef telling you, or a kitchen porter, you can learn from everyone. Be patient too, you do not leave college and instantly walk into a kitchen as a sous chef on good money. It’s a bloody hard job but if your passionate and dedicated it all pays off eventually !

Favourite thing to cook? Favourite thing to eat if someone else cooks and who would you want to cook it?

My favourite thing to cook is probably a really nice fresh piece of fish. Nothing better than crispy skin and flaky juicy flesh. My favourite thing to eat is either;- my fiancée  Shelley’s spaghetti bolognaise or my mum’s roast dinner. It’s heard everywhere around the world but you can not beat your mums cooking

Thanks Dan!

Posted By Mise En Place Hospitality Recruitment

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Eat My Words – Gary Hunter

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

This week we have the pleasure of being joined by Gary Hunter – The Head of Culinary Arts, Hospitality and Food and Beverage service at London’s Westminster Kingsway College. Gary also writes professionally and is Chocolate Ambassador for the United Kingdom. Here’s what he had to share..

You can follow Gary on Twitter

Check out London’s Westminster Colleges websites here and the link above.

What do you consider your biggest achievement so far? Any plans for the future?

My biggest professional achievement so far is the building of the Westminster Kingsway College Culinary and Hospitality School to being a leading education and training centre for the hospitality industry. The size and diversity of the team has doubled since I have been Head of Department and the specialism that each teacher brings to this team is truly inspiring, current and relevant. Seeing our students graduate each year, with the skills and experience they have attained at the college, and going on to become great chefs and ambassadors for hospitality is a great achievement.We have lots of future plans at the college, such as the new refurbishment project which will transform the Vincent Square site in approximately three years. This means that we have to have a team capable of delivering up to date skills for hospitality to match our location and environment. There are so many strategies associated with this to develop Westminster Kingsway College’s true potential and live up to our heritage. It’s an exciting time to be here!

What’s the most important tip or bit of advice to give someone wanting to enrol at Westminster and embark on a life in the food & beverage industry?

To do their very best at school, even though they may not be particularly academic or enjoy the school environment. But also to research the industry and the college so that they are fully aware of the standards we operate to and expect from our students. They are second to none! Finally, go online as quickly as possible to download and complete the application form, even if you are not too sure which course you want to apply for, because we can explore this at interview so that you can select your best option.

Favourite local restaurant and meal?

I guess London is local to me so I’ll go for The Wolseley for a brasserie style that has service with a smile and a ‘can do’ attitude. The food is very good too and I can start with breakfast, have elevenses, then lunch, afternoon tea and a nice supper without leaving the table!

Last enjoyable restaurant experience – where, what and meal?

Taking my wife and two daughters to Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons for lunch earlier in the year. The setting, service and food is unbeatable and I wanted my daughters to really experience this first hand. I also love taking my wife there for a weekend, just as a little treat for the both us once a year or so. All the stresses of life seem to melt away as soon as I drive into the grounds!

Favourite thing to cook and who would you like to cook for? Favourite things to eat if someone else cooks and who would you have cook?

I love to cook with good local ingredients such as a Label Anglaise Chicken (derived from the old Cornish Red) from Temple Farm in Essex, Salt Marsh Lamb from Woodbridge or Walton-on the Naze, North Norfolk Samphire and Cromer Crabs and Lobsters, plus a really good single origin chocolate. I would love to cook for Paolo Di Canio, Sir Geoff Hurst, Sir Trevor Brooking and Julian Dicks! I love my wife’s cooking – she really is a great cook – so it would have to be her cooking everything I’ve just mentioned and of course a great chocolate pudding or dessert.

Most admired chefs growing up, most respected now and who to look out for in the future?

Growing up it would have to be the Roux Brothers, because they opened the world of cuisine and possibilities to me. Marco is another great influence and is still so very underrated even today.
For the immediate future; look out for Ollie Dabbous, who opened Dabbous in Fitzrovia and his head chef Ross Gibbens, also for Mark Froydenlund – head chef at Restaurant Marcus Wareing and alumni of the college.
For the medium term future; Ben Murphy an ex- Professional Chef Diploma student of Westminster Kingsway College – he will go very far!

Where would you like to go locally to eat in the future that you haven’t tried yet? What food, if any, would you really like to try but haven’t got around to yet?

There are many restaurants opening around London that I need to try but Viajante is high on my list. Last year I travelled to Japan, Shanghai and South Korea and lovely the food out there. But I know that I only skimmed the surface of what these countries have to offer and want to try more – especially in Japan.

What’s your favourite chocolate?

There are many types of chocolate which I adore, from different producers too – but Madagascan chocolate produced from the cacao plantations in the Sambirano region and within the Ambanja district.
The chocolate from Original Beans who also look at conservation as well as farming is beautiful and some of the best I have eaten.

What’s inspires you to keep writing books? Anything in the pipeline?

I love writing and when people tell me that they were informed or inspired by a book that I have written, all the pain and heartache of that process is so very worthwhile. We have the second edition of the Professional Chef Level 3 being published in March and we are very excited about that because it really covers a wide ranging set of topics that no other educational culinary book at the level covers. There is an on-line book that accompanies it too, which is interactive and balances out the book really positively. I have other books that publishers have asked me to write, so I guess I’m going to be a very busy chef over the next couple of years!

Great Thanks Gary!

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Eat My Words – Ben Mulock

Monday, February 18th, 2013

We have been joined today by the talented Ben Mulock – Sous Chef at the Opera Tavern situated in Catherine Street, London. Ben caught our attention tweeting about Bikes for Boobies, cycling London to Paris in aid of Breast Cancer…with pink hair. Here he tells us more…

You can taste Ben’s cooking  at  Opera Tavern . Follow Ben on Twitter to keep updated on his training. If you would like to sponsor Ben and donate to a worthy cause, please visit his Just Giving page.

How did you get involved? Who are you doing it with and what will you be eating during your training?

While I’m training it’s a lot of protein and plenty of fluids –  lots of grilled chicken with lots of veggies. On the nights before training rides I’m demolishing big bowls of pasta and big hearty stews. I wanted to raise money for breast cancer care because unfortunately, a number of friends and family have been affected by breast cancer and the charity does great work in supporting people. The trip is organised by @skylineoverseas and I’m doing it with people from all backgrounds who are raising money for various charities.

What are your cooking plans for the future? Anyone you’d really like to work with?

I think my plans for the immediate future are getting my own  restaurant and exploring a slightly different concept style to that which I am working in now. I love tapas and this is service style which I believe I  am likely to continue for the rest of my career.  I would quite like to work with Adam Perry Lang, I’ve always enjoyed his style.

Last restaurant you ate at that you really enjoyed? Where? Why?

That would have to be Zoilo by Diego Jacquet. It’s an Argentinian small plate restaurant really close to Selfridges. I really love Diegos approach to food, every single plate was perfectly balanced.

Which Chef have you enjoyed working with the most? Best advice?

There’s two really, I got a great lot of discipline  and work ethic installed in me whilst working under Ian Rhodes at Le  Talbooth when I was a Comi which I think has kept me pushing while working  in the industry. And secondly Ben Tish the Chef Director of Salt Yard Group for giving me the freedom as a sous working with Jamie Thickett to develop my own style of food and plating. And the best advice I was ever given was go with your gut and Always work with people that will push you.

Chefs most admired growing up? Now?

I always admired Pierre Koffmann’s style and honesty holds true and to this day I remember the first time he came to Opera Tavern with Richard Vines and I got to shake his hand. I also have huge respect for Jason Atherton, not only is Pollen Street Social one of my favourite places, the food and atmosphere he creates there for me are truly excellent.

Favourite local restaurant and meal?

I love the Begging Bowl on Bellenden Road, Peckham.  It’s all good and very simply presented.

Best piece of advice that you’d give someone wanting to be a chef?

Keep at it! It takes years of graft but I can think of no other job that could give me the same level of satisfaction.

Favourite thing to cook?

I really enjoy working with all the different cuts of iberico pork, braising collar is currently my favourite. I really enjoy a good braise, slow cooked shoulder of lamb with cavelo Nero and truffle mash would make me a very happy bunny!

Favourite thing to eat if someone else cooks and who would you want to cook?

I really enjoy a good roast especially if its cooked by friends on a Sunday after work, nothing can beat that!

Where would you like to go locally to eat in the future but just haven’t had the time?

I haven’t been to the Delauney yet which is really local to work and I really should get myself down there!

Thanks Ben and GOOD LUCK!
Photo courtesy of Paul Wynch Furness

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Eat My Words – Tom Greening

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

This week in Eat My Words we speak to a Private Chef, Tom Greening who previously worked at Swan @ The Globe. We place a lot of Private Chefs so if you are interested in hiring one or are looking at moving into the private sector yourself, be sure to check  our latest vacancies

Which is the last restaurant you visited and what were your thoughts?

The last Michelin I ate in was Guatier Soho and I was hugely disappointed as the service was terrible and the food was very average

Which is your favourite local restaurant?

Favourite local place to eats a tough one because Iv only just moved to a new part of London so I’m yet to discover my new ‘local’ eatery. Although I worked the a few years ago The Swan West Malling has always been a great local brasserie that really supports the area .

What is the most difficult part of your job?

Hardest part of my job is time management, as a private chef I cook,clean and do all my own shopping which in London is a blessing as I can hand pick the very best seasonal produce, see my fish and meat before I buy it which is very satisfying.

What annoys you in the hospitality industry at the moment?

The most annoying thing about the industry for me is the velocity of which ‘trends’ seem to come and go and as a result you see these new openings see a boom and then there forgotten about.

What personal attributes do you think make a good chef?

I think a good attribute for a chef is to stay positive regardless as a kitchen feeds off emotions so if there’s a bad air it can affect the whole team which then leads to the food suffering.

If you had to give one piece of advice to an up and coming chef, what would it be?

Master the classics!!
I completely embrace modern cooking techniques but you should always learn and enjoy making the classics there the backbone to food worldwide!

What should a chef working for you, never do?

Don’t clock watch!!! If your worried about losing time don’t be a chef.

Which Chef (Chefs) do you most admire?

I admire most chefs but food wise, Tom Aikens, Tom Kerridge , Sat Bains and Wylie Dufruse at WD50 NYC best meal I have ever had !!!

People always ask chefs what their last meal on earth would be… Instead, if you had to cook one last meal (the last dish ever!) what would it be and why?

Last meal to cooks easy, A rib of beef for Sunday lunch because that’s the meal for friends and family!

Thanks Tom.

Posted By Mise En Place Private Chef Recruitment

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Eat My Words – Sam Harrison

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

Sam’s has been open for about 7 years now, I am sure that time has flown! What has been your greatest achievement in that time?

I was so proud of when we opened the doors initially and was able to welcome people in to my own place. It makes you very proud when you receive good reviews from the likes of AA Gill and Fay Maschler. We were very chuffed to win Time Out Best Local Restaurant and The Evening Standard Best Value in London. I think one of the greatest achievements for any small business has been to try and ride out the recession and just survive- makes me very proud that I am able to employ 65 staff across my two restaurants.

We think it’s great that you have such a dedicated ethic towards sustainability and are transparent about your suppliers. Is this something that you are continually working towards and if so how?

I think that this is very much an ongoing process. It is something I work on with both my Head Chefs every time we are looking at new dishes for the menus. I think it is very important to work very closely with suppliers and see what you can achieve together.

What was the last restaurant you ate at? And what did you think?

Last week I had dinner at Electric Diner in Notting Hill. I thought the design, buzz and atmosphere were spot on. It just felt like somewhere you wanted to hang out. I also had a great Bloody Mary and cheeseburger.

What is the best advice you have ever been given, and by whom?

I am very lucky to have three very supportive business partners. Rebecca Mascarenhas (Sonny’s Kitchen & KitchenW8) is the most involved and has been invaluable with advice. Rebecca has taught me to not get swayed by your vision- it is very important to listen to other peoples opinions and feedback, but sometimes you have to go with your gut and know what you are trying to achieve is right for you. Restaurants are as simple as warm food, cold beer, the right price and a great smile- all the rest is cosmetics

Rick Stein is involved in Sam’s and you worked for him for years. How has he helped shape your own career?

I love working for Rick and Jill Stein down in Padstow and they both taught me so much. They are both so passionate about their business and hospitality in general. They so focused on the customer experience and always looking for ways to enhance this. I think I probably was a workaholic anyway (hard not to be in this business) but Rick and Jill’s work ethic rubbed off on me!

What is your favourite local restaurant?

I love Franco Manca for a great pizza. The pizza is damn good, its very affordable and very quick. Boys Thai is my local Thai and do great food. I love the spice and heat and sometimes they really crank up the chills!

What is the favourite thing on your menu at the moment?

I am trying to eat as much fish as possible and so a big fan of Head Chef Mark’s- Chargrilled Whole Sea Bream, Curly Kale, Lemon Creme Fraiche. Also I think Mark has done a great stater of Lambs’ Belly Fritters, Pumpkin Puree and Salsa Verde.

Did you enjoy your time in Australia? There are some amazing restaurants in Sydney, did you have any favourites?

I loved Sydney- what a lifestyle. I lived ten mins walk from the beach and could go for a swim before heading in to work. At one of my jobs we would go surfing in the afternoon, between lunch and dinner service. So many great restaurants in Sydney- many had an influence on my own places- here are three of my favourites.

http://www.batherspavilion.com.au/

http://www.buzo.com.au/

http://longrain.com/sydney_intro.htm

What annoys you most in the hospitality industry at the moment?

I think a lot people have forgotten the importance of hard work and biding your time- careers don’t need to happen over night :) Because of the number of restaurants opening, a lot of people seem to get promoted too quickly and often don’t have the skills to match the level of employment they are seeking. Experience is so important and I am always pleased to see CVs where people have stuck at jobs and not moved around every six months.

Thanks so much,

Posted By Mise En Place Hospitality Recruitment

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Eat My Words – Carla Spuri

Monday, January 7th, 2013

Welcome back to another segment of Eat My Words.  This time we are speaking with Carla of the glorious CanBeBridedWithFood, packed full of wonderful recipes and cooking advice.  You can also follow her on twitter @bribedwithfood, and Facebook

What got you into food writing?

When I first moved to university I realised with a sense of impending doom that the only thing I knew how to cook were pancakes and Macaroni and Cheese out of a box so I applied myself to follow and learn some of the basic recipes my parents had sent me away with. Since then I have been the one amongst my friends always volunteering to host dinners and cook for everyone – I liked to show off my newly acquired kitchen skills but I also wanted to experiment and demonstrate how anyone could make lovely meals. As time went by friends started calling, texting and emailing asking for what they could cook at their own dinner parties and so to save everyone time and large phone bills I decided to start Can Be Bribed With Food.

How has writing about food changed the way you cook and eat?

When I first started out I was all about eating pasta, using pre-made sauces or getting take-aways having a blog, though, as lead me to shed most of my bad habits and I try to make as much as possible from scratch as well as experiment and treat myself to varied menus every week.

What has been your biggest success in the kitchen?

In general learning to recreate Panamenian and Italian dishes in a UK kitchen makes me feel a little bit proud; when my parents and I moved to Italy I was only 10 and I was homesick. Mum tried to make us rice and peas, chicken casseroles and anything that would feel the gap but at that time it wasn’t easy to come by the right ingredients so her attempts were seldom; it made me appreciate her efforts more and I now know how to feel closer to home via cooking which in itself is an achievement for someone who, like me, likes to travel and change location on a regular basis.

And your biggest disaster?

I was hosting a lunch for 40 people and one of the dishes on the menu was tamal de olla: a set cornmeal and chicken casserole typical of Panamá. It was the one dish I was 100% confident about as I’ve made it so many times but at the last minute I decided to use a different brand of cornmeal to my usual… The casserole came out as wet as porridge and not set at all. Needless to say that went straight into the bin.

Name 3 of your favourite food blogs

This is a difficult question to answer: I have about 50 food blogs I read regularly! However, if I had to choose only three to read for the rest of my life I’m pretty sure I would go for Jul’s Kitchen, Smitten Kitchen and Joy the Baker. They are beautifully written and photographed and always prove to be a source of inspiration for me in one way or the other.

What do you think about the Bristol food scene? Which up-and-coming restaurants should we look out for?

Bristol is exciting for locally source produce as well as independent businesses; I love how most menus reflect seasonality and simple dining experiences full of flavour rather than fashionable efforts. It makes homecooking all the more exciting for it too.

Wilks Restaurant is definitely the one to look out for here right now: simple yet exciting dishes infused of delicate local flavours. A must!

What was your all-time greatest restaurant experience to date?

I must say that Murano in London was the one meal that will go down in history for me as absolutely flawless. I took myself for my birthday a couple of years ago and I left hoping I was a millionaire and could eat Angela Hartnett’s food every day!

What was the last restaurant you ate at and what did you think?

My last meal out was at Fabrizio’s near Archway station in London. I had been before and decided to make the trip back as felt it’s one of the best and most typical Italian restaurants in the city. Have a pizza Reale if available: it’s slathered in stracchino cheese and dotted with spianata as well as fresh Italian sausage. Divine.

What is your favourite local restaurant?

I do love the food and atmosphere at The Kensington Arms: they make excellent chargrilled bavette with frites but if your appetite isn’t quite that big then you can only hope to get your hands on one of their freshly made scotch eggs at the bar!

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Eat My Words – Andrew Kojima

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

You might remember Andrew Kojima from this last season’s MasterChef, and thankfully he’s agreed to speak to us for this week’s segment of Eat My Words.  We were all engrossed in watching his exciting inventions all season and now we can’t wait to hear what’s next for him!  Follow Andrew on twitter @masterkoj and on his blog Koj Cooks where he’s got recipes and info on his demos and cooking classes.

What inspired you to sign up for Masterchef?

I’d always loved MasterChef when it was on in the 1990s with Loyd Grossman. In recent years, I watched with interest as the contestants did ever more challenging tasks, for ever more exacting chefs, in ever more exotic locations – that’s what made me want to apply.

What was your proudest moment on MasterChef?

I started to get quite emotional as I made it through the later rounds – my father was ill and I was very worried that he might never see what I had achieved on the show. I’m pleased he did get to see it and he was very proud of me.

Who was your favourite guest judge?

The chef I most wanted to meet was Michel Roux Junior. I have always held the Roux family in high esteem not only for what they have achieved for themselves and for cooking in Britain, but also because they are such gentlemen. It was a very special moment when he walked through the doors and I realised I’d made it far enough to meet him. To cap it all, he loved both dishes that I cooked that day.

How has the show affected your life the most? What is the best thing to have come out of it?

I’ve turned something that I love – food and cooking – into my career. The best thing about that? I no longer feel guilty for thinking about food during the day – I can now say it’s my job.

You’ve worked with some heavyweights since leaving the show, which work placement was the most challenging and why?

The Ledbury was disappointing for me. It’s an incredibly high energy and inspiring place to work full time, but it didn’t work as a work placement for me because I didn’t have enough experience to make the most of it. I think I’ll go back, first as a diner then perhaps for another turn in the kitchen.

What’s the big plan for you next?

I’m off to Holland to work at Sergio Herman’s Oud Sluis – the three Michelin star restaurant in a small town in south west Holland. After that, I plan to continue building experience at top restaurants, while also building a career as a private chef, cookery teacher and food writer.

What’s the last restaurant that you ate at, and what did you think?

It’s been a busy year in both professional and family life, so I haven’t been out for dinner much, but a few months ago my wife and I went to L’Enclume and had one of the best meals of our life. It was a great relief that it surpassed all expectation because we’d been trying to go for several years. Now we’ve been, we’re both agreed that we’d make a special trip in future. Apart from “special meals”, I quite often have lunch in Soho.

What’s your favourite local restaurant?

Medlar on Kings Road. The food is always interesting, well cooked, beautifully presented and delicious. The Head Chef Joe Mercer Nairne has been very supportive and great source of advice and inspiration. His business partner David O’Connor runs the front of house impeccably.

Which chefs do you admire most?

Anyone called Roux. Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay – I just wish I could have worked with them to witness their passion, drive and talent. David Everitt-Mathias, because he has never missed a service in twenty five years.

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