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  1. Could not agree more Matthew. The title "Pofessional Masterchef" is seriously misleading. Maybe it should quickly be re-branded as "Aspiring Masterchef". I find the obsession with having a Michelin star quite worrying. Where are the basic foundations to be able to achieve this?? The whole professional angle of the programmme, and the sub-standard results really make me regret the passing of City and Guilds 706 1/2 even more. The current qualifications just don't seem to offer the basic training and necessity to learn the classics. Long gone are the days (apparently) where a budding young chef would learn how to make an omlette, creme pat and choux pastry before experimenting with throwing as many things on a plate as possible and hoping they work! Having said all that though, M. Roux comes across brilliantly, is a refreshing change and offers invaluable advice.
  2. If colin gets the star then WHY is andy there,,,, surley andy went there to regain a star for WF and not to be just a sous chef. Its 10 years since WF gained 2* this guide,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, WHY IS COLIN DOING THIS TO WINTERINGHAM????????????????????????????? ← because he spent £1.2m + on it and needs to be in control of the kitchen so he doesn't get left without chefs again? ← You have hit the nail on the head Gary. If Colin is known to be Chef Patron, then he will be thinking that he can't loose a star again when the next head chef leaves. This is presuming that he regains the star, which is sounding very unlikely at the moment!!
  3. Le Chevre D'Or in Eze Village, Nice was placed in the 3 star espoir category in last years red guide. Following 2 meals there in 2007, I'm hoping it doesn't make the final grade as the cuisine lacked any sort of cohesion and did not compare to other 3 stars in the red guide.
  4. Matt London based agencies Hutchinsons and Greycoat Placements are the best in my opinion. You could also try "The Lady" magazine. Solid references and showing an ability to be flexible in your cooking are a must.
  5. Matt, I left the restaurant kitchen in 2002, and as you rightly suggest, the way a top professional kitchen works cannot be simply transferred to other areas of the catering industry. Patience, people skills, communication and acceptance of new ways to work all have to be considered and taken on board. I researched moving into New Product Development very seriously. NPD is great in that you will bring your ideas to a much wider audience, and would also be beneficial to your self development. It would arm you with a range of new skills, and the pay is not meagre by anyone's standards. Companies such as Geest are always on the look out for top restaurant and hotel chefs to help fill the gap in a massively expanding market. Focus Management are a good agency to get you going. Another idea, and one that I have followed, is becoming a Personal Chef. Again, this is very different to restaurant cooking as you cooking what the client wants rather than what you want to cook, and that you have to be extremely adaptable and willing to work at very short notice. Nevertheless, I have been a Personal Chef for over 5 years now and it provides me with great variety in my cooking. It also gives me the opportunity to travel abroad to cook at holiday homes, meet people I would never of dreamt meeting, improved my social skills, have a cookery book published privately and earn a very good living. Their are several good agencies dealing with this specialist area, but the best jobs come through word of mouth.
  6. The new chef has indeed left. Rumour has it that he was pushed. It's a sad turn of events for one of our culinary gems.
  7. Here is Robert's opening menu for Waldo's at Cliveden. Mille-feuille of Scottish scallops with truffle polenta and granny smith apple salad ~ Cannelloni of pike and langoustines with sweetcorn sauce, basil and paprika ~ Seared langoustine tails, served with poached quail eggs, marinated wild mushrooms and foie gras hollandaise ~ Terrine of lightly smoked eel, served with foie gras, pork belly, apple and toasted brioche ~ Pan-roasted veal sweetbreads, served with ravioli of artichoke and egg yolk, with Madeira and truffle sauce ~ Gressingham duck breast with Szechwan pepper, quince and salad of mache *********************** Fillet of pan-roasted sea bass with tiger prawn, served with wild mushrooms and watercress sauce ~ Potato crusted turbot, served with mouclade and fennel choucroute ~ Hare royale, served with sauce Grand Veneur "Germain Schwab" ~ Balmoral venison with a pressing of root vegetables and creamed Savoy cabbage ~ Fillet of Aberdeen Angus with oxtail braised with snails and parsley ~ Cannelloni of Label Anglais chicken with truffle risotto, crispy thigh and various beetroot's ************************ Assiette of Waldo's desserts ~ Baked apple and blackberry alaska with blackberry coulis ~ Fondant of guanaja chocolate and griottines with pistachio semi-fredo ~ Baked citrus tart, served with natural yoghurt sorbet and citrus salad ~ Layered mousse of praline and pear with creme patisserie tuile and warm carmelised pear ~ Souffle of white chocolate and banana with passion fruit ice cream ~ Finest farmhouse cheeses 3 courses @ £68
  8. Yes, maybe they didn't have the space to elaborate on my "award-winning". I won the Roux Scholarship in 1998. I am sure you speak for many people when you say you never got the chance to try Robert's cuisine at Winteringham. The move will definetly bring about a new customer base for him, which he is relishing the prospect of.
  9. I believe Daniel Galmiche is moving elsewhere, but as I don't know the details I won't speculate on where. There are obviously moves afoot to replace Robert, and I'm sure Winteringham Fields will announce their plans as soon as possible.
  10. As of mid-November 2007, Robert Thompson (currently of Winteringham Fields) will become the Head Chef of Waldo's Restaurant at Clivedon House Hotel, Taplow, Berkshire. Robert will NOT be responsible for the other food operations within the hotel; purely Waldo's Restaurant. The style of cuisine will remain similar to that which he currently produces, with the usual emphasis on top quality ingredients prepared with thought, orginality and respect for the season's. Robert describes his move to Waldo's as a "fantastic opportunity to further my career and take my cuisine up another level". (Hopefully, this is an unbiased report on some interesting news. I am Roberts brother.)
  11. Thanks David. I will contact DeCecco Uk to find out where their stockists are. Failing that, the E-shop on www.dececco.it have it available for mail order.
  12. Does anybody know where I can purchase De Cecco Ziti Zita 118 pasta from? A quick internet search did not produce anything. A mail order supplier would be preferable; if not any recommended stocklist will suffice. Thank you.
  13. Thank you for your comments Jackal. As you say, luxurious products always go down well. I included some white truffle with fresh pasta last year which went down a treat. This year i have some Parmigiano Reggiano to include and will no doubt include a "truffled" product. It is also true that the contents of the hamper should have a good shelf life, considering the general food glut around Christmas. I am still using produce from the 2006 hamper so I know it keeps well. Sourcing the basket itself always presents a challange, as it has to be strong, large enough, able to travel (delivery), and have a worthwhile use. Many people have a couple of wicker and seagrass storage trunks so this year i'm looking at an antique chest. The rare tea and coffee is a great idea, as well as the mulled wine party kit. In a similar vein, i did a dried fruit breakfast compote with whole spices and spiced tea bags last year. The idea was to soak the fruit, spices and tea in boiling water, thus making a great breakfast/brunch dish.
  14. As I am currently in the midst of planning the Christmas hampers that I make each year, I thought it would be interesting to hear fellow members ideas on what they think constitutes a fantastic hamper. Obviously, I have to balance what I would like to present in the hamper to what is feasible to make, store and package efficiently. This year I will be making up 30 hampers from scratch including sourcing the trunk/basket, packaging for all products, recipe and menu cards and the food itself. Having made everything myself in previous years, I have decided to branch out and include some artisan produce from the immediate area. Apart from the usual suspects, i.e. preserves, oils, vinegars, chocolates, pork and game pies, smoked fish, cheeses, hams, plum pudding, Christmas cake and wine/spirits, what have you all been impressed with in the hampers you have received, and if you were making up a hamper yourself, what would you include? I have my own ideas, but would be interested to read your comments.
  15. Just returned from honeymoon which included a stay at La Chevre d'Or in Eze Village. I have listed our menu below out of interest, but in no way would i recommend the restaurant to anybody. To sum up, the service was pretentious in the extreme, unfriendly, uninformative and plain rude at times. The food was over complicated, overly sweet in every course and showed no respect to the quality of the raw ingredients. The fact that the restaurant is tipped for the 3rd star beggars belief. The experience was not a patch on previous visits. The cost of the meal represented no value whatsoever and i believe they are living on past reputation. Amuse Gambas with crunchy provencal vegetables and basil The gambas still had a large amount of tract present. The vegetables were overcooked and the bouillon bland and uninspiring. Terrine of Foie Gras with chutney of strawberry and rhubarb, marmalade of wild strawberries and rhubarb, lolly pops of wild strawberries and foam of balsamic vinegar. The foie may have been superb, but it was impossible to tell due to the sweetness of the garnish. The quality of the berries had been lost also because of excess sugar and balsamic. The marmalade and chutney were too similar to warrant their presence on the plate. Shellfish and Crustaceans in a broth flavoured with almond, green butter and lemon fettucini. This was served in a bowl of about 20cm in diameter. The entire bowl was covered in almond flavoured foam which stood about 10cm high. I have never seen anything so bizarre. The almond also tasted very artificial. The shellfish and crustaceans varied from ok (langoustine) to inedible and tough (clams, razors). The green butter sauce was very salty and the lemon fettucini overcooked. Milk-fed veal fillet larded with lemon balm and liquorice; ravioli of wild mushrooms; veal juice flavoured with liquorice; veal sweetbread; jelly of liquorice and confit onions. The ravioli of mushrooms was great. The rest a mish mash of bland, uninteresting components consisting of overcooked veal with no hint of liquorice or lemon balm, sticky and sweet juice, cubes of bland jelly and an overcooked, soggy sweetbread. The whole presntation was served on 4 plates which did nothing to heighten the eating experience. Cheese The cheeses themselves were great, including Chaource, Tomme de Savoie, P.P. l'eveque and some local crottin. The service was awful with no explanations offered. Red and black fruits Iced ball of meringue with wild strawberries flavoured with lemon Blackberries with lemon yogurt sorbet Raspberry sorbet flavoured with popping lemon sugar The ball of meringue was a feat of culinary wizardry. The was served on the main dessert plate. Around this, several other plates of the blackberries, sorbet, lolly pops, tuiles and strawberries were presented. The iced ball of meringue was sufficient enough for a dessert with the rest of the dessert seeming to have no real connection. This may sound harsh, but having eating in 3 star restaurants in England and Spain either side of the Chevre d'Or, i cannot possibly see how it merits the 3rd star. In contrast and on a positive note, we went to the African Queen in Beaulieu-sur-mer the night after, and as always, the service was friendly, the food good and it represented mush better value for money. The African Queen also still has the great ambiance.
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