Archive for the ‘Holiday ramblings’ Category

We are officially back in the wine cellar today, and so, technically, I shouldn’t be posting any more holiday ramblings – but there was one more comment that I wanted to make about chefs, food and up-market restaurants. Give me my food on a plate please!

I remember back in the early 80’s when an English chef called Antony Worrall-Thompson opened a very trendy restaurant in Knightsbridge called Menage-A-Trois. Only starters and desserts were served – very small portions using highly imaginative food presentation – the technique then widely known as ‘Nouvelle Cuisine’. It was all the rage. Having said that, despite all the playing around, arranging the food on the plate to create a pretty picture, as far as I recall, it still tasted pretty good.

These days chefs continue to present food in creative ways, but then one of the latest trends might just be pushing the envelope a bit too far. Chefs are now using some very odd ‘platters’ on which to serve – and when I say platter, that doesn’t necessarily mean anything ceramic. It started with wooden boards and pieces of slate, but has now extended to plant pots, flooring panels, shovels, a dog bowl and even a shoe….. yes, I did say a shoe.

Apart from the obvious hygiene implications (that some of these materials are porous and therefore difficult to clean), my belief is that it’s all gone a bit to far, and in a way, chefs should get ‘back to basics’ – stay in the kitchen, make good tasty food and present it nicely… on a plate! Sometimes it’s all just too easy to get carried away, and lose focus on the real job at hand.

And for me, now, it’s back to work – just focusing on making great wine!

Tied to the stove?

August 16th, 2017

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What qualifies an individual to be known as a “celebrity” or a “star” these days? Not very much it would appear! When I was young (admittedly a long, long time ago), perhaps the only people to be considered as real stars were those who plied their trade in Hollywood, on the big screen.

It was Andy Warhol who once said “in the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes”…. but nowadays it doesn’t stop there. It seems that any person, talented or otherwise, who appears (even for just a few minutes on our television screens), is considered to be a celebrity, or perhaps the ‘star’ of that particular show.

I have noticed however, that the appetite for fame and notoriety can sometimes extend into other professions. Chefs for example. Obviously, the huge difference is that chefs have to work extremely hard, over many years to achieve their success, and that this is always based on their own individual talent and creativity. However, having achieved this success, then some of them chose to travel, write books, appear on TV series, almost appearing to abandon their own kitchens. So when a chef finally achieves the ultimate accolade of a Michelin star or two, then I ask myself, does the Michelin star(s) really belong to the establishment, or to the individual chef him or herself?

The truth is that I will pay almost any amount of money to experience great food and drink, but in an ideal world I would at least like to believe that the ‘celebrity’ chef might at least play some role in supervising my meal (probably not a very realistic wish in some top restaurants these days). A good analogy might be, going to a Broadway musical or play to see a major star and then discovering that his or her understudy is playing the lead role on the night you attend. The whole spectacle could probably be just as good, but the experience might not leave quite the same impression. Delegation or substitution does not always guarantee quite the same result.