1 - What more can i say..... Hawksmoor is the best steak house in London.
2 - located in the heart of borough market what better place get a fish meal....Applebees Fish from street view this is a fish mongers but is you slip past the counter you will find a perfect hide away from the busy market crowds.
3 - Tucked in the opposite direction to the city movements Magdalen Restaurant is a perfect place for a romantic meal that has been produced with skill.
4 - Following the city night life Fox and Anchor is one of the oldest pubs in London and serves true pub food for the real foodies.
We are all feeling the pinch in this market down turn however is this a blessing in disguise?
My chef works for a prestigious restaurant in the City of London where 75% of their customers are city suits working in the banking and finance arena. During the good times the finely tuned kitchen produced 180 covers in 90 minutes, enabling the bankers to finalise their deals within their hours lunch break.
But times have now changed, the company credit cards are now block and bankers are lunching out less. This has a knock on effect, cost reduction is require and hours are being reduced, which means my chef and his colleagues are getting a work life balance.
Every area of the business is effected and of course redundancy could be on the cards however, this could be the life change that is required.
The G-20 Summit is in London City and Jamie had a the leaders of the world on his guest list......what a lucky lad... well he needs a little bit of luck considering his new cook book is doing the rounds on email before its released!!
For all your food lovers out there this is what he put on the table....
The starter - fresh organic farmed salmon from Shetland served with samphire and sea kale and a selection of early vegetables from Sussex, wild garlic from Wales and home-made Irish soda bread freshly baked on the day using Gloucestershire organic flour.
For the main course - slow roasted shoulder of lamb from North Wales, the earliest delicious Jersey Royal potatoes, fresh asparagus from the Wye valley and foraged wild St. George mushrooms. Mint sauce and gravy will be freshly made on the day using British herbs and vegetables.
Vegetarian option - Goat's cheese starter followed by lovage and potato dumplings for the main course.
Dessert - Bakewell Tart made wiht home-made jams and Grasmere ginger shortbread. Fresh custard is being made with free-range eggs from the Cornwall farms.
There will also be a selection of fresh breads and butter freshly churned using organic cream from Somerset and smoked sea salt from Wales.
So the G20 Summit is in London City…. what beautiful day for a street party, hippies from all around congregate and protest peacefully…
But when the sun goes down and my chef finally leaves work the tranquil streets of the city has been turned in to a scene from 1981. Walking from the financial district riot police are in full gear, missiles are flying and fires are burning… and my innocent chef get charged by 50+ hooligans followed by peace keeping law!
my chef left at 6am this morning and I wont see him until midnight at the earliest! Anyone who knows somebody in the catering industry will know the vast hours our chefs work, there are few true chefs that see the light of day (especially in these winter months) and few chefs are lucky enough to get two days off in a row.
This industry is tough, the hours are long, the environment is hot and the pressure is enormous.... "if you cant stand the heat - get out of the kitchen"
Many people dining out don't think about the hours that have been put in to prepare and cook meal that is in front of them.... especially when they decide to order what is not on the menu! Do you think our chefs magicians?
Why be a Chef ?
My chef loves EVERYTHING about food.. yes as mad as it sounds my chef lives and breaths for his job..... he enjoys researching new ideas, he loves creating new and exciting dishes, he is passionate in preparing these meals and he gets great pleasure from supporting new chefs in developing the same passion that he has for his industry.
To work these hours, with the politics of this environment you have to be passionate not bitter.
Yet as Chef WAGs we are often without our Chef, endless days with them leaving early and coming home late and tired. You have to work hard to build and maintain a relationship with a chef as there are many times when your both living your lives apart.
To all Chef WAGs out there keep going.... you are not alone.
That time of year again, a build up to the bid day of lovers.. but who do we spend our day with?
Yes as the OH of a Chef I am once again alone.... A chef is required to work almost 365 days a year and of course that includes Valentines Day!
This is a day that lovers come together.... couples holding hands over a candle lit table for two. Yet my lover is a chef and the table is group of singlets.
Many know that valentines day has been born from a commercial hype but deep down its a romantic opportuntity..... I dont need the dozen rose, Im just looking foward to the simple hug when the chef gets home from work.
One of those little gems in Europe has to be San Sebastian..... it has everything on offer to both a Chef and the Other Half.
San Sebastian holds more Michelin star restaurants one town than I have been to in the world, but you dont have to spend a fortune to experience this. The Old Town has dozens of little Pintxo (tapas) bars boasting the expertise of chefs that have learnt the skills and techniques to produces dishes as simple but as tasty as FoieGras and Seared ribeye and slow cooked iberico pork with foamed onion and potatorosti.....to more complex and hard to explain dishes like DIY Smoked Halibut with Pea Lemonade and purple balls which encase a warm velvet chocolate......All of these have to be seen to be believed.
But as the OH I do not think food should take over the whole experience of a city break.... my chef would disagree and spend all day planning on where to eat and then going out to eat! However, Situated in the north of Spain San Sebastian has three amazing bays where you can have that sun, sea and surf holiday, it also offers amazing walks and views from Monte Urguli, and most important of all plenty of shops for all those shopaholics out there (both men and women).
Yes San Sebastian should definitely be on the "Take a Break" hit list... and if the Chef can get away for longer than a few days there is plenty in this town to keep you both entertained for longer.
Is there a work life balance in a chefs life... are you better off working for somebody else or owning your own place? what are the benefits of being employed or being the employer?
There are thousands of jobs out there for chefs.... Head Chef, Sous Chef, Commis but the reason for this is that in most kitchens if you cannot take the pace, pressure and heat your out. Its a tough environment to work in and yet a true Chef wouldn't change it for the world.... they are passionate about their vocation and live and breath everything that is to do with food.
My OH has been in the industry since he was 16 and is truly devoted to his vocation. The passion that he exudes for food and cooking is life consuming..... if his not at work preparing, cooking and presenting food, his at home seeking inspiration for new menus and dishes, reading books, watching food programs, dining out and Practicing his new creations in our kitchen at home.
Im sure that I not the only person out there that feels that that having a hobby is healthy... would you call this an obsession though?