The beginning of the end (part 2)
While the finals of the Master Chef was going on, I was traveling to London. It was the first time I had been there and I couldn’t wait. London is considered to be the crossroads of culture and taste, the metropolitan of food and the complexity of taste.
Interacting with taste
We hopped on a classic red bus and took a tour around the city. Later, we visited the gastropub, The Roebuck (gastropub is similar to tapas in Barcelona). I had never been to one before, so it was a new experience. In such places they only use local and seasonal raw materials, so as not to spoil the environment and set an example to all of us. I am strongly in favor of the belief of the chef, that we should deal with our local products. We tasted spinach risotto and poached eggs. Then we visited Mercato Metropolitano, a place with various shops. It’s an innovative sustainable local market where you can find 41 different food shops. The motto of the market is “eat, buy, learn, share”. There are gyms, different types of cultivation and cinemas. Generally, there is a multicultural aspect of food, there are butcher shops and gluten-free products which are of great demand. We tasted tapas and traditional pizza from Napoli. Then we tried Argentine cuisine in the South American section of the market. Argentine are famous for meat and its cooking and for empanadas. We also tried beef and chicken patty empanadas. There were arepas from Venezuela, Mexican, Japanese, Lebanese and Vietnamese food corners. We tried sushi too. The most important is that they don’t care about well known brands. Then we visited the Farmbus, which provides the local shops with various products. There plants are grown, such as strawberries, vegetables and herbs, with many different methods. Also, educational courses are held for those who want to learn how to cultivate “food” by themselves. Then, we went to a brewery and we watched the beer production through a screen. It was amazing!
Testing and cooking
I was in Borough market, which is one of the oldest markets. It is said to have been since 12th century. It has been located in an area of 18,000 acres since 1756.
In our first testing we had to prepare beer side dishes. We were given £200 to buy whatever we needed and 60 minutes to cook. I was thinking of doing 5 dishes: a cooked one, scotch eggs, fish n’ chips, salad and scallops. At cookhouse, there was the necessary equipment that we used to prepare our dishes. When the testing was over, I was pleased with my attempt. The most important thing for a chef is the smile of the customers. There was a pleasant atmosphere. I believe that the Greek chefs might not know such special techniques, but we can deal with the taste well enough .
The second testing was held in Petrus, which is the most iconic restaurant in London. James Petrie, known as Jocky, the executive chef of Gordon Ramsey’s restaurants, which are awarded with Michelin stars, was next to us. We were given a notebook of Petrus as a gift and we had a Master class about Wellington beef (the most traditional in Gordon Ramsey’s restaurants). It’s a dish that was firstly made to celebrate the victory against Napoleon. It is a beef fillet in puff pastry with mushrooms and a mushroom sauce around the fillet. It is the masterpiece of Gordon Ramsey. They have been cooking this recipe for 12 years and they serve it to all restaurants around the world. In that restaurant, it is served with guinea fowl. During cooking time, the chef explained that the taste is the reason of each ingredient and each method use. He pointed out that what they look for in such restaurants, are to be obedient and have lasting efficiency. When I tasted the dish, I realized the reason why the most of the customers ordered it. It’s time for testing. We had to prepare the copies of two difficult dishes: the first one, roasted pigeon with sauce madeira, peanuts, avocado, shallots and baby turnip. And the second one, berries and lime soufflé with blackberries and rosemary ice cream. We had one hour and 45 minutes to prepare them.
Annoyance and experience
This testing was over after a lot of anxiety. There was a lot of negative atmosphere and irritation since the first moment, so I didn’t enjoy it and I wasn’t as effective as I could. On the other hand, I gained significant knowledge which helped me improve.