Yesterday I was at the restaurant show London and as usual I am devastated about the spirit of that event.
It seems it never advances. I travel the world to all the conferences and have to say the London one seems extremely dated and laking innovational spirit.
What could be a great opportunity to ignite the uk gastronomic horizons, has sadly left me completely deflated and feeling estranged .
On the upside however, on the main center stage, I meet Giorgio Locatelli for the first time and to my surprise I really found him to be a lovely person.
He was so passionate, you can see it in his eyes and every movement. At that moment my spirit became a little more upbeat.
For me it is important to see that devoted endless passion and love for cooking in someones hart and he is surely that person. He was taking time to speak to everyone without prejudice and indifferences.
I normally would not go to his restaurant as I am more a avant-garde underground person also I am a poor chef, however after meeting him I will definitely go.
He was showing us how to make Raviolo alla Bergese. This was his homage to the great italian chef Nino Berges.
He was explaining about eggs breathing in the fridge so you could infuse eggs by placing them by his amazing white truffels he brought in for this demonstration.
Giorgio Locatelli said: ‘The white truffle is so incredibly unique because it is extremely fragile and impossible for man to cultivate artificially. Our truffles come from the San Pietro a Pettine estate in Italy and grow in the ancient woods until they are perfectly ripe. I know our guests will simply love their delicate and decadent taste.’
He showed us how to make a good pasta from scratch and then presented the dish which was the Raviollo filled with a potato whereby in the center he then placed an egg yolk. After boiling the raviolo carefully he made a beurre noistette with a pinch of salt to then grate the magic white truffels on top.
I ran to the finished plate however I was mobbed by a crowed of people that just scoffed the whole thing down without admiring or smelling it first.
They could see people were trying to also take a picture but with no shame plundered the plate like a robbery.
While everyone was like a Piranha on his raviollo I took the opportunity to take a good look and smell of the white truffels.
The fragrance was devine and so elegant, it’s scent embedded itself deeply into the center of my memory. I will remember this particular fragrance forever.
Here are some picture:
Then Marco ….with his beloved found passion knorr….to be honest… I really like Marco but knorr is not my passion.. thats for sure.
When I was sitting there contemplating should I stay or should I go, I saw in the corner of my eye a guy building a tower of knorr and my hart deeply sank.
I understand Knorr treats Marco well and thats all that matters really, however I escaped to the side of the stage just incase the session gets to intolerable and revolving around knorr.
I used to work with one of the bread maker/ chefs that worked under Marco in the infamous 80″s. He told me he was having to make everything from scratch really labour intensieve stocks and prep. He told me at the end of the night they had to polish all the brass and then he lay his apron on the floor to sleep a few hours to then start the bread at 5 am.
Not to much different to my experiences of working in Kyoto or tokyo, except instead of bread we go to the market before the day begins. Astonishingly were I was working the chefs need no more then 4 hours sleep. I got used to it after a wile but in the long run I would probably look like the little people from the Dark Chrystal after the life force was sucked out of them by the nasty bird guy’s.
Marco was talking pretty much about the usual: how unhappy he was in the kitchen and chasing dreams, then he realised, he does not regret the kitchen time however he does not want to go back to that, about his love for driving and shooting and buying old railway station benches and other oddities.
Never the less he pulled the biggest crowd out of all the 3 other chefs, however it was more a “can you sign my book” and spectating poor old Marco.
He was swinging his knife a lot looking like he may any moment skinn someone alive, which was probably anticipated drama effects.
Here is the steak he later then cooked up that everyone gobbled up gladly. I had no chance of taking a picture of the cooked one sorry got mobbed by the Piranha crowd again.
Then came Magnus Nielson from the FAVIKEN
Nielsson is here in London for his book tour uk.
I first came across Magnus in Madrid on a convention Incredibly good presentation on meat and how he approaches ageing and methods at the faviken.
I can identify with his style very deeply, as it is so similar to kyoto/ Japan and the historic elements of Japan. Japan being so isolated in the past, required the people to find ways of preserving foods to sustain food sources during unfavourable seasons.Therefor a lot of pickling was necessary and has remained a popular type of food to this day.
I was a bit sad that there were not many people sitting in to Magnus Nielsson’s demonstration and showed that not many people are aware of him here in the uk sadly. Everywhere I have been so far at all the conferences particularly in spain that I travel to, welcomes Magnus with full auditoriums and much enthusiasm.
Magnus is a very important chef and represents the purity of nature cooking that is more deep then the usual seasonality other chefs refere to.
He lives the seasons truly and anyone visiting Jämtland enter this incredible natural rustic farm dimension fully at the Faviken.
I remember him talking about, that being close to nature is not necessarily living in a cave or forest but there is the farming nature. I presumed he is referring to the very natural farming cultures perhaps from the past were farming was closer still to the natural elements. He of course has also an element of wild and raw nature about his work which seems to be his unique style.
He does not dress his dishes they look wild and natural. Noma is natural but seem more styled Magnus is wilder and in my mind it has something hunterisch about it.
I personally would have not gone to the London Restaurant Show if he had not been there as I always find the London Restaurant Show depressing.
Being a japanese chef I cant identify easily with the british chefs easily.
I came a bit to early and gladly so otherwise I would not have seen Giorgio nor discovered how cool he really is.
Also the guy who was suposed to ask him questions was most of the time silent, which was a shame. Magnus in Madrid Fusion was excitable and telling incredible story’s throughout the demonstration.
He is a good presentator, not only because of his interesting work concepts. Magnus is a very open and kind chef ready to share his passions with the world.
He is young but he really knows what he wants and how to be consequent with his concept. He seems as if he has been doing this kind of cooking for 20 years. He is very knowledgeable, precise and in tune with his environment, reminding us all how wonderful nature is and tastes.
Despite a surprising low turnout Magnus presented one of the dishes that he likes to present at the Faviken when the season is right.
He brought with him a rare bird called “THRUSH” that was very popular in europe Spain in the past however due to the popularity of it, it became an endangered and rare specie.
In Magnus’s region, the bird is in abundance and therefore a rare place to be able to try such a rarity.
Magnus cooks with no fuss and is as natural as his surrounding nature.
He showed us how to clean the bird including the head.
The bird then needs to be pan fried, however it has to be cooked firstly attending to the areas that need longer time to heat through like the wing shoulder area and the upper leg parts.
He simply toward the end bastes the bird with a little home made butter. Importance is given to basting the inner cavity of the bird to ensure the blod is not left raw which would be unpleasant to eat.
He then presented the bird in a nest.
It was very hard to take pictures at this event as the lighting made everything look yellow so I made the pictures in black and white.
There was not much of the bird to go around so I unfortunately also did not get a taste of this dish either. Someone said it taste almost like pigeon but lighter.
We will definitely go out to visit the Faviken as soon as we can and enjoy what ever he is serving up, enjoying the entire experience in Jämtland.
I wrote an article a short while ago on my blog. You can find the link below.