The Cycle of Love – Ben Shewry – Attica Restaurant

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Ben Shewry as born and raised in humble and rural North Taranaki, New Zealand. He determined at age five that he would be a chef and worked in his first kitchen at age ten. He apprenticed at Wellington’s Roxborough Bistro under Mark Limacher then Michael Lambie and Andrew McConnell in Melbourne and David Thompson at Nahm in London. This last experience also prompted a visit to Thailand, where he fell in love with the local cuisine, spending the next six years of his spare time developing his Thai cooking skills.

Returning to Melbourne, he opened Attica in Ripponlea. The restaurant has achieved terrific success. Ben was named ‘Best New Talent’ by Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine in 2008 and voted ‘Chef of the Year’ for the Age’s Good Food Guide 2010.

Today, Ben lives on the Bellarine Peninsula, by the sea, where he can forage himself ingredients every morning for that day’s menu.

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ETXEBARRI the art of fire

This is one of my favourite places in the world. A dream, you are in the midst of nature everything is local and natural. I feel such an affinity here as it is just like japan completely seasonal and regional cooked with the utmost mastery and love.

Etxebarri is a tavern/restaurant in Axpe, Spain, halfway between San Sebastian and Bibao.

In japan the art of fire is one we hold so dear and to find someone that with all his hart cultivated his art to such distinction and sophistication from fire is a kind of a miracle experience for me.

The world has cooked with fire since the stone ages but no one has such subtle fine-tuning as Victor Arguinzoniz the Chef and owner. To create a menu from beginning to end all with the element of fire is mind-blowing.

His philosophy and work is one of the most established full rounded concepts and would consider him world ranking master of his art.

Dont be fooled to think this is just good grilling or anything that you normally find this is subtleties and refinement of preciseness cultivated from family tradition and years of close affinity to this particular developed technique. It is very personal to Victor, the land and his life experience.

Victor Arguinzoniz is also an incredible human being. I would like to mention he is one of the kindest and loving chefs. He was so generous to us sharing everything. I find myself only looking up to Victor with highest regards and he taught me to revive my on culinary culture through his refinement of fire. I am blessed to have been to Etxebarri and met Victor and really hope to return.

Here is a little about the restaurant:

Care and instinct under the discipline of fire and primitive cooking techniques, where simplicity and warmth of the grill inspire a natural landscape.

Wistfulness, with an adventure spirit for knowledge; tasting flavours, and rediscovering that space and time are imperceptible.

Knowledge is a collective good, a fountain of youth from which everyone can drink. Restoring local productions, seasonal and traditional, helps us collectively participate in the dance to which we are invited. Considering the daily work and identity, a certain world view away from the rigid dogmas of the common imagination, cultural colonialism, an authentic experience, deep.

The produce is paramount to Etxebarri and reflects the changing seasons throughout the year. Everything is carefully chosen in respect to the type of product and its method of its cultivation. Located in the verdant valley of Atxondo, the landscape surrounding the restaurant is dominated by Mount Anboto, the 1300 metre limestone peak that provides the restaurant with an abundance of local produce. From the holm oak trees we use to make our own charcoal, through to woodland mushrooms, wild berries and seasonal game.

Even the water we use comes from the natural spring that filters down the valley. On the lower slopes, our free-roaming chickens provide us with the freshest free range eggs, whilst we select a variety of organic vegetables from the garden on a daily basis. Other products made in-house include the cured chorizo, freshly churned butter, hand pressed chesses, black pudding, ice-creams and even smoked wild salmon.


CONGRATULATIONS to WABI Soft opening LONDON 2012 – This is only the beginning!

Sergio del Castillo Mora-Pastry Head Chef, Taiji Maruyama
Head Sushi Chef, Paul Kanja
Senior Sous Chef, Mark Morrans
Sous Chef, Scott Hallsworth
Head chef

This is only the beginning and what a beginning it was.

Yesterday the 21st on November 2012 Wabi opened the doors for there first night of there soft opening.

I had the honour and privilege to be one of there first guests and now reporting back about the tremendous success of the premiering opening night.

I have a long history with Nobu and have nothing but Love for many of the chefs that have spent time at this amazing restaurant. For us all, it is an important part in our lives and truly propelled all our careers in one way or another.

Scott Hallworth is a chef that had a big reputation in Nobu and clearly was one of the most talented Nobu Head Chefs in the UK. He was in command of a big brigade achieving the highest levels for Nobu during his leadership.

This is due to his utmost dedication to quality products and a natural flair for excellent cooking techniques and passion.

Yesterday he proved yet again his ability of balancing flavour combination creating every dish very much in tune through skilful balancing and combing of the right ingredients and perfect cooking times.

Scotts has created his unique japanese inspired style and flavours which really came through very clearly yesterday.

Now Scott having gained even more experience since Nobu has much matured which is now the best asset for Wabi and all there future ventures.

Scott has surrounded himself with some of the best people to create a fantastic dynamic from reception, to kitchen and bar, throughout the entire team of Wabi it is very clearly a solid and exiting team.

I am one of the most critical persons when ever I visit any restaurant. Nothing goes unnoticed  and easily offended by lack of attention to details however to my surprise I really found no faults. Besides on a soft opening one should not do so and really see the bigger picture of what is about to come from this talented group of chefs and front of house team. For me the key elements of Wabi london is the team and the food and the experience of the evening is  what I would describe as one of the best openings I have seen.

One would expect delays, confusion and mistakes but there was non whatsoever.

On my arrival I could not have expected a more elegant reception then from  head reception Oliver and and Maria reception manager. Both I meet in Nobu Berkely before and since have evolved into the best reception team that anyone could dream of. For me reception is so important and so often even in 3 michelin restaurants have been so disappointing missing the crucial elements.  Elegance, refinement respect and charm with perfect timing is the recopy for success.  I will give 10 out of 10 for Wabi reception team. (I am not really doing this evaluation as it is a soft opening, but occasionally I mention this in a few places.)

I was then seated in the bar for my guest to still arrive in the midst of and upbeat buzzing, exiting  and anticipative atmosphere amongst the guests across the room.

Rocco Catalano is bar manager for Wabi. He created a really beautiful cocktail list , I had a new fresh and elegant take on a classic Cosmopolitan which key elements were fresh pomegranate juice freshly squeezed to order, a dash of yuzu and raspberry caviar.

Throughout my evening one catches glimpses of stylish cocktails on the neighbouring tables enjoying the many different presentations, all beautiful in there own right. I am not normally a cocktail lover but this is a must for me now when ever I go to Wabi. I want to try them all.

The glassware Rocco chose is elegant and makes the entire experience of the wine or cocktail enjoyment much more sublime.

Overall the entire beverage side of Wabi is composed to its finest and most refined. I would give a deserving 10 out of 10 for the bar offer that Rocco created for Wabi.

The menu Scott designed is brilliant because instead of giving you a big bible of dishes to ponder through, he very rightly kept the struckture simple and user friendly.

The dish selections and structure is just perfect. All the descriptions are easy to follow. Well deserved 10 out of 10.

I ordered several items and did not mind about sequence order, I wanted to be easy as it was the very first opening night.

I am convinced I had the best waiter  of that night called Junior, who was dedicated to our every need. I am very sensitive and critical to the craft of service and have to say that is is rare to find waiters that know what you need without asking for it.

My glass was just empty he was already there to fill. The entire evening it seemed he was only looking after us.

This deserves a  dignified and refined 10 out of 10.

I normally I dont like Pinot Grigio that much however this was perfect for our beginning of the meal. The wine was light and had a very elegant and delicate character but yet refreshing and young  with very unique taste to it with it which left us debating to what it actually is. I really like when a wine does this as this means it is interacting with my imaginations.

Our first dish was Pork Scratchings with a pickled wasabi dip.

Now normally any pork scratching would send me running however this pork scratching is the best you will ever have! It came with a magic little towel to wipe your hands after but trust me you will not need it as these scratchings are completely not greasy at all. In fact they are so light if you attached a ripon to them you could float them just like a balloon, so airy and light forget rivita.

Another thing I really appreciated was the idea of a pickled wasabi dip which was absolutely a match made to perfection 10 out of 10.

Following dish was Lamb Chops tea smoked with smoky Nasu (aubergine) and a korean spicy sauce.

Very delicious and tasty, the aubergine was sweet and tangy with a smokey hint, the dip was not spicy at al, just right for pure enjoyment. I believe this will be a successful and very popular dish.

I have to apologise for the next picture because at this stage it was hard to take a picture before eating. As soon as the next dish arrived I just went for it.   It was Shetland Squid with scorched cauliflower and yellow chilli dressing.

I love squid and this is the kind of dish I need to eat at least once a week.  The texture of the squid was so soft and all the flavours and mushrooms together on your palet are just scrumptiously moreisch as well.

Beef fillet tataki with onion ponzu and garlic chips. This was my least favourite dish of the evening because even though the pleasure of texture is there you completely loose the beef. It is overpowered by the perfectly crispy garlic chips and the onion relish , the spring onion and the onion ponzu sauce. However it looked beautiful and I am sure this is going to be a favourite to have at Wabi. It is purely because every chef creates differently looking for specific things and this does not mean something is bad at all it is just my feeling. Also if I give everything a 10 out of 10 then you probably will not believe me how great this restaurant really is.

The next dish was squid with yellow chilli dip, Very crispy, tasty and no oil in sight. Perfect with my wine. 

At this point we could not resist to see what else Rocco had selected for the Wabi’s wine list.

We were recommended by Junior to try the Sauvignon Blanc which was beautifully elegant again with delicate perfumes of beach blossom and more complex in aromas then the Pinot Grigio from before.

Konbu roasted Chillian sea-bas buttery soft with a chilly ponzu and some pickled Daikon. We also had the sea-bas with truffle yuzu butter however we lost ourselves again and forgot to take a picture. That dish was lovely as the truffel was only a hint the butter so light and perfectly balanced with all the other elements in the dish.

Diver scallops with yuzu truffel egg sauce. The scallops perfectly sweet and the combination of all the ingredients on the palet is X rated..pure sensuality and perfect for all the gluttonist within you.

Foie Grass with sweet and sour soy, nashi pear, Rice and sesame sembe (cracker) and ume shu plum wine yelly with a dash of ginger.

The nashi pear were cut in perfect squares soaking up all the flavours of the foie and the sauces like a sponge and when biting into it, it released all these flavours into your mouth bursting, this together with he delicate foie gras was pure pleasure.

I should have said: “make mine a double” this is really devine, make sure you order one each do not share this.

Sushi with Maru-san:

This night I really could not eat all the dishes that I need to still try and I must go back to taste them all when I am not so exited.

Maru-san is a talented young chef with ability to stretch any traditional japanese training into imaginative new concepts. I normally just like to go and visit the sushi counter and enjoy an omakase by Maru-san. I highly recommend you do that on your visit to Wabi.

I will write a separate article in more detail about Maru-sans omakase very soon inorder to show more about his work in more detail.

On this occasion I wanted to try some of Maru-san’s creative nigiri’s.

We had Razor clam placed in the apple chips, yellowtail, wagyu beef, King crab, Abalone and yorkshire beef filet

After the wonderful sushi we had a very unique plum wine and unfortunately I dont know the name. I will find out. Wabi only have one plum wine so you can not miss it. It is very refined not sweet wonderfully fruity and so enjoyable. I appreciate the quality and the flavour of things, it really matters how people produce things to and you really taste pure goodness with this plume wine – the perfect pleasure drink.

We then moved to the dessert bar. I love dessert bars in japan there are a few. If chefs posses skills it is a crime to keep them in a separate kitchen!

Sergio has been working tirelessly on creating this pastry section for Wabi since September.

When a restaurant opens chefs will work split shifts sleeping only up to 4-6 hours a night and all day relentlessly perfect there craft without having any day off for up to 21 days plus. This is a profession that commands such discipline and focus as well as tremendous strength. I always am aware of the tremendous effort that is made by chefs on a daily basis to bring pleasures like this to our tables.

We were whole heartedly welcomed by Sergio and his lovely and dedicated team. Our first dish was a pallet refresher:

Coconut and Lemongrass sorbet with poached lemongrass stem.

I recommend you dont use a spoon, but instead use the poached lemongrass stem for extra flavour sensations released by the stem in combination of the sorbet.


Chestnut Dorayaki with vanilla and salted caramel icecream

This was delicious to and very japanese. Sergio made his interpretation of the classic and much loved dessert with chestnut instead of red bean. Sergio even got a stamp from japan to brand the Dorayaki’s

Zen Garden:

Matcha and avocado oil sponge, raspberry and beetroot spherification Yuzu cream, pine nut crunch and sesame sugar

This is so beautiful and all the flavours and textures were pure delight, for me the beetroot is what really transcends this dish, very cleverly grounding all the elements giving you sensations of sweet and fruity earthiness.

Pine nut crunch was already devoured before I could get to it but was assured it was crunchy and delicious.

The moistness of the matcha and avocado oil sponge was perfection.

This is a work of art and more so texture and flavour are at the foreground of this dish.

Chocol-8 which is eight different textures of chocolate

A perfect piece of art, I dont want to describe everything to much as you need to experience this for yourself!

A beautiful selection of perfect small flavour delights that are heavenly.

We want to thank the entire Wabi team for our delightful and special experience.  We feel extremely honoured to be the very first of customers, which is an experience that was infectious and filled us with happiness and special memories.

I really want to point out that this is the very first time Wabi opened there doors and my photography can not really do the dishes justice.  I normally never review any restaurant and I am not a writer, I am a chef myself however when people work this hard to make your evening so incredible serving you nothing but the best with the very best of intentions from the hart, it was the least I could do to try my best to applaud the success of this venture through my little article on my humble blog. It is one of the best and smoothest openings I have encountered and everyone at Wabi team needs to be congratulated for this. This is only the beginning!

A special thank you to  John and Delroy my dearest  and truest friends in life for always being the best company possible. They were so brilliant helping me to define and enjoy every single detail, taking fabulous pictures of the entire evening and never growing weary of my chefy analytical mind.

We wish Wabi all the best for the future and want to say congratulations and thank you for your hard work.


cook it raw…Japan

“Cook it Raw sees avant-garde chefs and traditional food producers come together to create a unique dining experience that explores social, cultural and environmental issues.

In the shadows of the great Mount Haku-san, an expedition takes place to discover the sustainable fabric behind Japanese gastronomy. Cook It Raw for it’s fourth instalment discovers the prefecture of Ishikawa, and immerses itself in ancient rituals and methods have been passed down from generation to generation, enriching the local cultural soil for centuries.A culinary experiment where the chefs create a dish using only the products found in region of Japan, famed for its dedication to harnessing intricate flavour while respecting natures boundaries.Ishikawa Prefecture is also an established artisanal hub in Japan, and each chef was teamed up with a local artist to collaborate on the creation of a dish.Each dish was presented on a plate made by a local artisans from the famed Utatsuyama Craft Workshop, in Kanazawa City. Fifteen artisans from Utatsuyama Craft Workshop, in Kanazawa City where selected, and each one created a dish using traditional Japanese techniques infused by the contemporary vision of the chefs.

The 4 day adventure saw the group immerse themselves completely in local traditions.

Exploring the fish auctions of Nanao City in the Northerly Noto Peninsula. Foraging in the Satoyama forest of the Kaga Hills.

Attempting to hunt duck’s with the ancient technique of Sakaami Ryo.

Tasting and matching the most emblematic sake’s to their dishes.

sleeping and dining in the traditional Ryokans of Yamashiro and Yamanaka Onsen.

the chefs then meditated their experiences and presented their discoveries on a dish at a gala dinner on the final night. The final dinner was titled “Shoku-do”, which translates as “The way of food”.

the dishes where infused by their discovery of Japan, and anecdotal moments of their expedition were present in the naming of each chef’s creation.”

In 2012 they went to Poland check the link below:


Chocolate is much more than just “Chocolate”

The ancient Mayan and Aztec people of Central America enjoyed a drink called ‘chocolatl’. It was made from roasted and ground up cocoa beans mixed with water and spices. Cocoa beans were so valuable that they were sometimes used as currency. In Central America, 10 beans could buy you a rabbit, while100 beans could buy you a slave.

Spanish explorers were the first to bring ‘chocolatl’ back from Central America to Europe in the early 1500s. Over the next 150 years, ‘chocolate’ became one of the most fashionable and expensive drinks, reaching England in the 1650s. By then it was discovered that adding sugar instead of the hotter spices and serving it hot made chocolate taste even better. Later, milk was added to improve it further. Chocolate houses were opened to serve the drink, still only affordable for the wealthy.

( 1502 – Christopher Columbus (1451-1506), the first European to taste cocoa in Nicaragua, on his fourth voyage to the New World, returned to Europe with the first cocoa beans. No one knew what to do with them and they were dismissed in favor of other trade goods.)

1519 – The voyage which led Hernan Cortes (1485-1547), Spanish conquistadores, to discover Mexico and the Aztec civilization began in 1517 when he set sail from Cuba with 11 ships and 600 men, all seeking fame and fortune in the ‘New World’. Landing on the Mexican coast near Veracruz, he decided to make his way to Tenochtitlan to see for himself the famed riches of Emperor Montezuma and the Aztec empire.

It was Montezuma (1466-1520), Emperor of Mexico, who introduced Hernam Cortes to his favourite drink ‘chocolatl’ served in a golden goblet. American historian William Hickling’sHistory of the Conquest of Mexico (1838) reports that Montezuma: “took no other beverage than the chocolatl, a potation of chocolate, flavored with vanilla and spices, and so prepared as to be reduced to a froth of the consistency of honey, which gradually dissolved in the mouth and was taken cold.”

The fact that Montezuma consumed his “chocolatl” in goblets before entering his harem led to the belief that it was an aphrodisiac. Cortes wrote a letter to Charles V of Spain calling chocolate “The divine drink which builds up resistance & fights fatigue. A cup of this precious drink permits man to walk for a whole day without food.” When Cortes returned to Spain in 1528 he loaded his galleons with cocoa beans and chocolate drink making equipment.

Spanish explorer Cortéz and his army met the Aztec Emperor Montezuma in 1519

Chocolate grows on trees, appearing in its raw state as melon-like pods  on the 40- to 60-foot tall trees known botanically as “Theobroma cacao,” which means “food of the gods.” This tropical tree has grown wild in Central America since prehistoric times. It also grows in South America, Africa, and parts of Indonesia. The cacao tree produces a fruit about the size of a small pineapple. Inside the fruit are the tree’s seeds, also known as cocoa beans.

1631 – In 1631, the first recipe for a chocolate drink was published in Spain by Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma, an Andalusian physician, in his book, Curioso tratado de la naturaleza y calidad del chocolate (A Curious Treatise of the Nature and Quality of Chocolate). This was the first work to deal exclusively with chocolate and cacao. Don Antonio is said to have lived for some time in the West Indies. Since he was a doctor, he pays a great deal of attention to the dietary aspects of chocolate and was concerned with the psychological as well as the physical effects of the drink. He says, “Chocolate is healthy. It makes the drinker ‘Fat, and Corpulent, faire and Aimiable’. It was an aphrodisiac. In women it caused fertility but eased delivery, etc., etc.” The ingredients in the recipe were:

“Take one hundred cocoa beans, two chillies, a handful of anise seed and two of vanilla (two pulverized Alexandria roses can be substituted), two drams of cinnamon, one dozen almonds and the same amount of hazelnuts, half a pound of white sugar and enough annatto to give some color. And there you have the king of chocolates.”

1643 – It didn’t take long for Spaniards to begin heating the mixture and sweetening it with sugar. Soon ‘chocolate’ became a fashionable drink enjoyed by the rich in Spain.

As the Spanish royalty intermarried with other European Royalty, cocoa was given as a dowry. In 1643, when the Spanish Princess Maria Theresa (1638-1683)was betrothed to Louis XIV (1638–1715) of France, she gave her fiancé an engagement gift of chocolate, packaged in an elegantly ornate chest. A royal chocolate maker was appointed and chocolate drinking became the rage.

There is a lot of much more detailed information about the Cacao bean history that is truly fascinating but I really want to explore the medicinal and touch on the hidden true flavours of the cacao and chocolate.

Chocolate definitely makes the world go around for me. The food I most phantasise about is definitely chocolate, I certainly can not imagine a life without it.

As a chef chocolate poses so much more potential investigations.

I initially always perceive a cacao bean as a fruit and note the different fruity tones in real good chocolate that often get lost in most chocolate productions.  By adding of to much fats and milks as well as vanilla, to much sugar and so on can be disguising the actual character of the character of the cacao apart from becoming also not as healthy due to huge amount of sugar etc. These heavier mixes of chocolate give me personally a feeling that separates the actual true flavour from my pallet with overpowering acidic sugar sweetness as a lingering taste that is somewhat unpleasant.

I like very much Damien Allsop’s concept of water ganaches or William Curley’s fruit ganaches and using very distinctive and carefully selected chocolate mixes that stay closer to the actual cacao character and tastes – in both these examples the chocolate can go deeper into your taste-buds therefor giving a cleaner and more elegant and refined experience.

That is just my feeling about chocolate.

True Magic Beans

I feel we have still so many opportunity’s to discover chocolate and it’s possibilities, this fiendish delight is indeed a magic ingredient as generally it is said that  Chocolate and cocoa contain a high level of flavonoids, specifically epicatechin, which may have beneficial cardiovascular effects on health.

Prolonged intake of flavanol-rich cocoa has been linked to cardiovascular health benefits, though it should be noted that this refers to raw cocoa and to a lesser extent, dark chocolate, since flavonoids degrade during cooking and alkalizing processes.

Studies have found short term benefits in LDL cholesterol levels from dark chocolate consumption.The addition of whole milk to milk chocolate reduces the overall cocoa content per ounce while increasing saturated fat levels, possibly negating some of cocoa’s heart-healthy potential benefits. Although one study has concluded that milk impairs the absorption of polyphenolic flavonoids, e.g. (-)epicatechin, a followup failed to find the effect.

Hollenberg and colleagues of Harvard Medical School studied the effects of cocoa and flavanols on Panama’s Kuna people, who are heavy consumers of cocoa.

The researchers found that the Kuna Indians living on the islands had significantly lower rates of heart disease and cancer compared to those on the mainland who do not drink cocoa as on the islands. It is believed that the improved blood flow after consumption of flavanol-rich cocoa may help to achieve health benefits in hearts and other organs. In particular, the benefits may extend to the brain and have important implications for learning and memory.

Foods rich in cocoa appear to reduce blood pressure but drinking green and black tea may not, according to an analysis of previously published research in the April 9, 2007 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

In June 2009, Mars Botanicals, a division of Mars Inc., the candymaker and food company, launched Cirku, a cocoa extract high in flavanols.

A 15-year study of elderly men published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2006 found a 50 percent reduction in cardiovascular mortality and a 47 percent reduction in all-cause mortality for the men regularly consuming the most cocoa, compared to those consuming the least cocoa from all sources.

These are some direct highlights 

  • Anadamide is called the bliss chemical.  This is an endorphin that is created during exercise.  It has been studied as a chocolate isolate in a lab.  Anandamide has been found so far in only one plant, the cacao tree.  The lipid found in anandamide helps release neurotransmitters that create a feeling of elation.
  • Cacao is claimed to be the number one source of magnesium of any common food.  Magnesium is a major mineral responsible for heart beat rhythm, strong bones and smooth muscle relaxation.
  • Cacao is a poor source of caffeine.  A sample of raw chocolate will yield anywhere from zero caffeine to 1,000 parts per million of caffeine – less than 1/20th of the caffeine present in coffee.
  • Additional minerals found in the cacao bean include potassium, zinc, magnesium, iron, manganese, copper, and chromium.
  • Lastly, cacao contains tryptophan, an essential tryptophan, an essential amino acid that is transformed into important stress-protective neurotransmitters including serotonin and melatonin.

The topic of the keynotes by Shawn Stevenson focus on the health benefits of cocoa in its most raw form. The professional nutritionist offers audiences an interesting and entertaining presentation on the history of cocoa and its unknown perks and advantages.

Stevenson’s expertise is in biochemistry and kinesiology. He received his bachelor’s of science degree from the University of Missouri. Upon graduating, he founded his own company called the Advanced Integrative Health Alliance. There, he promotes ‘The Shawn Stevenson Model,’ which aims to improve the health and happiness of individuals by providing the most effective strategies.

The keynotes by Shawn Stevenson also reference his two books ‘The Key to Quantum Health’ and ‘The Fat Loss Code.’ He offers audiences valuable information on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and fascinating stories on the food surrounding us.

The Hidden Benefits of Chocolate/ Health Keynote Offers Surprising Perks of Cacao

The topic of this health keynote by nutritionist Shawn Stevenson is chocolate. His speech reveals the hidden and unknown health benefits of chocolate in its purest form—cacao

Chocolate as Medicine

According to the article From Aphrodisiac to Health Food: A Cultural History of Chocolate, by Louis E. Grivetti:

From the 16th through early 19th century, numerous European travel accounts and medical texts documented the presumed merits and medicinal value of chocolate. . . Presented here is a brief “taste” of these rich chocolate-related passages from selected historical monographs. On inspection, these samples reveal that chocolate products were used to treat a myriad of human disorders:

Francisco Hernández (1577) wrote that pure cacao paste prepared as a beverage treated fever and liver disease. He also mentioned that toasted, ground cacao beans mixed with resin were effective against dysentery and that chocolate beverages were commonly prescribed to thin patients in order for them to gain “flesh.”

Agustin Farfan (1592) recorded that chili peppers, rhubarb, and vanilla were used by the Mexica as purgatives and that chocolate beverages served hot doubled as powerful laxatives.

José de Acosta (1604) wrote that chili was sometimes added to chocolate beverages and that eating chocolate paste was good for stomach disorders.

Santiago de Valverde Turices (1624) concluded that chocolate drunk in great quantities was beneficial for treatment of chest ailments, but if drunk in small quantities was a satisfactory medicine for stomach disorders.

Colmenero de Ledesma (1631) reported that cacao preserved consumers’ health, made them corpulent, improved their complexions, and made their dispositions more agreeable. He wrote that drinking chocolate incited love-making, led to conception in women, and facilitated delivery. He also claimed that chocolate aided digestion and cured tuberculosis.

Henry Stubbe (1662) wrote that consumers should drink chocolate beverages once or twice each day to relieve tiredness caused by strenuous business activities. He reported that ingesting cacao oil was an effective treatment for the Fire of St. Anthony (i.e., ergot poisoning). Stubbe also described chocolate-based concoctions mixed with Jamaica pepper used to treat menstrual disorders, and other chocolate preparations blended with vanilla to strengthen the heart and to promote digestion.


Little POP UP shop in Rochester by Flavours of Spain

ψPop up 4th October- 31st December 10.30-5pm closed Sunday and Monday  * this is not your normal Spanish foody shop!!!!

I visited Theresa and Ana  to investigate there sweet little POP UP shop in Rochester Kent.

On entering the shop there is a wonderful authentic aroma coming from all the incredible delicious products Ana and Theresa carefully handpicked for us to try here in the UK.

Flavours of Spain was founded by Ana Caballero and Teresa Holmes a dynamic and happy Spanish-English collaboration team. Flavours of Spain has grown in reputation as suppliers of some of the country’s finest artisan produce and limited-production wines, specialising in Galicia and the north of the country.

I am a complete appreciator of specialist artisan producers and there refinde as well as important work,producing clean natural flavours all handcrafted foods by very special families throughout spain. The producers flavours of spain work with are exactly my kind of people and all my producers are exactly as devotes as I am about producing something. They are completly passionate, up keeping old traditions of cultivating these unique products and I assure you it is so worth visiting – Ana and Theresa’s PoP UP shop to taste there unique and authentic treasures from Spain.

Spanish goods are in abundance however this particular level of fineness is very rare and flavours of spain represent this niche at it’s best indeed. The secret to there successes you may ask… pure pure passion!!!

To be able to offer what they do is very labour intensieve and commands a devoted and passionate commitment that I have not seen anywhere the way Ana and Theresa embody this.

All I can tell you they are here in the uk, they do many activity’s visiting markets near you also occasionally host supper clubs….you must go with some friend as they will host you with charm telling you all about every single products story and with laughter and warmth that will warm anyones cockles.

The shop is so cuite and villagy in a house that feels like an old ship, crooked and full of character.

The little town of Rochester also magically evokes a small resemblance and senses of Galicia Santiago.

Instead of the cathedral they have a caste ruin and a story of medieval wars and world war 2 battles.

Its 30-45 min from London so well worth the trip.

Here is a little report of what foods I had the absolute pleasure of tasting and a little about my day in Rochester:

Rochester Castle stands on the east bank of the River Medway in Rochester, Kent, South East England. The 12th-century keep or stone tower, which is the castle’s most prominent feature, is one of the best preserved in England or France.
Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, rallies the younger horsemen at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 There was a lot of fighting over power going on here between the King and the Bishop.
Rochester Cathedral.
There is a big historic event that took place her. I surgets you come down to investigate Rochester’s History and then visit Ana and Theresa in the Pop up 5 min away from the Castle of Rochester.
Walking down this charming little town road you will find Flavours of Spain’s little POP UP shop
Next to flavours of spain is a cute old little lady’s afternoon tea place with flowery teacups and cakes. The Little Pop up shop “flavours of spain”  has a little dining area and mini garden
Ana and Theresa are so loveable and passionate always ready to tell you everything about the products. You could not get a warmer welcome anywhere!
Always making people feel welcome and sharing a laugh together with there visitors.
I have attached a very good video about the situation and culture of Iberico. It is important to know as many low quality claiming to be iberico’s are being sold throughout the world and it is important to learn a little about this incredible culture of Iberico.
On the left is PALETA the front leg of the pig. The one on the right is the JAMON back leg of the Iberico. These are from the La Dehesa naturally the iberico bigs feed from Oct-Febuary on the Achorns naturally. This breed is Iberian Lampiño. The race is named after the place where it has developed over centuries, the Iberian Peninsula. The Iberian pig is the clearest representative of extensive pig in Spain, a traditional support of our important ecosystems of the Mediterranean forest, the meadow.
They have only been open 1 week  however the little town of Rochester has already taken to Ana’s and Theresa’s warm harted Pop up venture.
I really like the way they have displayed everything here in the shop it looks really beautiful everything is showing off its natural and individual beauty.
These are natural honey’s from Galicia. Flavours are deepy natural
These is beautiful handmade cheese and the skinn alone the textures and colours look so beautiful of all the cheeses from Flavours of spain
This cheese is incredible in every way:
it is made with 3 different kind of milks: cows, goats and sheep.
the blue veining is completely natural. Most cheeses are injected.
This cheese is then matured in natural caves.
The flavour is complex and dense however very natural and clean. This is super unique and phenomenal. Try cooking a really best stack from your artisan butcher well aged, medium rare and this cheese on top for a complete umami bomb….oh and of course with a really nice goblet of finest red wine. I would call this a celtic supper to have in the Rochester fortress ruins.
This cheese is called CABRALES a name fit for a legendary cheese!
This is not any old saffron oh no…it is according to the gourmet guide “the best saffron from Spain at the moment”
This is a special re wine from DUMIA close to my friend Pepe Solla in Solla Restaurant were he serves this wine to.
The wine is made by Miguel Alfonso and it is BIODYNAMIC. The name is Do Umia make sure you let the air breath 30 min before drinking. Such a natural beautiful and clean wine.
This beauty is the “Iberian Cheese” Goats that graze amongst the iberican pigs also eating the acorns hence the cheese having this luscious nutty flavour.
This is MANCHEGO – officially the best artisan Manchego of spain 2010-2011-2012  from the La Mancha Region made with raw Ewes milk
On the left Austurian cheese made of cows and goats milk matured in cider called SIDRA. On the right from MENORKA a raw cows milk cheese matured in wooden oak barrels called MAHON.

This is one of my favourite experience of that day:
a cured beef please ask Ana to show you this with olive oil and toasted almonds together and Wine ………a must!!!!!
Super Gold Awarded Ewes milk Cheese matured in exquisit olive oil dried off. The skinn has slight green complexions and is best eaten after 1 year resting.
My other top favourite cheese of the day. A goats cheese from Malaga also Super Gold Awarded, bathed in olive oil and the vacuum packed for amazing infusion. Completely devine and out of the ordinary!!!!
Very importantly about all the caned foods sold at flavours of spain is they are all steamed then the best of olive oil is used to cover the product and all packed by hand. All these products are only produced only in the season.
Cured Venison with chopped almonds and extra virgin olive oil

Ana na Theresa have many little events going on over the next 3 months here in the POP UP take a look at there website.

The shop is closed Sunday’s and Monday’s the shop is open for 3 months.

Pre-christmas and christmas goodies for real foodie’s absolutely delicious.

If you want to come and visit with some friends e-mail Ana and Theresa they can surely organise a tasting afternoon for you. Ana makes incredible galician octopus and the famous squid ink empanada’s and much more.

check blog from flavours of food for up dates:

Sorry was raining a bit so board chalk was a bit washed away:

New Peruvian Japanese Fusion Restaurant Barcelona…by Ferran

When ever there is a japanese restaurant opening anywere in the world, especially Ferran’s….I am SUPER interested!!!!

Japanese cuisine is my life and my passion. I am probably more a japanese restaurant then a person.

I am constantly investigating and learning. I could not have any better occupation as this truly keeps me learned.

The realms of japanese food culture is imbedded in art, philosophy, spirituality, poetry, culture, architecture, poetry  porcelain,methods, techniques,nature, …the facets are diverse, devine and so incredibly refined enough to keep minds busy for century’s to come.

For me the fascination for japanese cuisine and culture, the history the imagination and passion  will never ever fade.

I am definitely not alone with these feelings, as japan ignites many chefs to find new ways in there culinary search for evolution, aiding in many new investigations making japan ever more relevant for all chefs of all generations and nationalities.

Japan century’s ago was hosting a style of eating and cooking philosophy’s that was incredibly futuristic and suitable for modern society to come.

Ferran Adria has always loved Japanese cuisine and now he will open a 30 seater restaurant right next door to Tickets in Barcelona featuring “NIKKEI” which is the peruvian japanese fusion that exists in peru for more then 120 years.

He will focus on certain vegetables carefully selected from Japan and south america for his new menu.

Nikkei is a term usually used for Japanese people who migrate:

The Japanese migration, and its individual members known as nikkei (日系), are Japanese emigrants from Japan and their descendants that reside in a foreign country. Emigration from Japan first happened and was recorded as early as the 12th century to the Philippines, but did not become a mass phenomenon until the Meiji Era, when Japanese began to go to North America, beginning in 1897 with 35 emigrants to Mexico; and later Latin America, beginning in 1899 with 790 emigrants to Peru. There was also significant emigration to the territories of the Empire of Japan during the colonial period; however, most such emigrants repatriated to Japan after the end of World War II in Asia.

According to the Association of Nikkei and Japanese Abroad, there are about 2.5 million nikkei living in their adopted countries. The largest of these foreign communities are in Brazil, the United States, and the Philippines. Descendants of emigrants from the Meiji Era still hold recognizable communities in those countries, forming separate ethnic groups from Japanese peoples in Japan.

Nobu also is a global Nikkai and his first place to migrate was Peru about 35 years ago:

Most famous and pioneering Peruvian/ Japanese fusion Chef  NOBU MATSUHISA has 42 japanese Peruvian fusion restaurants worldwide.

Nobu in Peru

Here is a short comment from Nobu as to how he migrated to Peru:

When Nobu was 24 he was working in Tokyo at Matsuai restaurant were he met a “Nikkei” from Peru:

“At Matsuei I met a Peruvian of Japanese descent who used to stop in for sushi about twice a year. One day – I was about 24 – he asked me quite seriously if I would consider moving with him to Peru to open a sushi restaurant. It was a dream come true, and I agreed at once. My father was a lumber merchant who died when I was seven. Whenever I felt sad, I used to stare at a photograph of him taken on the Pacific island of Palau, where he had once traveled to buy lumber. I wanted to be like my father. Staring at the photo I knew that I too would go overseas some day.

Lima was the perfect town for a sushi chef. With the Pacific Ocean nearby, fresh fish was never in short supply. And at the time – about 35 years ago – there were only three or four other Japanese restaurants in town. Yet Mitsubishi and many other big Japanese corporations had invested in Peru, so there were plenty of Japanese businessmen looking for good sushi.

I was a 49% stakeholder in the restaurant, but I had to do everything. Just as I had done during my apprentice days in Japan, I opened and cleaned the restaurant, put together the menus and made basic sauces. Back then you couldn’t jog down to the corner store to buy fish paste or other specialized Japanese ingredients, so I created everything from scratch, through trial and error. A lot of what I experimented with in Peru became part of my repertoire later on.”

The rest is history leading Nobu to be the most successful japanese chef world wide.

Peruvian and japanese fusion is still an exiting cuisine prospect and there is so much room for more investigations and developments.

I always felt it is important to refresh and reignite the work that Nobu has set such high bars for.

With the current peruvian/ south american global wave it is now of course the best opportunity to work with this wonderful and exiting concept of peruvian “Nikkei” cuisine.

The atmosphere of peruvian japanese food is very fun and upbeat suitable for the multicultural social, fashionistas and foodies alike.

Traditional Japanese is much more serious and demands a lot of deep knowledge, understanding and training apart form many other factores that are not easy to master or be respected for if you yourself are not from japan.

Upon many restaurants world wide copying Nobus style and menu has left a kind of confused in many people’s understanding of what real japanese food is.

To date there are not many japanese restaurants that are really japanese. Mostly the concepts get modified and customised for europeans.

Traditional Japanese food is perhaps difficult to convey in fast moving western societies so far from japan as it would require a lot of elements that are not readily available. As well there are required setting and atmospheres that  are important. In my experience staffing that have the skills required and the cultural education for example as tea ceremony “Cha Keiseki” and so on is not easy to employ.

I do feel it is not impossible however it takes a dedication and disciplin to establish that is incredibly intense and requires financial considerations.

It is so specific that many shy away from this prospect as heavy criticism follows by the japanese themselves.

In Kyoto having visited many masters, they rarely say about the other that they are great ( they dont say anything bad it is in the posture and look ). There is a kind of view of each other that is very hard to describe. Lets say there is a lot of pride which I do not condem, I understand the mentality and respect it to however it can be very hard.

Ferran Adria claims that Japanese Cuisine has had the biggest influence on his cooking career.

All over spain many  great chefs like Quique-Dacosta, Dani Garcia, Joan Roca and many more, all have a special place in there hart and influences from japanese techniques and ingredients in there menu’s.

Back in July, it was announced that Ferran Adria was teaming up with brother and business partnerAlbert Adria to open a Japanese restaurant in Barcelona. Details about the venture had been scarce until now.

In an interview with Peruvian publication El Comercio, Ferran said he was excited about returning to the kitchen. He explained the restaurant was Albert’s idea and will accomodate only 30 diners. The yet-to-be-named restaurant will feature Nikkei cuisine, a style of cooking native to Peru which blends Peurvian and Japanese ingredients and techniques.

When asked if he intended to reinvent fusion, Ferran insisted the restaurant will be strictly a blend of Peruvian and Japanese cuisine but with one exception: ”We want to incorporate – something that doesn’t exist in the Japanese or Peruvian cooking – working with vegetables.”

As for Nikkei cuisine, Ferran is passionate about bringing it to the international spotlight. ”In Japan, if you talk about Nikkei, they don’t know what it is, it’s incredible…The best part of Nikkei cooking is that it allows you to be more free…this type of cuisine is still being built and there is a long way to go, and this is fantastic,” he said.

Opening a Nikkei restaurant may seem odd at first but Ferran has been a fan of Japanese food for a longtime. The chef recently acknowledged  Japanese food influenced his last 10 years at elBulli, which was named the world’s best restaurant a whopping five times.

Ferran and Albert also plan to open a Mexican restaurant in Barcelona, all while keeping busy with the elBulli Foundation projects.

The news isn’t much of a surprise, given that the brothers have made several moves in the past year that suggest a desire for expansion: first there was Tickets and 41 Degrees, then the Mexican project, then a store, then a cocktail bar in London, and now this.

Not to mention their fascination with Japanese food, which became a major influence on the cooking at elBulli in the restaurant’s last decade. In an Eater interview last year, for instance, Ferran noted, “I didn’t go to Asia until 2002, when I went to China, Thailand, and Japan. And you could say that in the last five or six years, Japan has been and continues to be a major influence on my cooking.”

(Info in this article is from eater and fine dining lovers and link below for el comercio:

Ferran will bring a very upbeat and exiting experience to Barcelona also it will be very fantastic for all the world to see his new creations of his 2 biggest passions Japan and Peru.

I really cant wait 🙂

Nikkei cuisine is no stranger to Barcelona, and while the world awaits the new restaurant of Ferran and you want to try some Nikkei in Barcelona right now you can go here:

Komomoto, a decidedly hip, casual restaurant; nestled in Barcelona’s trendy El Born district.

Sleek, architectural interiors are given a stylish informal edge by a wall of hipster photographs and illustrations, industrial dangling lightbulbs and Ingo Maurer‘s post-it note chandeliers. The food too follows this line of slick modernity fused with offbeat cool with ceviches,  sushi – the wild salmon with chipotle sauce maki rolls etc – and lick-lipping noodles all impressing. Stylish, innovative and ideally located for some serious bar-hopping.

Dont forget to go to Tickets and 41 degrees, they are not Nikkei but really fantastic!!!

I had an amazing evening and Albert had some japanese fusion dishes that day which vere really fabulous. If you’re going to Barcelona book…it’s a must!!!!!


I love Tickets

I will write a separate article of TICKETS soon……

The man who never cooks without his hat…Mark Veyrat

 grand chef cuisinier

Marc Veyrat (born 8 May 1950) is a French chef from the Haute-Savoie region, who specialises in molecular gastronomy and the use of mountain plants and herbs. Although he is hardly known in the American culinary scene, he is one of the most famous chefs in the European restaurant scene.

Veyrat is considered by some to be the best chef in the world. He obtained a total of six Michelin Stars (three stars for each of his first two restaurants). Also, he is the first cook to get the perfect grade of 20/20 in the Gault-Millau guide, for his two restaurants. However, André Gayot wrote that “many, including [Veyrat], consider this score a tad exaggerated and more a public relations fantasy than a serious appreciation.”

He was the owner of the restaurants la Maison de Marc Veyrat (or l’Auberge de l’Eridan) in Veyrier-du-Lac and la Ferme de mon Père in Megève.

On 24 February 2009, he announced that he would cease all of his activities at la Maison de Marc Veyrat due to his declining health. The hotel is currently being run by his children.

Marc Veyrat is known for his creativity and use of natural and organic ingredients. He specialises in “molecular gastronomy” what ever that may mean, I probably would say he is a Svengali of natural mountain herbs and foods creatively transforming them into culinary art and amazements  .  He is a major pioneer and forward thinker with passion bigger then the Alps. Rather than using butter, flour, eggs, oil, or cream, he instead uses roots, mountain plants, mountain herbs, and wild flowers harvested in the French Alps.

The celebrated French chef Marc Veyrat, who held six Michelin stars between his two restaurants, will open an ambitious culinary complex at some point in 2013.

L’Express reports that the 250-acre property will be located in Manigod, where Veyrat grew up, and have a serious emphasis on sustainability and ecology. Veyrat will oversee a fifteen-seat restaurant, a botanical garden, and host students who’ve come to enjoy the natural setting. He’ll also teach 150 Euro cooking classes to ten guests at a time so they can “learn to cook six modern dishes and amaze their friends.” “People will not be coming to a restaurant,” said Veyrat. “People will be coming to my house.”

One of the things I must do as soon as I can, being a poor chef is frustrating at times when you should be sitting and dinning with Mark Veyrat.

Pure hell to be in London when this is happening in San Sebastian

The international culinary showcase Gastronomika San Sebastian , the great event being held these days in the capital of Guipuzcoa, a dialogue filled with innovation.

A place were the passion between all the great chefs and new generations can be felt and celebrated.

Thank god these meetings exist and being there changes one in thinking, feeling and seeing.

I am so sad not to be able to be there. I normally will plan my year ahead making sure I am at these kind of places as they give me so much power and encouragement. I feel at one and know what I am doing thinking and feeling is good shared by a community of great chefs.

It is painful to not have been there as I know at these events the air is filled with greatness and a living element of creative inovation is  pulsating so strong that it is infectious for the creative and passionate ones.

Pierre Gagnaire, a lion of French cuisine  and a huge list of heroic chefs  all appeared in this event:

Michel Bras with Sebastian Bras, Paco Torreblanca, Jordi Roca, Christoph Michalak, Berasategui, Arzak, Mugaritz…the list goes on in iconic fashion.

“Quique Dacosta,  followed with essential minimalism of the terrestrial and marine, with proposals as a cococha , made with ham pil pil.”

“The Malaga Chef Dani Garcia stated “the future of crispy” with a seabed (ethereal shrimp omelet) with obulato (a transparent sheet often used for medicinal use in Japan).”

” Albert Adrià summarized the new experiences of 41 º, ” snackería and cocktails “, where a lawn of raspberry and a tree pistachios tender with wasabi can synthesize world flavours to thrill audiences here.”

I can feel the greatness of this event even here from the UK.

Next year is a must!

Funnily enough, a short while after I finished writing this article and feeling a little sorry for myself for not being in San Sebastian right now, the phone rang and my friends from Culler de Pau called me. I was so happy and I am floating on a cloud here in London with a big smile on my face and hart filled with gold sublimely hit by the love and passion from all my friends in spain 🙂

Now it’s not that bad being here knowing they are always sending me there kitchen powers from all the way over there!!!!

This was the day we had to return to london after working together with Javier and culler de Pau. This was our family time together with Pepe Solla at his Restaurant. 

Giorgio Locatelli, Marco Pierre White and Magnus Nielsson

Giorgio Locatelli

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:

He is so kind really taking time to talk to people

Marco Pierre White

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.