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Corinna Dunne

eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Posts posted by Corinna Dunne

  1. How about simply televising the Roux scholarship so that we can actually see some professional chefs cooking decent food.

    Great idea. And combined with a Michel Roux masterclass, this would be a really interesting programme. And no, I don’t think we’re talking to ourselves on this one. Surely everyone is sick of the “good television” boyband approach to selecting contestants: the good looking one, the deluded one we feel sorry for, the hard worker, the talented one… actually, that even sounds like an improvement.

    And accessible food and bistro dishes with a bit of foam over function thrown in have been done to death. I really think that most people are ready for a true behind the scenes look at cooking at the top end. And not some fast edit, but something that really informs.

    BTW, I know everyone worships MPW, but to be honest, I think he’s just out to make the maximum money doing the least possible work at the moment. That means loads of TV, plenty of appearances and a few rants that get him press coverage. I don’t blame him for it (after all, Gordo is making a fortune at it and he has obviously decided to get in on the act), but I think Michel Roux would be a far worthier anchorman for the revival of the classics. First and foremost, he is a chef, a highly talented chef, and he has obviously got provenance. He is not personality driven. He is straight and honest, and a breath of fresh air.

  2. Well worth including Hisop. It's nearly two years since I was there, but my brother and his family were there about a month ago and were hugely impressed... and, the prices haven't changed since I'd been. Be sure to have the wine pairing if you go... just 12 euro, unbelievable value.

    They were also incredibly accommodating with the children; made them a special non-alcoholic cocktail and replaced a few of the dishes.

  3. What annoys me is that I need to be able to trust the judgement of the judges. Michel Roux is a case in point.  The stuff he says is fascinating, precise and adds enormously to the show (love the boggle eyed look he uses to make a point too).  Whenever Greg Wallace opens his mouth he is either a) stating the blindingly obvious (or repeating what Michel Roux has just pointed out) or b) saying something that's just wrong.  What I want from an expert if for them to both inform (say something I didn't know) and provide insight (point out something I wouldn't have realised otherwised).  Sure I've probably got higher expectatations than the target audience, but I simply make the observation that Roux provides both, Wallace provides neither.

    Other than that I think the format is excellent.  Simple no frills - and definitely a challenge. Two dishes in fifty minutes sounds a tough ask; I assume they get prep time before that.  I like the classics dish too (good way to seperate men from the boys - one thing you notice is that a lot of the high profile competitions like Roux Scholar and Ramsay Scholar have a strong classical dish component.  Gives the contestants nowhere to hide).

    I agree. Michel Roux and the Escoffier slot are the most compelling aspects of this twist on the series. Listening to Wallace generally repeat what Roux has said adds nothing and it would probably be completely farcical if they tasted the dishes separately as Roux’s opinion is really the only one that matters.

    Really good to see the classics back on the radar. A Roux Cooks the Classics programme would be very interesting, and I suspect have a larger audience than TV heads would expect (if the accepted belief is that people watch and don’t cook). And in a bizarre way, it would feel fresh and new.

  4. An update on the Irish restaurant scene and some info in the Irish Times here on the Food & Wine Restaurant of the Year Awards 2008.

    Chef of the Year: Dylan McGrath, Mint

    Restaurant of the Year: MacNean House Bistro, Blacklion, Co Cavan

    Hall of Fame: Richard Corrigan and the Sheridan brothers, Séamus and Kevin.

    Regional awards

    Dublin Best Restaurant: Chapter One, Parnell Square

    Leinster Best Restaurant: Alexis, Dún Laoghaire

    Ulster Best Restaurant: MacNean House Bistro, Co Cavan

    Munster Best Restaurant: Fishy Fishy, Kinsale, Co Cork

    Connacht Best Restaurant: Salt at Lisloughrey Lodge, Cong, Co Mayo

    Some very popular winners, in particular Neven Maguire’s MacNean House and Restaurant, which won Restaurant of the Year 2008. He told me that he’s been putting a lot of work into developing his cellar and wine list this year, which is particularly interesting, given that this was probably the only thing holding him back from getting a Michelin star. I asked him if he was hoping to get one, and he said he wasn’t going after it… hmmm. It would be great to see him land it. A great chef, and an incredibly nice man.

    Dylan McGrath of Mint was also on top form with his Chef of the Year Award.

  5. Is the whole Wareing/Ramsey not all a bit second generation Ramsey/MPW?? The protege breaks away from the mentor in a blaze of angry swear words, with the motivation to show he is just as good or even better.

    I was thinking the same. And of course this is the standard practice for PR these days: slag off a high profile chef, or say something controversial (eg Santi Santamaria's latest rant) and watch the column inches flood in.

    It's a great spectator sport though.

  6. The casual reference is relative. The room is completely different, much more relaxed and laid back than it was and there is no Michelin starchiness. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s not performing at Michelin standard. In fact, the service is exceptionally good. There is no sense of anyone watching the room, but you never have to wait for your wine, water etc to be poured. The food is excellent too and by Irish standards, it is well priced for the quality of the food.

    Deane’s was awarded (Irish) Food & Wine Restaurant of the Year 2007, and it was well deserved. I’m back there again soon and looking forward to it.

  7. It's definitely worth going to Deane's. As Andy mentioned, it is now much more casual and is downstairs where Deane's Brasserie used to be. There are no amuse bouche or freebie bits any more (except for olives and bread), but the prices are very reasonable and the food is extremely good. The carpaccio of venison is well worth a try if it is on, excellent black sole too. Michael Deane is there nearly all the time, so it's also very consistent.

    Other places worth considering are Mourne Seafood Bar for very fresh fish in a casual atmosphere (be sure to reserve, it's very busy) and James Street South for a more formal style-conscious dinner.

  8. Obviously, the Dublin stop is limited.  I'm *hoping* that we might have enough time to go out to a decent pub, as opposed to being stuck in the airport.

    Four hours will give you enough time to leave Dublin airport and go for lunch. Malahide is a nearby seaside suburb which is well worth visiting (take a taxi, it's not far). There are three pubs there, the best one for lunch is Gibney's. The food is straightforward, I'd recommend the cod and chips. An alternative lunchtime spot is Cafe Bon, a bistro which is downstairs in Bon Appetit.

  9. Thanks for the report mbernstein. I'm going to Can Roca in the next few weeks and really looking forward to it. What was the price of the menu you had and how many courses were there? The last time I was there, I think there were two different menus as well as an ALC.

  10. Are there are two Gordon's out there? On the F Word we get the dumbed down Gordon for the mass market, which unfortunately detracts from his skill. But every now and then do we see the real Gordon?  i.e, his praise for Jason Atherton on the last couple of GBM's appears genuine and sincere, and his analysis of Jason qualities appears very well considered.

    More love and effusive praise from Geordie the culinary father on the Great British Menu yesterday. It looks like Jason Atherton has become the culinary son (stepping into the shoes that Marcus Wareing is so eager to kick off, if rumours are to be believed).

  11. Well, Gordie’s back on the telly, with a huge audience I’m sure, after his publicity stunt rant about fining chef’s for using out of season produce.

    This time round he’s everybody’s friend and the new happy clappy F Word looks like a pilot for a US audience, where of course he’ll make a lot more money if the networks bite.

  12. Having clearly mastered the world of cooking, the business of catering and worldwide televisual entertainment, the way forward for Gordo is now becoming clear...

    G.Rex has apparently "...spoken to Gordon Brown about outlawing out-of-season produce".

    Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay says British restaurants should be fined if they serve fruit and vegetables which are not in season.

    Rambo seems to have a thing about fines.

    When he was over in Ireland to do his PR bit for the opening of his restaurant here, he said that parents who feed their children rubbish should be fined. And it looks like this is going to be his next mission on the F Word where once again, he’s trotting out the get people back into their kitchen line.

    Speaking to the BBC before the start of the fourth series of his Channel 4 show The F Word, the father-of-four said he plans to get the nation back into the kitchen, cooking healthy, wholesome fare.

    He says the obesity problem in the UK could soon rival that of the States, and he blames parents for giving into children and not having the discipline to say no. 

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