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Posts Tagged ‘London Food Bloggers’

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 – Andreas Edlund

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

Welcome again to the wonderful world of Eat My Words.  Today we have the extremely talented Andreas Edlund of Pontus in Sweden.  Aside from winning young chef of the year in 2011 in Sweden, he is also the Head Chef of Pontus.  You can follow him @andedlund on twitter, and review some of his work on Chefs Talk

What is your favourite part of being a chef?

The bottom line of this question for me is to make the guests happy, that’s what it’s all about in the end of the day.

You can’t get a better rating or award when you sometimes have the chance to meet your guests and they almost crying because the food they just ate was so good, it can’t get any better than that.

Involved in that you have to be creative, have good techniques, big discipline, be driven, management and people skills, obsessed and passionate about your craft and have a respect for food, life, produce and everything about what we are doing.

How did it feel to win Young Chef of the Year? Did you know you were in the running for the award?

It was very fun and a big honour to win the award, and you like get a receipt on that you are on the right track and it’s a little reward for all the hours you are pushing everyday in the kitchen and to know that I am the best young chef in Sweden that year.

Yes I knew, this award came out of a black box cooking competition where we was six young chefs in the finals cooking a three course meal, and I was on top of the podium in the end of the day, felt great to be the one.

What dish are you currently doing that best represents your take on traditional Swedish cuisine?

I am not directly trying to create dishes inspired on traditional Swedish cuisine, instead I am being inspired of the best quality produce that is available for the moment and creating my dishes from there, then I like to use some techniques and recipes from my childhood that my mother, grandmother, grandfather and father learned me.

Recently I made a dish with Swedish sea mussels that I smoked with juniper branches like the way my grandfather learned me in my childhood.

What’s the last restaurant you went to, and what did you think?

I went to Adam&Albin foodstudio in Stockholm last Friday with some chef friends and had a really good dinner; it was the best restaurant experience for me in Sweden so far this year.

The food was exactly of that kind you want to eat on a Friday night when you come directly out of work. Hearty and very tasty food with good touch and simple presentations in a very relaxed atmosphere. Mainly that place is a foodstudio doing cookery classes and private dinners but they open up as a restaurant two nights per month.

I am really happy about that visit!

What is your favourite local restaurant?

In my neighbourhood it isn’t so much food to find, only a supermarket and a small pizzeria, but in Stockholm it has to be a small Japanese ramen shop called Ramen Ki-mama, their ramens is amazing!

Where do you see Swedish cuisine going in the next few years?

I think it will keep on in the same track as it is on now, with all the new Nordic cuisine and the importance of the produce and even farmers is the key and it is going more and more back to the roots, like cooking over open fire and grow where you stand. That is only what I think where it’s going.

But I hope chefs is starting to do their own thing, and in that way starting new trends.

When did you decide you wanted to become and chef, and why?

I knew since I was like 10 years old that I would one day become a chef, I don’t exactly know why but I have always been surrounded with good food and produce in my childhood, with baking Swedish flatbreads with my mom and grandmother, I have been out in the fall with my father and grandfather hunting for moose and today I am hunting myself, every fall we pick our own cloudberries, wild raspberries, blueberries from the forests and we have always grew our own potatoes and vegetables, have being out with my grandfather and fishing and he learned me how he smoked fish, and that is the best smoke technique I have seen to this day even better than all ways I have seen in the professional kitchens.

And always I have been involved in taking care of the produce as well together with my family and to see how it is making and then we had all that great food to eat the whole winter, everything from butchering and grinding the meat, to making jams, preserving, juices, baking the flatbread, learned how to stock the vegetables and potatoes in the cellar over the cold winter we have up in the north Sweden where I grew up.

So I think when I always have helped out with these tasks and also enjoyed it and later when I realized that you also can have this as a job I wanted to work with this.

And I have never ever regretted my decision; I love everyday being a chef.

Who do you admire most?

This might to be a cliché but I have to say my grandmother and father and as well my mom and dad for have getting me involved and learned me all about the food we had in my childhood.

Also my current boss Pontus Frithiof who is a great restaurateur and chef, who has so much knowledge about food and this industry that I never have been in contact with before, and he is pushing me every day so I evolve my own skills and knowledge.

For last I have also to mention Alain Ducasse, I had the great opportunity to dine in his eponymous restaurant Le Lous XV a couple months ago and that is one of the moments when I was touched by food, the food and service I had there is the best I ever have had in a restaurant and I got the opportunity to see how it should be done, this will be a thru inspirational memory. I have always used his cookbooks and texts as inspiration and motivation an amazing chef, restaurateur and legend, the greatest in my eyes!

What attributes do you look for when you hire a chef?

In a perfect world I want a personality that is a chef and not just working as a chef, I don’t want people in my kitchen that just doing the job without passion. It don’t need to be the chefs with best skills or who doing the prep fastest, all that can you learn them pretty easily, but passion, drive and commitment is so much harder to implement in a person, and that is what I like to find in a chef who is looking for a job in my kitchen. I need people around me that is as passionate and driven as myself and all we talk and think about is what we are doing right there and then.

Posted By Mise En Place Hospitality Recruitment

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Eat My Words – Gin And Crumpets

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

Welcome back to another addition to EAT MY WORDS.  Today we are chatting with Jassy Davis, freelance food writer and stylist, co-author of the Contented Calf Cookbook, and currently writing the fantastic blog – Gin & Crumpets.  She is a chef at The Dish and The Spoon Cafe in Nunhead.  You can also catch her on twitter @ginandcrumpets.

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

It’s made me much more careful about measuring and timings and also a lot more confident about trusting my eye when I know that I’m not planning to publish the recipe!

Name your top 3 favourite food blogs.

My favourite blogs are: Food Stories: http://helengraves.co.uk; Northern Snippet:http://thepublandlady.blogspot.co.uk; and Cheese and Biscuits:http://cheesenbiscuits.blogspot.co.uk. (ed. You can find our interview with Helen here and Cheese and Biscuits Here)

What was your biggest success in the kitchen?

Whenever I’ve baked a wedding cake for a friend and it made it to the venue in one piece.

And what was your biggest disaster?

Ha, so many disasters to pic from! I am constantly making mistakes, but the worst was probably the sloe gin I made for a sloe gin competition with a mix of spices that I though would make it delicious. It was awful. Fortunately, everyone else’s was much worse but it was a slightly Pyrrhic victory.http://ginandcrumpets.com/the-sloe-gin-off-the-results/

What are your favourite cookbooks?

English Food by Jane Grigson is probably the cookbook I use most. It’s full of absolute classics. Anything by Elisabeth Luard is a treasure and the only cookbooks I ever really read from cover to cover, especially European Peasant Cookery.

What is your favourite local restaurant?

Silk Road in Camberwell. It’s a Chinese restaurant with dishes from the Xinjiang region that are spicily addictive, although you have to try not to get a seat near the kitchen as the clouds of chilli vapour that drift out of the door can be blinding.

What was the last restaurant you ate at? And what were your thoughts?

I had Sunday lunch with a friend at The Stag in Hampstead after a walk across the heath.Roast lamb with all the trimmings followed by quince, apple and blackberry crumble that they served with a jug of custard and scoop of ice cream because I love custard and my friend hates it! thestaghampstead.com

Which chefs do you most admire?

I’m not much a chef fangirl, but I do love Adam Byatt’s cooking at Trinity (ed. You can find our interview with Adam here) and I also admire Stevie Parle at The Dock Kitchen. He’s interested in everything and anything. I had my meal of the year at The Dock – an offal dinner hosted by Annisa Helou that took in all sorts of bits and pieces, from chicken hearts to sheep’s head. It was amazing, and utterly delicious.

Thanks so much!

Posted by Mise En Place International Hospitality Recruitment

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Eat My Words – Shelina Permalloo

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

Welcome back to EAT MY WORDS.  Today we’ve spoken with the wonderfully talented and incredibly humble Shelina Permalloo the recent winner of Season 12 Masterchef .  She is currently on tour, and you can follow her movements and experiences on her website shelinapermalloo.com. She has some amazing recipes on there too! You can also find her on Twitter @hungrymauritian

Masterchef is such a life changing experience, what made you first apply and where did you want it to take you?

I applied on a whim, with my best friend on the other side of the phone as we went through the application, I really didn’t think anything of it to be honest… then a few months later I got the call!

How has this experience differed from your expectations?

I had very little expectations as I genuinely didn’t think I would go very far in the competition, so in that sense, every step of the way was a brilliant and challenging experience!

What do you think was your best best dish on the show?

I was most proud of my Octopus dish, as in Mauritius, it’s a salad that you serve in a piece of bread, and I managed to use that sense of nostalgia and turn it into a refined restuarant dish – I really did love that dish!

What was the best skill you learned?

Be true to yourself – whatever your cooking style is and whatever it is you love – keep doing it and only ever cook with ingredients that you yourself, would want to eat!

How many times did you make Greg Wallace go “PHWOOAAAARRRR!!!”

Erm… *blush* I’m not sure .. ha ha!

Who did you see as the biggest threat to your crown?

I thought it could be either one of those boys, Andrew and Tom, that are absolutely excellent…

What’s your favourite local restaurant?

I’m lucky to live near some really lovely restaurants, at the moment I am loving Meza – a small restuarant – with 14 covers, in Tooting that serves Lebanese food, really lovely and quaint

What’s your biggest pet peeve about the hospitality industry?

I don’t think I have one to be honest…

What chefs do you admire?

The list is endless but I’ll give it a stab:

all the Roux’s, Monica Galetti, Tom Kitchin, Gert Van Heecke, Clare Smyth, Raymond Blanc, Angela Hartnett, Atul Kocchar, James Campbell … This could go on forever – I have great admiration for many chefs I’ve had the honour in working with…

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Eat My Words – Yugnich Eats

Friday, September 28th, 2012

We ran across Yugnich on twitter, badmouthing local chefs, restaurants and famous food writers. To be honest we didn’t know what to make of his strange grammar and weird ideas, after this interview we still don’t! We do know that Yugnich may or may not be best mates with Rachel Khoo, Jay Reiner and Giles Coren, he may or may not work in a pet shop, he loves to draw and really loves his muscles….

He does write about food though (sort of) http://yugnicheats.wordpress.com and you can find him tweeting in all your favourite foodies ears @YugnichGritkin

Thanks for the interview… we think… =]

What got you into food writing?
i was hangin with my frend Twiz an we were playin sum Skyrim an he asked me if i Had any food for him to eeat becos he was hungry an I sed ok Twiz. So i went an I mad him a sanwich of sum bred an a cucumber an three bits of a bit of cheese an sum lil bits of spagetti that i din eeat from the night befor and I sed “HERE WE GO TWIZ.” and he ate it and then he said “WOW YUGNICH THAT IS THE BEST SANDWICH I EVER EAT.” an I said thanks an stuff. Then he said yuo shuld start a blog becos thers so many people who don know alot abuot food but yuo do know alot abuot food so yuo shuld tell people abuot it. I wasn sure cos I spen alot of time doing cool things like thinkin of diffrent tattoo designs an wat Jasun Stathum’s favurit type of horse is and also practicing free runnin and brakedancin, but I did it anyway an then i got onto Twitster and a millionty peopl lik J.Rainer an evry1 said “WOW YUGNICH YUO ARE GUD AT THINGS LIKE FOOD NEVER STOP PLEASE.”

How do you choose a restaurant to review?
i look alot on Twitster an use my eyes an my EEARS an speeak to my frends an stuff. los of peopl always ask me to gone to placs cos they reeeeeeeeeeealy want to know wat think abuot them.

How many restaurants do you eat out in per month?
i gone to a lundun restrant prolly abuot 2 or 3 or 4 times a month but i go to placs lik ROYAL CHIKEN shop mor cos its clos to my huose an my frend Brox works ther an sumtimes he lets me eat a meal with a bit of bred an a lil bit of eggs an sum good tasty chiken an stuff.

Who is your current favourite chef?
My favurit chef is Rachel Coo cos we are semi-best-frends an she does thins with food that othr peopl like tha silly fella Renny from Norma doesn do lik make spageti with sum nice fish bits, or mayb sum lil bits of chickn bits in a egg of sumthin. She is also gud cos she likes gud things like blu rays an all the best songs by tha INSANe clown posse an lipstik made with sum pigs blood. I also lik the ribcage guy cos he make gud time tasty ribs an soon we are gonna get togethr an make a event wen he makes sum chiken ribs an sells them an they called “YUGNICHS BLOODY GOOD CHIKEN RIBS YUM.”

What is your current favourite restaurant concept?
One that i inveted is my favurit. evryone sits on cool bean bags an watchs the matrix for a lil whil then we mayb put on sum dubstep an send out all the food on skatebords an the food is a mix of evryones fav bits like crisps an big jucy meeat piles an i think evryone gets to drink sum sprite and stuff. then when the food is gud evryone gets to use the skatboards to do ther favurit tricks an stuff. the hole time i will prolly be in the corner doin thins like press ups and free runnin.

Most underated Local Restaurant? (and maybe most overated!)
ther is a very nic plac near to my home and it is “THE HARVESTER” an it not as good as MEEATLIQUOR or places lik Ribcage guys Ribs but yuo can get los of food an los of salad and thers sumtimes free running areas in the back so its good for me to go cos i can practic an eat heealth an lots of chics normally see me.

How has bloggin in general changed your outlook on food/restauarants?
I think it maks me a lot mor profesional cos now i am 1 bigtime food guy alot of peopl want me to tel them wat fud they shud eeat so i cant go to places an shuot at peopl for not likin hoobastank or mudvayne or stuf lik i used to. it also a lot bettr cos now los of peopl writ abuot wat they eat an stuf wich is very intresting cos sumtim i look at a fella in the street an think “i wuner wat that fella ate for his lunch an wethr he thuoght it was gud”. but then i normly watch him more an mayb he trips on a dog or a rat or summin an i think “that fella prolly just ate a bit of rice an mayb a glass of milk an then cried wen he was watchin sumin lame” an i don care anymor.

What’s the biggest mistake a restaurant can make in your opinion?
if yuo walk in to a restraunt an three fellas come up to yuo an punch yuo in yuor middle a hundred times then steeal all yuor money then hit yuor dog to deth then steeal yuor car an driv it into a bin then thas pretty horribl. it wuldn be too bad for me cos i wuld prolly just ruondhouse them fellas and say “ill have a burger thanks!” but it wuld be sucky for other peeopl an stuff.

and……

What has been your all-time favourite restaurant experience to date?
the time that the restrant DABOOZ calld me an sed “yugnich we want yuo to com to our restraunt we cus we had all the big time food guys ecept for one. yuo” so i said okay ill com an then Rachel Coo calld me an said “yugnich i wan to go to DABOOZ but i cant get a table an stuff can u help me” so I said okay an me an rachel coo wen to DABOOZ an ate the smoky cow pile an sum other bits an then everyon in the restrant said “gosh im bored” so i quickly went an did som freerunnin an then my two bes frends J.Rainer an Griles Conran cam in an sed “gud job yugnich”. it was quite good.

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David Boycott

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

This week we speak with David Boycott. David left Oxford University last year after having fallen in love with cooking during my time there. He is currently working at the Opera Tavern restaurant in London. Next month he will be running a pop-up at The Endurance on Berwick St in Soho as part of Free Company (@freecompanyfc) , a team of chefs he set up with two others earlier this year. He is also project managing a new initiative called ‘A Work In Progress‘ (@saltyardawip) which is a monthly platform for culinary boundary pushing and a platform for young chefs to showcase their talent. HE also runs his own blog www.birdfoodblogging.wordpress.com, you can find him on twitter @birdfoodblog.

Which is the last restaurant you visited and what were your thoughts?
The Kitchin up in Edinburgh whilst I was the the Fringe there. I was massively impressed, great technique and impeccable sourcing. It’s not often I struggle to pick what I want to eat but I spent a long time deciding up there.

What do you enjoy more, cooking or writing?
Cooking is my living, writing is more a derivative of that. It is nice when I can set aside time to write and organise the thoughts I have been having but it is the cooking that really keeps me going.
Which is your favourite local restaurant?

The Corner Room is just up the road from me and delivers incredible food for absurdly cheap prices. It is my go-to recommendation for anyone in London.

What is the most difficult part of your job?
A tricky one, I love what I do. For me it is probably the gap between where I am and where I want to be. I look at everything I do and almost immediately feel it should be about 100 times better. Sometimes I struggle to keep it in perspective, but I know this will only keep pushing me to get better and better.

What annoys you in the hospitality industry at the moment?
Places which think having a great atmosphere can make up for lazy food.

What personal attributes do you think make a good chef?
Dedication, attention to detail, a willingness to learn.

If you had to give one piece of advice to an up and coming chef, what would it be?
I’m not even close to being able to give anyone advice.

Has blogging changed your perception on food/restaurants in any way?
It provokes me to think in a bit more detail why I am doing something, what is the motivation, what am I trying to achieve. This is mirrored when I go somewhere else and write about it, what processes are they going through and why.

Which Chef (Chefs) do you most admire?
I’ve learnt a great deal from my executive chef Ben Tish and my head chef Jamie Thickett at Opera Tavern. They have given me a great start to my career and are always keen to push me harder. Guys like Ben Spalding and Nuno Mendes in London are a great inspiration. They never stop pushing and trying to pursue their vision, their dedication to their craft is amazing.

People always ask chefs what their last meal on earth would be… Instead, if you had to cook one last meal for your customers (the last dish ever!) what would it be and why? I’d bake them bread and serve it with something homely and comforting, a roast shoulder of lamb maybe.

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Chef Hermes – Eat My Words

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

Chef Hermes writes a blog from within the catering industry, after spending over 20 years cooking with the inspirational, the talented and the egomaniacs of the stoves. He now spends more time writing and sharing from the inside of the catering industry. You can find Chef Hermes at http://chefhermes.com/ on facebook here or on twitter @ChefHermes. We caught up this week for a quick chat about writing and eating! Enjoy.

You run the blog chefhermes.com. How has blogging/writing changed yo our view on the industry?

Writing the blog has broought me into contact with journalists & PR companies, which has been a bit of an eye opening experience. Some of the PRs I’ve met have grabbed the ‘new media’ with both hands & have been more than welcoming and helpful. Others not so, which is slightly disappointing & sometimes annoying. PRs are playing a larger part in promoting restaurants & chefs than ever before. Freebies & press junkets are contributing to the growing demand for popularity lists, reviews and general food related writing. Most of the higher rated Michelin chefs (with the possible exception of Andrew Fairlie) are or have engaged with the services of a PR company. I’d just like to point out that when I have a story which will possibly end up on the blog, I also make a point of trying to get in touch with the related PR or chef for their response & point of view.

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

Gidleigh Park, Chagford, Devon. I’ve been three times in the past 18 months and the food is cleaner, sharper & more focused. It’s probably closer to the elusive third star now than it’s ever been. It appeared on chefhermes.com

Which is your favourite local restaurant?

Living & working in South Devon I’m virtually inundated with lots of hiddden gems,  from my local pub to the recently Michelin starred Driftwood in Cornwall which holds great personal  memories.

What is the most difficult part of your job?

Trying to restrain myself. I’m on the social networks quite a lot and invariably there are people who’ll disagree with me, and that’s fine. But occasionally there are people who feel the need to provoke and causing a heated discussion. Fortunately having already had a scrape with the legal system concerning the blog, it tends to stop me going a touch too far.

What annoys you in the hospitality industry at the moment?

How badly staff are generally treated relative to other industries. For example, lieu days are common place and are the biggest fallacy that employees endure. Poor wages, hours & the lack of training (as there is generally a cost attached to it) are all levelled at catering, & rightly so. Not everybody is so short sighted and it’s certainly better than it was when I first started over twenty years ago.

Who is your favourite food writer?

There are two writers which I admire. The newly appointed Guardian restaurant critic Marina O’Loughlin & investigative food journalist Joanna Blythman. Both have a natural talent to draw you into their writing.

What’s harder, writing or cheffing?

Doing both at the same time is a double edged sword, it helps with inspiration & material, but restricts time spent actually writing & publishing. I’d say on the whole cheffing is harder, but both require some similar disciplines: focus; originality; research & technical ability. Although people say ‘build it & they will come’ which is all very well, but neither a blog or a restaurant will grow unless they meet & exceed their users/guests expectations and needs.

Thanks so much Chef

Posted by Mise En Place International Hospitality Recruitment

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Ben Spalding – Eat My Words

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

This week we catch up with a very talented and extremely hard working young chef, Ben Spalding (@Benspalding1). Ben has put in the hard yards at some of the best kitchens in the world, working under such household names as, Rhodes, Ramsay, Rogan, Keller to name a few! His accumulated experience is evident in the his unique food style and his recent stint as head chef of the London outpost of L’enclume (Roganic) proved. He has now taken a step in a different direction with Stripped Back @ The Broadway Market.. We are very excited to follow Ben’s career here at Mise and hope you enjoy the interview!

So firstly your latest venture is Stripped Back @ The Broadway Market, you are challenging the way people look at affordable street food. What made you decide to go in this direction?

It was discussed with my friend and someone who has been very supportive to my career Nuno Mendes. I need to make a special mention on what a great guy and visionary he is. I rate him very highly. We looked at doing something else together down Dalston way then we spoke about this. We both thought there was a huge potential for it. So I launched it. We are in our eighth week now and it has been a huge success growing every week. We are doing street feast in Dalston on Friday nights and Saturday’s at Broadway Market. I plan to carry it on for good even when John Salt opens. The concept is very strong.

Do you enjoy being right there in front of the customer and interacting with them as you plate up?

Yes very much. It is bloody hard work! All the washing up, cooking, serving, talking, relaying tables. Just 3 of us do that all for some 200-250 servings on a busy day. But very satisfying.

You have worked in amazing kitchens under some of the worlds great chefs (Gary Rhodes, Gordon Ramsay, Simon Rogan, Thomas Keller.. to name a few) does the pressure of the Michelin guide effect the the dynamic of the kitchen?

Maybe in some places. It wouldn’t for me.

It is a matter of life and death for me personally in my brain when sending food that has my name above it. I will not insult my training, my guests or the ingredients by sending food out that is not as good as it could be. I am not letting my life be ruled by a guidebook and the majority of the time an inspector who has a tenth of my knowledge & skill. But I would be a fool to say it doesn’t matter to worry about them because they are a massive thing to get recognised by and can do the business wonders.


The michelin guide doesn’t always get it right. But it is a benchmark. You walk into a 2 rosette kitchen and then a 2* kitchen the difference is huge. The passion, desire, commitment, skill, speed & work ethic is 10 times better.

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

The last restaurant I ate in was 28-50 marylebone. Where one of my beat mates Paul Walsh runs the kitchen. He is an unsung hero of the 28-50′s whose cooking is technically perfect. He was my sous chef at Royal Hospital Road and been a close friend. He gave me a very memorable meal recently with very humble food.

Which is your favourite local restaurant?
Haha I live in folkestone. Food isn’t a strong point of the community. Raj bari in Hythe does blinding curry’s.

What annoys you in the hospitality industry at the moment?

Two things;
1. Lazy young cooks & waiters- more so cooks who can namedrop until blue in the face & want the names on their cv’s from working at 1-3* restaurants but buckle under the pressures and last weeks sometimes just days. You will never get anywhere or most importantly the necessary discipline or training needed to cook properly unless you take some crap & work in these not always desirable environments.

2. This craze of opening hipster places that serve pretty mediocre food. What has happened to cooking your heart out? It appears to me it is more important to be somewhere cool rather than somewhere where the cooking is excellent and good value for money.

What personal attributes do you think make a good chef?

For a good chef  too many to list: respect, humilty, integrity, passion, obsession, honesty, discipline, creativity, business sense, people & management skills, competence, drive, grit, relentless determination.
For a great chef double the list.

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

I consider myself an up and coming chef, so let’s say an chef starting out-
Everything in my answers for the last two questions covers it i think

What should a chef working for you, never do?

Lie, and immediately dismissed.
Impossible to work with that kind of person.

Which Chef (Chefs) do you most admire?

So many. But two that stick out Brett Graham I admire immensely, having had the chance to work with him as his development chef for a temporary time recently. His respect, humilty & integrity to his restaurant & staff is astounding. Inspirational. And Grant Achatz for what he had to go through and what he has achieved shows superhuman character. Just incredible.

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 for your customers!) what would it be and why?

Angus beef ragu with ras el hanout, minted sour cream, blowtorched lettuce & wraps.

A dish I recently cooked at stripped back, my market stall. Fajitas are my favourite thing to eat. Filling, quick and delicious.

Thanks so much Ben.

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Eat My Words – Elsa Messi

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

Elsa writes the very cool blog Messi Palate, she however does not have a messy palate. She is a self confessed ‘ Food Whore’ and spends a great deal of her time eating and writing about food in London, which is both good for us and no doubt her! I wish I got to eat out as much as she seems to, I would however not manage to keep such an amazing figure! We caught up with her for a quick chat about what she loves to eat and what it’s like writing about food in London.

You can find Elsa on twitter @Messi_palate or at her site http://messi-palate.com

So what got you into food writing?

Since a very early age I’ve always had a love of food and restaurants, my parents are both food nuts so I grew up in a foodie (hate to use that word) environment. At the age of about 8, I already knew how I wanted my steaks (rare) and knew the names of Dim Sum. All I do is talk about restaurants and food related events and love to drag my friends with me, so rather than going on and on about it, thought I’d write about it. London is a huge place and I want to make people aware of all the fab places to eat, from Street to Michelins as it’s sometimes easy to stick to the ‘safe’ and cliché establishments or just where you’re used to, (which gets so boring).

How do you choose a restaurant to review?

Most of the time, it’s totally unplanned, unless it’s an invite from the restaurant or PR (which I try not to includein my blog all the time, when I do it’s always an honest review). I always have my camera ready and take mental notes wherever I go, even on my lunch breaks. I like to review wherever and whenever I dine (when appropriate), so you can imagine the backlog of reviews I have to write and how annoying my friends may find me when im snap, snap, snapping away.

Name 2 up and coming restaurants to look out for?

Duck & Waffle and Bubbledogs/The Kitchen Table Chef-  Charlie Stocker.

Who is your favourite chef?

Ben Tish from the Opera Tavern and Pascal Aussignac from Club Gascon

Most underrated local restaurant? (and maybe most overrated!)

Most underrated Bluebird Restaurant in Chelsea, Most overrated, so many but I’ll have to go with Hakkasan, ok and Novikov.

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

I concentrate on and am more aware of the ingredients.  I don’t over think it, but have a better sense of why certain ingredients were paired together.

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

Insulting customers, spitting in their food, hygiene problem. Probably bad service or waiters who don’t act as if the customer is always right.

What do you think the London food scene is missing?

Places with later closing times and places open all day as oppose to close at 3 and open again at 6, that does my head in.

Who’s your favourite food writer/critic?

Jay Rayner (ed. you can find Mise En Place’s interview with Jay here)

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

Roganic (Yes, I know it’s been said over a 1000 times before)

Posted by Mise En Place International Hospitality Recruitment

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Eat My Words – The Skinny Bib

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

This week we caught up with, The Skinny Bib. The Skinny Bib Food Blog was born in September 2010. It is a celebration of food and the different cultures that food affords us a sneak peek into. The Skinny Bib travels widely and you can find reviews from all around the world. One thing we have always loved on the blog is the quality of the photography, good food shots really make the reviews POP!  The Skinny Bib is not just out for the finer things in life (although they are important), they “share of truffle as much as a hot pot of dog’s penises.. as long as they taste good!”

On that note lets get into the interview, you can find The Skinny Bib on twitter @theskinnybib and on facebook here

What got you into food writing?

Food and writing have always been big parts of my life and the two coincide on The Skinny Bib. The blog started off as photo sharing with words on a personal online space. Then the words have taken over the photos. I am still trying to find the balance. In the mean time, I find food+writing a way of expressing (part of) myself and knowledge of food that I have so far accumulated.

How do you choose a restaurant to review?

My choosing is based on what’s interesting and new, bluntly speaking. I have been in London for a few good years and found this city constantly evolving – fun, fast paced and exciting. Nowhere else in Europe is comparable to London. The restaurant scene reflects this nature of London very well and I want my blog to capture this. Also, I try to reach out for ethnic cuisine offering. Not only that I am in search of authenticity, I am also interested in cultures from the margins and the ways eating informs me of those individual cultures. London is very multicultural and it’s incredible how food brings people of different ethnic backgrounds under the same roof or even to the same table!

Who is your current favourite chef?

This is a killer question. I have a long list of my favourite chefs and may have to rephrase the question to which chefs I’d like to chase for food. I love Ben Spalding (formerly of Roganic), James Lowe & Issac McHale of The Young Turks and James Knappett (Bubbledogs & formerly of many cool places). All are young, bright talents and have their wild sides. I have found their cooking extraordinary and can’t predict what they are cooking next. This excites me. I also find chef David Thompson inspirational.

Most underrated Local Restaurant?

I don’t think Londoners talk much about Beirut Express – a casual Lebanese eatery – but it’s always packed with Middle Eastern diners. I also love Sushi of Shiori and Ikeda very, very much.

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

I feel for restaurants more and appreciate the effort that has gone into running both the dining room and the kitchen.

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

Bad service. It kills the experience as much as when I am served poorly executed food.

What do you think the London food scene is missing?

London can give me (nearly) everything I want. What’s missing is that there are usually hardly any very good, reasonably priced restaurants near tourist’s attractions. I usually struggle when I have to take my visiting friends around for food and sightseeing.

Who’s your favourite food writer/critic?

I like Richard Vines of Bloomberg and find his writing easy to read, meticulously researched and insightful. I also like Gourmet Traveller blog. We seem to have similar preferences for food. A lot of food critics talk too much about themselves and not enough about food.

and……

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

I don’t have an all-time favourite restaurant experience in London but the experience that comes close to it is at Plusixfive Singaporean Supper Club. I am not from Singapore but I feel nostalgic every time I eat there. Goz’s cooking is not only delicious but full of life and soul.

Thanks so much,

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