Saturday 7 August 2010

Great news!

I am at the end of my 10 day stint at work and with my half chopped off finger (these things happen when you are tired), will today be visiting the beer festival in Earls Court, post to follow!
Anyway, to the good news, about 6 months ago I applied for the 2010 Craft Guild of Chefs National Chef of the year competition, it runs every 2 years and has some really high profile past winners, Gorden Ramsay and Marcus Wearing to name a few! But I didn't hear anything and this was 6 months ago , so I presumed that I didn't get through, until during the week the organiser called me and told me that I had made it past the first stage and was in the semi-final! Wahoooooo, there are 4 categories, I am in the Asian category, with 7 others and ''the big showdown'' is on the 13Th of September, where we cook our submitted menus and 2 from each of the 4 categories pass through into the final, which will be live at the Restaurant show in Earls Court in October!
The menu which we had to submit needed to include the following:

To serve 4 people,
3 canapes, 2 hot and 1 cold,
a Chicken dish,
a vegetable or salad,
a starch,
and a dessert which includes Lemons.

My brain was really tested over this one for a few reasons, firstly, as it is difficult to make an Asian Chicken dish look 'restaurantie', they eat loads of chicken in south eat Asia/Japan (which is where my cooking interests lean towards), but usually in a curry or stir fried or in a soup or with noodles, etc, etc, never really presented in a restaurant fashion, so this was my first problem, then secondly, Lemons, you will rarely find lemons in Asian cuisine as they are not native to Asia and Asian cuisine is steeped in tradition, limes all the time, but rarely lemons!

So after weeks of racking my brain, jumping out of bed at 2 in the morning to jot down an idea that has just crossed my mind, and just generally driving myself crazy trying to come up with a menu that I was happy with , here is what got me through, and what I have to cook on the 13th of September.


Turmeric fried Squid,

Crispy fried queen Scallops with iceberg lettuce and Chili mayonnaise,

Seared salmon with pickled Cucumber, Salmon eggs and Shiso.

Main Course

Selection of 'Black Leg Chicken' Skewers cooked on a Hibachi grill
(Chicken liver Yakitori,
Chicken thigh and spring onion Yakitori,
Chicken breasts rolled with Japanese plums and Shiso leaves)

Baby spinach Salad with toasted sesame seeds and sesame dressing,

Steamed rice with Japanese mushrooms, spring onions and Konbu Dashi.


Steamed Lemon Custard with green Tea Crumble.

The 2 hot canapes are deep fried, I know, but they deep fry everything over there, and the salmon is very lightly seared (Titaki) and really fresh, I will use farmed Salmon as it is Fattier than wild.
For the main course I will serve the Skewers on one large plate, the Rice on another and the Baby Spinach salad on another, with 4 side plates and the judges will serve themselves, this may prove controversial, but sharing a meal is much more sociable and traditional in Asia (and in Nobu, Nahm and Zuma!).
And the Lemon custard, well as I said earlier it is difficult to find a recipe with Lemons in it in either South East Asia or Japan, but custards are common and I added some green tea crumble for a bit of crunch and to turn it into a more restaurant friendly dessert as apposed to just a simple custard!
So wish me luck and I'll let you know how I get on, Oh and cheers Dobbie for 'volunteering' to be my commis chef)!


  1. I couldn't give a professional opinion but that sounds a completely gorgeous!!
    Congrats, that is very very exciting news ! Goodluck and please do post photos or updates or something, I'd love to see
    Lou x

  2. Congratulations.I am sure it will all be perfect.Unfortunetly I wouldn't be able to sample it,as there isn't a chip insight!!!
    Shame Asians don't iclude cupcakes in their repertoire,your Mum has a fab lemon cupcake recipe!

  3. good news chef chris. sounds a pretty sweet menu. tumeric squid the only nod in the thomo / thai direction then? get dobbie working on that custard (duck eggS?)

  4. Evening...Yer, imaging Thompson walks in the kitchen and Dobbie was 'playing around' with a new Lemon custard dish! He'd have steam coming out of his ears!