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Corinna Dunne

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  1. The latest press release: The six national finalists for this year’s Roux Scholarship have now been selected, following simultaneous regional finals last Thursday in Birmingham and London . Two past finalists have won through – Steven Stephens of Porth Tocyn in Abersoch and Christopher Golding of Nahm. They will be joined by Helene Anderson from Ambassade de l’Ile, London; Quinton Bennett from The Westbury Mayfair ; Kevin Sutherland from Baxter Storey and Hrishikesh Desai from Lucknam Park in Wiltshire. Two of the contestants work with Roux Scholars: Anderson works with 2007 Scholar Armand Sablon and Bennett is in the brigade of Andrew Jones, the 2004 Scholar. The regional finals took place at University College Birmingham and Thames Valley University . The finalists prepared their recipes for best end of lamb, which had been their original entry requirement. They were also asked to produce a dessert from a surprise box of ingredients given to them on the day itself – these ingredients were eggs, milk, double cream, sugar, gelatine, and vanilla. The standard this year was exceptionally high – not only with the lamb recipes but also with the desserts – demonstrating strong technical skills. Alain Roux was constantly on the phone from Birmingham to his cousin Michel Roux junior (at TVU) to monitor progress and compare notes. Commenting on the cook off Michel said: “The standard this year was quite exceptional and it was a tough call to choose just six. The competitors have, of course, had plenty of time to practise their lamb recipe and perfect it. But when we saw the standard of desserts produced – with minimal time for planning, an extremely tight list of ingredients and in the tense atmosphere of the regional finals – we were really pleased.” Alain Roux said: "Every year the standard just gets better and better. It was obvious that these talented young chefs are cooking with their head and being adventurous. We saw some excellent examples of simplicity, which it takes confidence to do, and it was also interesting to see a couple of contestants using the water bath method when cooking the lamb." “Those who were selected showed strong technical skills and great potential, especially for this stage of the competition. We all felt that the candidates were a real credit to their establishments.“ Added Gary Rhodes, who, with Heston Blumenthal, Andrew Fairlie and Brian Turner, judged in London . Alain Roux was joined in Birmingham by this year’s guest judge Richard Vines from Bloomberg and 1997 Roux Scholar Steve Love from the Cotswold House Hotel. There was a lot at stake – not least the record £5,000 cheque for the winner and £1,000 for the other finalists, courtesy of the Savoy Educational Trust. This money is to be used to further their culinary education, and past winners have used it to invest in equipment such as laptops, books, and of course to extend their knowledge of top restaurant food. However, none of the regional finalists went home empty handed: they each received gifts from Global Knives and L’Unico Caffé Musetti, plus a commemorative certificate signed by all the judges. Gerry Wensley of Fairfax Meadow, which supplied the lamb for the cook off, was so impressed with the standard that he kindly invited all the regional finalists to join the finalists for their butchery skills day later this month, which is normally just a prize for the six national finalists. Those who have been selected for the national finals have already won themselves at least £1000, a bottle of Champagne Gosset Grande Reserve, two personalised chef’s jackets from Bragard, a year’s complimentary membership of the HCIMA, registration with the Hospitality Learning Network, courtesy of Hospitality & Leisure Manpower, a free management study unit under the Ecarus Scheme, courtesy of the European Catering Association International, a commemorative saucier from All-Clad plus a set of Global knives worth £250. At the National Finals on 6 April Michel Roux senior and his brother Albert will chair the panel, which comprises Heston Blumenthal, Andrew Fairlie, David Nicholls, Gary Rhodes, Michel Roux Junior, Alain Roux, Brian Turner and Richard Vines. The Awards ceremony will be held later the same day at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park. There will be prizes galore for the 2009 Roux Scholar him or herself. Not only will they win the famous three month expenses paid stage at a European 3-star Michelin establishment, but a week’s paid work-experience in New York, courtesy of Restaurant Associates; an expenses paid trip including travel and overnight accommodation to visit the wine cellars of Champagne Gosset at Aÿ for a guided tour of the production process, a trip to visit the Caffé Musetti roasting factory in Milan and a set of Global Knives to the value of £1,000. In addition to the aforementioned supporters, the Roux Scholarship is also generously supported by a number of other companies including British Airways, Castello Monte Vibiano Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Caterer & Hotelkeeper, Direct Seafoods, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park and Yes Chef! magazine. And finally, once a Roux Scholar, always a Roux Scholar – they become a member of the elite Roux Scholars’ Club, which meets on a regular basis, organises educational trips abroad, offers special privileges to members and forms a unique networking opportunity. He is also mentored by the Roux family for the rest of his/her career.
  2. ROUX SCHOLARSHIP ANNOUNCES REGIONAL FINALISTS The regional finalists for this year’s Roux Scholarship have been announced and the heats will take place on 5 March. See press release below: A total of 20 young chefs will compete for a place in the finals of this year’s Roux Scholarship - the 26th year of the competition - four of whom have been national finalists before. The judges were delighted by the quality and particularly high number of entries this year, especially in the light of the current economic climate. “During a recession, kitchens will have quiet times, and chefs should use the extra time they have to their advantage – we certainly saw evidence of this in the standard and range of entries this year” commented Michel Roux, co-chairman of the judges. Gary Rhodes agreed wholeheartedly: “True enthusiasm and love for cooking will always shine through. Even in a recession it never dies.” he said. Michel added that the fact that entrants were required to devise a recipe for a rack of lamb was a popular choice; “It is regularly seen on restaurant menus, so most chefs have the confidence to attempt it, unlike a few of our challenges in previous years, which may have proved daunting to some potential entrants.” This year’s line up includes: four past national finalists: Lisa Allen of Northcote Manor; Christopher Golding of Nahm Restaurant at the Halkin Hotel, London; Adam Peirson of Claridge’s and Stephen Stevens, currently at Juniper in Altrincham; six past regional finalists (Kenneth Culhane (Baxter Storey), Cameron Rutherford (Chewton Glen); Robert Barham (The Stafford Hotel); Jonathan Coates (Kensington Place); Mark Birchall (l’Enclume) and Hrishikesh Desai (Lucknam Park). It also sees three contestants with from the brigade of the same Roux Scholar – Quinton Bennett; Kyle Jenkins and Liam Hill, who all work under Andrew Jones at the Westbury Hotel Mayfair: and one who trained under James Carberry at Dublin Institute of Technology (Kenneth Culhane). In addition, Helene Anderson of Ambassade de l’Ile, who works with Scholar Armand Sablon, has won a place. “It is always immensely rewarding when the judges see the importance that Roux Scholars and past entrants always place on our competition and how this enthusiasm is conveyed to their colleagues.” says Alain Roux, who, with his cousin Michel Roux junior, are taking on more of the responsibilities involved in running of the Scholarship. As usual, the first part of the judging was "blind": the judges did not have any idea whose recipe they judged – the finalists are selected purely on the merit of their initial submission. And it is a testament to this anonymity that the three chefs from the same establishment won through: “Only when the entries had been selected by the judges did the panel find out that they all worked with Andrew!” He adds. “We were also pleased to see so many entries from the contract catering sector – obviously following on from Dan Cox’s win last year, we can demonstrate that not only chefs from fine dining restaurants go through to win the competition.” Other contestants to win through are: Pramod Ghadge of Compass Group; Jordan Annabi of Lochgreen House Hotel; John Murray from St John Bread & Wine; Matthew Street from the Eastbury Hotel in Sherborne; Kevin Sutherland from Baxter Storey; Frederic Aumeunier of the Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa. The regional heats will take place concurrently on March 5 at Birmingham College of Food and Thames Valley University . The contestants will cook their best end of lamb recipe as originally submitted and be asked to prepare a dessert from a list of ingredients given to them on the day. The best six competitors will be selected to go through to the National Final, which takes place at on April 6 at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park London followed by a glittering awards ceremony in the presence of the great and the good of the hospitality industry. The judging panel comprises Albert and Michel Roux, chairman of the judges, their respective sons Michel Junior and Alain, Brian Turner, Gary Rhodes, David Nicholls , Heston Blumenthal and Andrew Fairlie. Guest judge this year is Richard Vines, chief food critic for Bloomberg News. The Roux Scholar not only wins the renowned three month stage at a 3-star Michelin establishment, plus £5,000 cash, courtesy of the Savoy Educational Trust, which is to be used to enhance their culinary education. As well as numerous prizes from supporting companies, he or she also receives a week’s paid work-experience in New York, courtesy of Restaurant Associates; an expenses paid trip including travel and overnight accommodation to visit the wine cellars of Champagne Gosset at Aÿ, and a trip for two to visit the Caffé Musetti roasting factory in Milan. The Scholar also becomes a member of the elite Roux Scholars Club, which meets on a regular basis for education trips and events, offers special privileges to members and forms a unique networking opportunity. Each national finalist wins a cheque for £1,000 to further their education, a day’s butchery course, courtesy of Fairfax Meadow, an engraved commemorative saucier from All-Clad, sets of knives from Global plus a year’s complimentary membership of the Institute of Hospitality .
  3. Does anyone have any recommendations for St Tropez in March (specifically there, and not somewhere within driving distance)? Mid-priced restaurants are of most interest. All responses appreciated
  4. Great recommendations above, hope you enjoy your trip. If you're looking for a light lunch on Saturday, you might find Shebeen Chic on Georges St interesting; it's very tongue in cheek from a decor POV, and the mussels in cream with jalapeno is an unexpectedly successful combination. They come in a big bucket with plenty of bread. Another nice light lunch time spot is upstairs in La Maison des Gourmets in Castle Market I've pasted in part of a review I did of the Pig's Ear a few months ago. *** With the nagging feeling that someone was making fun of us for the things we thought were classy back in the ‘80s, we put the menu to the test. The shrimp cocktail (€9.95) appeared, packed full to the brim of a whiskey tumbler, with delicious shrimps, crisp lettuce and a particularly good avocado purée. Nice one, very confident presentation, we like your style. Nothing ironically-twee about this; we were in good company. The chicken liver parfait (€8.95) was creamy, savoury and seductive; and the omelette (€12.95) was served in its own little pan with a salad of micro greens. Very London, very smart, very now. The pork terrine (€9.95) with little credit crunchy garnishes of the eponymous pig’s ear, was tasty and rustic, but not particularly edgy. Both the chicken liver and the terrine came with generous quantities of excellent toast; a pleasant change from the customary dearth which enforces toast ration management when consuming pâté, terrine, or soup de poisson. For mains we had slow-cooked pork belly with a home-made sausage roll and caramelised onions (€23.95), roast breast of chicken with peas, morels, and a chicken pie side dish (€23.95), grilled hake with crushed potatoes in a tomato vinaigrette sauce (€25.95), and seabass with steamed clams and white beans (€25.95). All were competently prepared, and all of the ingredients were very good, but none of these dishes quite made it to the “wow factor”. The pork belly was probably the best of our mains, moist and flavourful with nice texture added by the sausage roll and onions. Both fish dishes were somewhat weaker choices: the seabass was cooked to just the right degree of doneness, but the accompanying white beans and sauce were a bit bland; the hake was also nicely cooked, but again the other components of this dish were not terribly exciting. The chicken pie was good, although the ratio of pastry to chicken was a bit high, and the roast chicken breast was, well, roast chicken breast. We had also ordered two sides, of mashed potatoes and roast vegetables, which were perfectly nice but as it happened, completely unnecessary, as there was more than enough food already on the plates. Don’t get me wrong, none of the main courses were bad dishes, and I don’t mean to sound like we didn’t enjoy them. If there’s the very tiniest, minor disappointment with our mains, the fault probably lies more with our ordering than with the chef’s cooking. Next time I go back (and there will definitely be a next time), I think I’ll try the shepherd’s pie or the bacon and cabbage rather than fish—simple, honest, Irish comfort food is what they do best here. Desserts were very much in keeping with this theme. The jelly and ice-cream was sublime. Moulded into a ring, it glistened like a deep ruby jewel, embedded with sweet, lush blackberries. The sherry trifle was extremely good too, as was the lemon tart. Service was spot on throughout the night—all of the staff were friendly, professional, knowledgeable about the dishes, and moved things along at just the right pace. We never grew bored waiting between courses, but never felt rushed either. The total damage was €306 for four of us, with two mid-priced bottles of wine, two cappuccinos, and pre-dinner wine extravagance. Without the champagne and Mersault before dinner, or the unnecessary side dishes of vegetables, the bill would have been €240, or €60 a person. And that is great value by any standard.
  5. We were in there again on Friday night. I had booked a table for 10 ages ago… but when we got there, somehow the booking they had was for 4. Definitely not my fault as Steve even heard me making the booking for 10 (and had enquired at the time about who was coming). So, a tough job for them on a rugby weekend, but in fairness, they managed to get us a table an hour later than originally booked. They were very pleasant about everything, but I was surprised that they didn’t comp us a bottle of wine, or something by way of an apology… it would have been a nice gesture. Again, we really enjoyed the food. I had oysters Rockefeller, followed by the lamb mixed grill – a perfectly grilled chop from the rack, divine slow-cooked and nicely seasoned lamb and kidney – and finished with an orange dessert, can’t remember what it was called but it was an orange version of a chocolate fondant, really light and citrusy with a lovely molten orange sauce and orange ice cream. Steve started with a smoked eel risotto which was excellent and followed with steak, something neither of us would normally order, but it’s so good in Bentley’s it’s hard to resist. I managed to steal a taste of a few other dishes: the steamed fish in a Thai cream sauce was perfectly pitched and the steak tartare was textbook. So full tummies and happy faces all round. I think you'll enjoy it when you go, although there are seriously mixed reports about the service there.
  6. Some talk about Bentley’s, Richard Corrigan’s new restaurant in Dublin here, and as promised, my Tatler review… months late, apologies. The PR sent me a note to say he loved it… so, the unabridged version for a bit of fun. *** Who does yer man think he is? That Corrigan fella, coming back here, all full of himself, telling people what to do? Him and his chickens and his Great British Menu and his flash in the pan restaurant in Kildare, and now his new Bentley’s place on St Stephen’s Green? Ooh… that feels good. A drop of vintage begrudger’s bile. It’s not on the shelves too much these days, but who knows, there’s nothing like a credit crunch to feed a bitter thirst. But I sincerely hope not. In the old days, the pursed lips of wise old bats would mutter: “Oh, it takes the foreigner”, smug in the knowledge that this sort of decree would ensure that everyone continued to know their place, and that no gombeen or upstart would attempt to get above their station. But the Corrigan lad from Meath knew better. He headed off to Holland, then London, did his time in top kitchens, earning his first Michelin star as head chef in 1994, before moving on to open Lindsay House in 1997, his own Michelin-starred restaurant in Soho. In 2005, he bought the original Bentley’s in London, a quintessentially-British fish restaurant, gave it the new injection of life it so desperately needed, and re-opened it for its adoring public. He hangs out with the top brass, is loved by his fellow chefs – “he’s a gentleman,” they say – and is adored by London’s top critics, AA Gill included. Corrigan is larger than life and he has returned (again) to his own soil to plug a gaping hole in the Dublin culinary scene, something The Saddle Room in the Shelbourne failed to do. So now, we have Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill. A little piece of London with “earthy and uncluttered” Irish food, brought to the Georgian steps of Browne’s Hotel on St Stephen’s Green. Dylan McGrath was the last person I’d expected to see on these steps (he thinks Corrigan’s food is “simple and nice”, Corrigan thinks McGrath’s “a Muppet”), but there he was, cigarette in hand, chatting to some of Dublin’s better dressed, most of them wearing pink silk ties. “Bar or restaurant?,” enquired the gatekeeper at the reception desk. “I’ve a table booked for two,” I replied. “Number 52,” she directed the hostess, and before we knew it we were ushered into the restaurant dining room. A bit startled at this “either or” approach, and the fact that we had not been offered the opportunity to have a pre-dinner drink in the apparently beautiful Aviator Lounge, we sat, as we were told, at the worst table in the room. There is only one bad table, the aforementioned number 52, and it can be found in a corner, up against a closed Farrow & Ball painted door. It was 7.20pm on a Thursday and there were only four other occupied tables. I eyed up the more desirable spots and saw them fill up with fistfuls of money throughout the course of the evening. Our menus arrived and no offer of a pre-dinner drink. “Still or sparking?” enquired one of the white jacketed waiters, to which we replied “tap”. There was no surprise or resistance, and our water was poured graciously from a lovely silver jug. So big city, I thought. So old money. And what a beautiful room. The menu, as expected, solidly reflects Corrigan’s stated values of “uncluttered integrity and honest flavours”, with seafood topping the bill. Oysters are served raw on the half shell, hot in a tempura batter or grilled Rockefeller-style; native lobster is reasonably priced at €18 for half a beast, and the seafood platter, which includes crab, lobster and langoustines, kicks in at €40. There are 14 other starters, which include seafood cocktail, prosciutto with melon, spiced beef tartar and risotto of smoked eel. We opted for Bentley’s fish soup (€9) and the ‘special’, which was described as mackerel rillettes (€9.50). They arrived at breakneck speed, which would have been impressive if we were in that much of a hurry and more impressive if our wine had been there to meet them. Bentley’s soup is not a traditional soupe de poisson, it is smoother and with stronger notes of tomato, and the bowl I had was piping hot and deliciously well balanced. It was served with croutons and an excellent rouille but no grated cheese (which is the way he always serves it). The mackerel was heavenly. The pâté - shaped into three quenelles - was perfectly pitched: the smoke was robust yet the flavour of the fish came through cleanly. Finished with dill and served with delicate blinis and a light butter sauce, it was a dish that sums up Corrigan’s food. It was sophisticated-simple as opposed to boring-simple. Which makes a pleasant change, because everyone is coming out with the ‘fresh, local and seasonal’ claptrap, but only a few have the skill to transform the lauded ingredients into something that’s worth paying for in a restaurant. Eventually, the wine arrived, just before we finished our starters. A bit of a cardinal sin in my book. There is a well considered selection of main courses, ranging from salmon fish cakes, fish pie, and fish and chips at the under-€20-level; to lamb mixed grill, Jack O’Shea’s Angus beef, and black sole at the top end of the scale. Given the rants of the man, I had to go for the organic roast chicken (€24). It was a massive portion, sliced and perfectly cooked in a pool of jus (but the star anise was a bit strident for my liking). A foie gras raviolo, which was chunkier in texture and more robust than I expected tasted great, except the filling was practically cold; which was a shame, and a disappointment. But the veal Schnitzel ‘Holstein’ (€35), with a fried egg on top and perfectly balanced sauce was exceptionally good. So too was the side order of chips (€3.90), which came in a classy silver dish. We were feeling incredibly full at this stage; our portions had been extremely generous, the food had come at a very fast pace, but I was determined to try a dessert. Seeing that we were going to make it through to the third round, and the table was not for turning, the service slipped into the slow lane, and my polite gesticulations from table 52 on the edge of Siberia were hard for the white jackets to spot. But it was worth the wait, because the quivering buttermilk panacotta (€9.50) was soft as a baby’s bum and deliciously silky. The three accompanying blackberries were ripe, juicy and sweet, and the walnuts, with a sweet caramelised sauce finished off the dish wonderfully. A black suit appeared, the first one of the evening, and asked us if we’d enjoyed our meal. “Yes”, we replied as he swished off to do a quick round, before disappearing from the room. As we waited for the bill, I took the opportunity to check out the ladies’ room (very small, far from impressive) and take a peek into the Aviator Lounge I had heard so much about. The place was buzzing ─ I wondered if it was actually some sort of private members’ club ─ and there were pink ties everywhere. And glammed up women, and a man in a white chef’s jacket. Yes, it was the Meath man himself. He was surrounded. And the black suits that were missing from the restaurant downstairs (no maitre d’, wine advice or schmoozing), were in full flight. I discovered that it was a party thrown by The Dubliner magazine. It was a night when more eyes were on the bar than the restaurant. And this was a night when the restaurant could have failed miserably. But it didn’t. Despite patchy service and a few glitches with the food, it was an incredibly enjoyable evening. This is a restaurant that is going to be one of the hottest bookings in town. Corrigan may have fallen short on his promise of “a main course and glass of wine for €17”, but he has delivered, for the main part on good food in a great room. Weekend tables are hard to come by, but why not try for one on a Thursday which by all appearances, seems to be the new Friday. Just make sure it’s not table number 52.
  7. It just might be the year that Neven Maguire lands a star for MacNean Restaurant... great chef, the place has had a serious refurb and the wine list is much improved. Things were a bit shaky for Oliver Dunne in Bon Appetit during his first year with a star. Hopefully they've improved and his star is safe. ← I couldn't agree more Corinna. I think this is Nevin's year-they certainly appear to have gone all out for it. I also agree about Bon Appetit. It's had very mixed press throughout 2008. They were definitely finding their feet when I ate there. ← How could I forget Alexis Bar & Grill??????? Patrick, I think you're looking good for a Bib Gourmand
  8. It just might be the year that Neven Maguire lands a star for MacNean Restaurant... great chef, the place has had a serious refurb and the wine list is much improved. Things were a bit shaky for Oliver Dunne in Bon Appetit during his first year with a star. Hopefully they've improved and his star is safe.
  9. I reviewed the Cherry Tree a few months back and it was nothing short of shocking, a change of head chef in the last year. Flannagans, which is primarily a steak house is a much better option in Ballina/Killaloe. Further up on Lough Derg, Garykennedy is also worth a visit and Larkin's Bar and Restaurant is nicely atmospheric with decent food.
  10. A friend of mine ate in Racine last weekend and said that service charge there is now 14.5%. Ouch. I can't remember what it was when I was there a year ago. Does anywhere else charge at this rate?
  11. Here are the details from the press release: Michel Roux has announced that the 2009 Roux Scholarship is now open. Chefs who wish to take part are required to submit a lamb recipe (see below) for the first stage of the competition. In addition to the main part of the prize – a stage of up to three months at a three Michelin-starred restaurant in Europe – the winner takes home a cash prize of £5,000 and a host of other prizes from many of the companies which support the competition. The judging panel comprises the Roux brothers and their respective sons, as well as Heston Blumenthal; Andrew Fairlie (the original Roux Scholar); David Nicholls; Gary Rhodes and Brian Turner. They are joined by 2009 guest judge Richard Vines from Bloomberg. For the first stage of the judging, the judges have no idea whose entry they are marking. Entries are numbered and it is only once the regional finalists have been selected, that their names are given to the judges. Entrants who fail to reach the regional heat retain their anonymity and are only known to the competition organisers. To enter, entrants must submit a recipe, to serve four people, using two best ends of lamb (leaving bone in) accompanied by two garnishes, one of which must be potato, and the other using one green vegetable. The dish should also be accompanied by a light jus or a salsa. They are also required to submit costings for the dish. Daniel Cox, the 2008 Roux Scholar, will return from his stage at El Raco de Can Fabes in Barcelona just before Christmas to rejoin his employer Compass Group. The Scholarship arranged for him to be given intensive Spanish language training prior to his trip and all his accommodation and travel costs are covered. As well as the £5,000 cash prize (which is given by the Savoy Educational Trust and is to be used to further their culinary studies), the 2009 Roux Scholar will enjoy a three month stage at a three Michelin starred establishment, trips to Italy to visit Caffe Musetti, courtesy of L’Unico and Champagne courtesy of Champagne Gosset, as well as a week in New York with Restaurant Associates, in addition to other prizes. The other five national finalists will each win £1000 to be used to further their culinary skills, again courtesy of the Savoy Educational Trust, as well as other prizes from the supporting companies. *Full entry details plus footage of previous competitions, further details on prizes, past scholars and judges can be found by visiting www.rouxscholarship.co.uk . The entry form can also be downloaded from the site. The closing date for entries is Friday January 23 2009. *full entry details are on the website
  12. Patrick has just about said it all there. One more in town that is worth checking out is Bentley's owned by Richard Corrigan. And they have just started doing breakfast there (I wasn't able to go to the launch last week), but I hear it's great. And if you venture out to the coast on the southside, be sure to go to Alexis... winner of the Best Leinster restaurant from Food & Wine this year... and owned by Patrick_O above! If you head out to the coast on the northside of the city, check out Ivans Oyster Bar and House in Howth.
  13. High praise from AA Gill in The Sunday Times
  14. This will make a pleasant change from the charge of the champagne trolley in Petrus days. Totally intimidating. Nearly cracked the brass in my neck...
  15. Great, so glad it was him. It's hard to judge when you can't taste the food, but I thought his attitude and focus were amazing. Seemed like a really nice guy too.
  16. Wow, that’s a retrograde step. He didn’t make much of an impact when he was at Lyons before, when they had fine dining at The Mill. And now, it’s pretty straightforward stuff with just Café La Serre... a very diminished Lyons estate. Did you hear were Fred Cordonnier is these days?
  17. Who won? Unfortunately I just recorded a half hour on Friday so caught plenty of cooking but missed the verdict (grrr... they should include a mention of the "hour special on Friday" in the tedious voiceover of the final week). Have to say, I really enjoyed the series, particularly the last week. M Roux has a big TV future ahead of him I reckon.
  18. It was 'simple and nice' There were a few glitches (apparently the service was muppet central in the early weeks, I know people who would not go back), but I think it’s going to be a winner. He’s in a great room, in the right location, and for the main part, the prices are fair, and the food is very good. I’ll post my review after it has run. Yep, from what I can see, Corrigan is pally with plenty of the chefs around town, the Golden Mile Cartel. And anyway, he’s the Big Cheese, so everyone wants to be his BF. McGrath is an outsider, not just because he is in Ranelagh. I get the sense that he is not popular with the rest of them, too intense and doesn't make an effort to mix with them (just speculation on my part).
  19. It’s interesting to see that two of the featured restaurants served hot food on glass plates, which M Roux has said is a no no (you can’t heat up glass). Really enjoying the series. Would love to see a Tudor’s effect on Roux’s eyes during the opening sequence.
  20. I just love those Corrigan soundbites. Great to have him stirring things up, a bit of entertainment. I’ve no idea where his ‘review’ originated, but I did bump into McGrath coming out of Bentley’s (I couldn’t believe it!) when I went in to review it for Irish Tatler last Thursday. It turned out that there was a party for The Dubliner magazine going on upstairs, so Trevor White would have invited him along. Dyl was heading back to his own gaff, looking as happy as ever. The place was buzzing, it was like the Shelbourne in the old days, all the usual suspects, loads of pink ties, and Corrigan in his chef’s jacket in the middle of them. So anyone with a dinner reservation didn’t get to have a pre-dinner drink in the Aviator Lounge (the girl on reception was quite snotty actually, bar or restaurant? giving me an ‘even though I saw you chatting to Dylan McGrath, I don’t think you’re bar, darling’ look). Corrigan didn’t work the room downstairs when I was there, but maybe he did later.
  21. Interesting, but not surprising. Here’s the piece in the Daily Mail I don't know what gave him the idea that Gordo would be there to hold his hand. He doesn't do it anywhere else. In any event, it’s not closed and they are still taking bookings for the chef’s table, with Johnny McIver now acting as head chef. If he’s the guy who was cooking the night I was there, the place is doomed. Things are tightening up a bit in Ireland with the recession. I heard that Capella Castlemartyr , a high profile luxury hotel in Cork, which opened with Roger Olson (ex Pied a Terre) as head chef, has gone into liquidation. There are now a glut of hotels in Ireland that were built for tax purposes. The nursing homes of the future?
  22. And a great review from Tom Doorley in The Irish Times.
  23. I agree, but at least they didn't talk them up as '"it doesn't get much better than this". Would love to hear more from Michel Roux on "The secret of...." . He has some great comments, many of them gems.
  24. How was Bentley's Patrick? I haven't been in yet. Weekends really booked up.
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