What a delicious experience!! I had a fun opportunity to hang out in the kitchen all day to experience a client catering tasting ‘behind the scenes’ with Executive Chef Adam Neale and Sous-Chef Maria Corrêa Monteiro. Whilst the chefs were in action, I acted as a news reporter following each step of their diverse cooking techniques and (obviously) asking them a million questions.
As they were cooking, the chefs would (literally) throw food my way telling me to “try this” and “try that”!! Being such a foodie, I was starry eyed with all this gourmet food I was able to try. The tasting was presented for one of our valued clients. It consisted of four sample starters, four sample main courses and three sample desserts – hope they came hungry! They were beautifully plated and brought up to the guests one by one.
From the starters, I tried black pudding for my first time. At first, Chef Maria wouldn’t tell me what it was, which made me super nervous…
Anyways, back to my black pudding or BLOOD SAUSAGE trial. It was scrumptious, until she told me it was blood, I freaked out! But wait, the black pudding was only a unique part of the dish! Check out the picture to the right. THIS was probably my favourite starter: black treacle pork belly, black pudding, confit egg yolk, toasted mustard seeds, pork crackling crumb, sour apple puree and apple crisps.
BUT THIS vegetarian option though; my taste buds were begging for more. The burnt onion coated ricotta beignets, wild and pureed mushroom, kale leaves, black rocket and black puff beans were a delight! I would definitely become a vegetarian for this dish!
Below are pictures of the other two starters. Sadly, as I don’t like fish, I can’t comment on the taste, but Chef Maria let me help make the turbot look extra artsy before roasting it! I did try all the other ingredients that came with it. The Bloody Mary gel and confit duck leg croquet = five stars!
MAINS MAINS MAINS
On to the main courses… ya’ll, cooking is truly an art! The chef’s deep concentration deciding how to plate and decorate the food was mesmerising. Cooking is not just a profession, it’s a creative passion as well. I’ve been inspired to get creative with plating my meals at home, thanks guys!
Sample Main Courses:
(Left) Roast beef fillet, pan-roasted celeriac, artichoke crisp, sweet onion puree, charred gem, pickled radish… mmm mmmm yessss.
(Right) Grilled fillet of halibut, lime-butter-poached lobster tail, fennel puree, sautéed broad beans, dehydrated fennel and a Thai lobster bisque.
Chef Adam made me try the halibut, and I actually liked it!! I guess when fish is cooked this good, turns out I like it after all. Is this not the prettiest plated dish you’ve ever seen??
(Right) Smoked venison saddle, parmesan basket, wild mushroom, celeriac and truffle puree, pancetta crisp, fresh blackberry and sweet Rioja… I mean COME ON, this is food porn!
(Left) Shallow fried Arabic gnocchi with rose water, chili, sumac, yoghurt and tahini, crushed peanuts, deep friend aubergine skins, charred aubergine puree and courgette crisp, so much yes!!
I kid you not, I wanted to bathe in all of the purees!! Chef Maria is a Goddess when it comes to crafting them. The yoghurt and tahini freshly made by Chef Adam was ridiculous! I could actually taste every single ingredient. The gnocchi was to die for, as was the fillet and venison. It tasted so fresh as if it was caught that day.
FINALLY, the desserts. To be fair, I have all the savoury taste buds, but when it comes to Chef Adam’s sugary expertise, my goodness I couldn’t help but secretly stuff honeycomb and macaroons into my pockets, thanks Chef!
(Right) Dessert one was inspired by Chef Adam’s ‘Milky Way’ and his obsession with the universe. Milk ice cream, broken nougat, white chocolate truffle, toasted brioche crumb, candy floss and salted chocolate ganache… can I get a what whaaaat!! I think I just spotted a shooting star…
(Left) Dessert two involved chocolate delice (my favourite), crackle, soil and dome, baileys mousse, cherries, honey comb (second fave) and hot salted caramel sauce… are your sweet buds crying yet??
(Bottom) Dessert three was probably the coolest of them all: macaroons, strawberry doughnuts, brandy snap shards, fresh strawberries, caramelised pistachios, vanilla ice cream and popcorn. As if everyone already didn’t have an obsession with macaroons and doughnuts, but to pair them together is just genius!!
Clearly, I had an awesome time spending the day in the kitchen. Not only did I learn the beauty of cooking, but I was able to see how much fun they have and how both of the chefs truly enjoy their jobs. I’m emphasising this again, but just watching them plate the food…I don’t think I blinked once!!
In the end, the client loved their tasting so much, they confirmed us for their future events, WOOHOO!