Three months in LA – my survival guide

Hollywood hikeTime flies when you’re having fun. Really? I’ve been in LA for three months now and while I’ve certainly had a lot of fun, I’ve also had plenty of hard moments of severe adjustment. Sure the weather here is amazing all the time and I’m not missing the grey skies of London, but there’s also a lot of different stuff I have had to get used to and not all of it makes sense. After three months in LA, here’s some of what I’ve learnt about living in this city. This is my LA survival guide.

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hidden gemA CITY OF HIDDEN GEMS
Unlike London or New York where everything is out in the open, written and blogged about, LA is a secret city. A hideous strip mall may be the site of the greatest ever Thai restaurant, a dodgy neighbourhood home to the best taco truck in town, or a weird looking shop may sell the most amazing vintage designer glasses. But unless someone tells you about it, you’ll never know. With so much time spent behind the wheel, you’ll never randomly find a hidden gem by simply walking past it so it’s essential you get to know someone who’s in the know. There’s a hell of a lot to be discovered.

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200288279-001EMBRACE THE ROAD RAGE
In London the first few moments of any gathering will invariably involve a conversation about the weather. In LA you discuss how you got there, how long it took you and how much traffic there was. Whether you like it or not, LA is built for cars and everyone drives everywhere. The problem is that people in LA drive like assholes. Inconsiderate (nobody lets anybody in, ever), reckless (people change lanes without looking in the mirror) and plain stupid (the concept of a fast lane on the freeway is so foreign here it may as well be something out of Star Wars), driving in LA can drive you mad. Traffic wardens give you a ticket the second your meter runs out. Pedestrians don’t cross like normal people but virtually crawl across the street and being stuck in traffic on the 101 will literally make you lose the will to live.
No wonder everyone here does yoga, you need something to counterbalance the road rage.

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brunchBRUNCH IS DINNER
Angelinos love nothing more than to indulge in a leisurely brunch. Indeed brunch is about as big as dinner in this city and there’s something for everyone – from healthy vegan options to badass meat feasts and $5 bottomless mimosas. My local favourite Milly’s Cafe doesn’t serve alcohol, just mimosas. If you want to pin someone down in LA, brunch is the way forward.

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Farmers market basketTHE PRODUCE IS PHENOMENAL
You’ve never tasted fresh fruit and vegetables like in California. Everything is bigger, brighter, fresher, juicier and sweeter here. It may be late November but strawberries, asparagus and tomatoes are still in season, and there’s a farmers market somewhere in LA every day of the week. Your diet will improve drastically living here and you’ll actually enjoy getting your five-a-day. But you’ll spend three times more money shopping at the market than you would at any grocery store.

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yogaEARLY TO RISE AND EARLY TO BED
A self-proclaimed night owl and lover of lie-ins, I’ve somehow managed to change my ways living in LA. This is definitely a morning city, which I can only assume is the result of the 365 days of sunshine a year. From 8am yoga sessions and early morning hikes in the mountains to a diehard love of breakfast and brunch, people in LA like to seize the day and don’t sleep late. What I’ve learned is that you can get a whole lot more done in a day getting up early but the flipside of the coin is that come nighttime, you’re too tired to do anything. People tend to eat out early – dinner starts at 5pm – and don’t even think about arriving at a LA bar after 10pm on a weeknight – everyone’s gone home.

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Wine-BottlesWINE IS EXPENSIVE
In the UK, it’s fairly easy to find a good quality wine that’s relatively inexpensive. In California, it’s impossible. Local wines are ludicrously expensive and it’s really hard to find a good bottle for anything less than $20 in the shop. Foreign wines are cheaper but gone are the days of popping into Majestic and picking up a case of very quaffable Côtes du Rhône at a bargain price.

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beer-glassesBEER IS ABUNDANT
Made using everything from cocoa nibs to sweet potatoes, California is leading a national craft beer explosion in the USA. It’s home to 12 of the nation’s 50 largest craft beer companies, according to the Brewers Association, and beer-focused restaurants, specialty beer bars and beer festivals are aplenty in LA. A case in point is my local, Mohawk Bend, which has a staggering selection of 72 different Californian craft beers on tap.

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food trucksFOOD TRUCKS ROCK
The gourmet food truck craze that has made its way across the pond, first started in LA. There are literally hundreds of trucks roaming the city’s streets, serving up anything from Korean tacos, Jewish deli sandwiches, Indian street food and $15 hamburgers. Every first Friday of the month, dozens of LA’s top food trucks gather on Abbot Kinney Blvd in Venice. It’s a brilliant way to try out lots of different cuisines and people watch.

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SugarFishETHNIC RESTAURANTS ARE WHERE IT’S AT
LA offers an ethnic restaurant community that can compete with any other metropolis in the world. And I’m not just talking about taco trucks here. There are flourishing Asian, European and Middle Eastern communities as well as a large Hispanic population, whose restaurants serve delicious and authentic food you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. You can explore just about every country’s cuisine in LA. You don’t believe me? Check out LA Magazine’s article Around LA in 80 Cuisines.

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hipstersSMART CASUAL MEANS CASUAL
Outside of Beverly Hills, the people of LA are so chilled they don’t believe in dressing up. Jeans are a uniform here, as are gym clothes. Perhaps it comes with the lifestyle, but it’s happened more than once that I’ve seen people out at the supermarket still dressed in their pyjamas. Restaurants are the same, there’s no need for high heels or dinner jackets even at fancy eateries. When in LA suit and tie do not apply.

 

Restaurant Review: Tosca Café San Francisco

New York’s Ken Friedman and April Bloomfield have moved across the country to open their first West Coast restaurant: Tosca Café in San Francisco

ToscaWhen I suggested to my San Franciscan friend that we go to Tosca Café for dinner, she wasn’t too pleased with the idea. “It’s a bar,” she said. “It’s been around forever and now it’s been turned into a soulless fancy restaurant by some out-of-towners? Bah!”

Indeed, Tosca Café has been a North Beach institution since it first opened in 1919. Located just across the road from iconic Beatnik haunts Vesuvio Café and the City Lights Bookstore, it is notorious for its celebrity clientele, with stories of the likes of Francis Ford Coppola, Hunter S. Thompson and Christopher Hitchens hanging out in its infamous backroom drinking its signature house cappuccinos.

But when last year its previous owners were served with an eviction notice following an ongoing legal dispute with its landlord, Tosca Café was faced with biting the dust forever. Until a surprise benefactor came to the rescue: Hollywood actor Sean Penn, a loyal patron, who after reading of the bar’s possible demise, called up his mate New York restaurateur Ken Friedman. Soon after Tosca Café was saved.

Friedman is, of course, the man behind the Spotted Pig in Manhattan, which he opened in 2004 together with British-born chef April Bloomfield. As the Big Apple’s first gastropub, it quickly became a roaring success, gained a Michelin star and developed into one of the city’s most celebrated restaurants. Since then, the duo has gone on to open several more ventures in New York: The John Dory Oyster Bar, the Michelin-starred Breslin, and most recently, Mexican eatery Salvation Taco.

Now Friedman and Bloomfield have made the move across the country, from the East Coast to the West Coast, with the opening of Tosca Café, which officially relaunched last month.

Tosca interiorA place steeped in such rich history, the new owners were keen to preserve as much of the original Tosca Café as possible. And they’ve done a good job. While a few things have changed – there’s a new open kitchen, a backlit wine wall behind the bar, and the backroom now functions as a full-service dining room – much has stayed the same. The original bar, barstools, linoleum tile floor and patinated walls and ceiling have remained; as have the red booths, tables and chairs, albeit now recovered with real leather and wood. What’s more, many of Tosca Café’s signature artifacts have been restored to their former glory, including the jukebox, mural paintings and its famous antique cappuccino machine.

Tosca Café doesn’t take reservations and arriving around 9pm on a Wednesday evening, the wait for a dinner table was a reasonable 30 minutes, which we spent in the crowded bar sipping on a Negroni and Suffering Bastard made from Armagnac, St. George Terroir Gin, fresh ginger, lime juice, soda and bitters ($12). “It looks the same and it’s a good cocktail,” my San Fran friend said approvingly. We were onto a good start.

North Beach is San Francisco’s answer to New York’s Little Italy and has historically been home to a large Italian American population. The menu at the new Tosca Café pays homage to this, with the open kitchen turning out non-regional Italian fare with a heavy dose of Bloomfield’s signature focus on pork.

There are things like crispy pig tails ($9) among the Antipasti, crunchy and fatty delights that require hands-on gnawing off the bone. Then there is a take on an oxtail terrine ($11) and a plate of cured meats ($22) featuring a selection of Italian hams and salami as well as Bloomfield’s in-house cured pig’s ear comprising cross-cut, thin slices of soft and tender meat.

chicken liverOur choices among the First courses were fried artichokes ($11), which came with a tonnato vinaigrette, anchovies and capers and covered in rocket leaves (arugula). But the showstopper here was the chicken liver spiedini (pictured) served on a crostini ($7). Cooked in marsala, the tender livers’ earthy richness was offset with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and a topping of salsa verde.

Second and Third courses feature highlights such as Gemelli ($16), a posh version of mac’n’cheese brought to life with black pepper and Pecorino; or grilled short-rib ($31), a big, bone-in hunk of meat accompanied by chickpea mash and gremolata.

Desserts continue the Italian theme and include the likes of cannoli of fennel seed praline ($7); and a gorgeous, light yet creamy tiramisu ($9).

Having been open for little over a month, Bloomfield still dons the whites at Tosca Café but said she’s heading back to New York later this month.

There were a few minor hiccups. Although charming, the service was at times slow and uninformed. We ordered a bottle of Pierre Moncuit Champagne ($80), which arrived warm and was poured in wine glasses as at Tosca Café they “don’t have any Champagne glasses”; and after dinner drinks took an age to be served at the bar instead of at the table.

By the time we left around midnight, the bar was heaving, proving that despite the new ownership turning it into a restaurant, Tosca Café is still a neighborhood meeting point and a place people come to drink as well as eat. It’s turned over a new leaf but retained its character and lively atmosphere and has the makings of becoming a new classic in its own right. After all, even the San Fran friend liked it.

Price: $180 for three, excluding service, including four plates, a dessert, a bottle of Champagne and after dinner drinks.
Contact: 242 Columbus Ave, San Francisco CA 94133, T: (+1) 415 986 9651

 

Alinea remains only three-star restaurant in Chicago as Michelin announces 2014 guide

Michelin Chicago 2014Michelin has released its selection of stars for its 2014 guide to Chicago.

A week after the passing of iconic Chicago chef Charlie Trotter, the famous French guide has awarded 25 restaurants in the city with stars, up from 19 last year.

While Grant Achatz’s Alinea has remained the only three-star establishment, Michelin has added two restaurants to the list of two stars: Sixteen, the dining room at the Trump International Hotel, where executive chef Thomas Lents cooks modern American cuisine; and Grace, the first restaurant in Randolph Street – a popular Chicago foodie destination – to gain recognition from Michelin having debuted with two stars after less than a year of opening. There are now four two-star restaurants in Chicago.

Among the 20 one-star eateries, five celebrated winning a star for the first time: El Idea, Elizabeth, The Lobby, North Pond, and Senza.

Here’s the full list of starred restaurants in Michelin’s 2014 Chicago guide:

THREE STARS:
Alinea

TWO STARS: 
Grace (NEW)
graham elliot
L2O
Sixteen (NEW)

ONE STAR:
Acadia
Blackbird
Boka
EL Ideas (NEW)
Elizabeth (NEW)
Everest
Goosefoot
Lobby (NEW)
Longman & Eagle
Mexique
Moto
NAHA
North Pond (NEW)
Schwa
Senza (NEW)
Sepia
Spiaggia
Takashi
Topolobampo
Tru

Video: Noma’s Rene Redzepi on his new book A Work In Progress: Notes on Food, Cooking and Creativity

Here’s a trailer for the new book by world-famous chef Rene Redzepi, A Work In Progress: Notes on Food, Cooking and Creativity.

The book (published by Phaidon priced £39.95/$59.95) is split into three different parts: a journal, recipe book and a collection of photos taken by staff at Noma in Copenhagen.

In this video Redzepi talks about the journal, which offers an insight into the chef’s life at Noma. Crowned the world’s best restaurant three times from 2010 to 2012, Redzepi reveals how its huge success hindered and restricted his creativity. “I had to do something,” he says. “I had to figure out why are there so many days that are bad when there are so many things to be happy about.

“The journal was a quest to tame our creativity and figure out where it comes from. What fucks it up and what makes it really good.”

Redzepi will be holding a number of talks as part of a month-long tour promoting the book. He will be in London on 10 November at the Almeida Theatre, before hitting the USA where he will visit New York (13 November); Washington (14 November); Chicago (17 November); Seattle (18 November); San Francisco (19 November); and last but definitely not least Los Angeles on 21 November at Williams Sonoma in Beverly Hills; and 22 November at Book Soup in West Hollywood.

See Phaidon’s website for more details.

Charlie Trotter: the food world pays tribute to a culinary icon

Charlie TrotterTributes have flooded in from across the food world following the shocking death of iconic Chicago chef Charlie Trotter.

The 54-year-old chef was found unconscious and not breathing in his home yesterday morning (5 November) and was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The exact cause of his death has not yet been established.

In a statement, his wife Rochelle Trotter said: “We are incredibly shocked and deeply saddened by the unexpected loss of Charlie at our home in Lincoln Park. He was much loved, and words can not describe how much he will be missed.

“Charlie was a trailblazer and introduced people to a new way of dining when he opened Charlie Trotter’s.  His impact upon American cuisine and the culinary world at large will always be remembered.”

Fellow US chefs and restaurateurs have taken to social media website Twitter to express their shock and sadness at Trotter’s sudden passing.

Thomas Keller of the French Laundry and Per Se said: “Charlie Trotter was a visionary; one who exemplified what a young American chef could do to influence a generation. He’ll be greatly missed.”

Grant Aschatz’s three-Michelin-starred Chicago restaurant Alinea posted: “The staff and ownership of Alinea offer their condolences to chef Trotter’s family and friends. His impact on Chicago dining will long be remembered.”

French chef Daniel Boulud tweeted: “Very sad day in the chef community #charlietrotter influence on young American chef was tremendous and inspiring. He will be missed greatly.”

Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain wrote: “Rest In Peace Charlie Trotter. A giant. A legend. Treated shabbily by a world he helped create. My thoughts go out to those who loved him.”

Danny Meyer said Trotter’s death was a “towering loss” while fellow New York restaurateur Mario Batali posted: “Holy sadness, my dear pal and comrade @charlietrotter has died. May he RIP , he will be sorely missed. #shocked”

Alice Waters, chef, author and the proprietor of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California, tweeted: “Just heard the tragic news of Charlie Trotter’s passing. The food world has lost someone truly special.”

Jean-Georges Vongerichten wrote: “So sad ! lost a great friend and an inspiration for the Art of Cooking . Chef Charlie Trotter , condolences to the family.”

Spanish chef José Andrés said: “#CharlieTrotter lets celebrate his amazing contribution to America and the world. He was a genuine person. Today heaven will eat better….”

Across the pond in the UK, chefs also paid tributes to Trotter.

Ashley Palmer-Watts, executive chef of the two-Michelin-starred Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in London, tweeted: “Rest in peace Charlie Trotter, you’ll be greatly missed in our world and thank you for your inspiration.”

Saturday Kitchen presenter, chef and restaurateur James Martin wrote: “Legend is often over used but just heard the sad news and loss of Charlie Trotter a true inspiration to many thoughts go to his family RIP.”

Jamie Oliver said on his Twitter account: “Sadly today American Culinary Legend Charlie Trotter died aged 54…I had the pleasure to eat his food…”

Andrew Fairlie, Scotland’s only two-Michelin-starred chef, wrote: “Too young, too sad.”

And Indian chef Atul Kochhar of the Michelin-starred Benares in London tweeted: “Its a big loss for Chefs world to loose a hero like Chef Trotter – we will miss him.”

charlie_trotterCharlie Trotter was the chef-owner of his eponymous restaurant in Chicago, which he closed last year after 25 years. The restaurant was world-famous for its innovative approach to American cuisine and set a standard for chefs in the USA and beyond.

Charlie Trotter’s was the first restaurant in the USA to introduce a chef’s table in the kitchen and offer wine pairings for its menu. He was the first chef to open a fine dining restaurant in Las Vegas: Charlie in the Palazzo, which gained a Michelin star in 2008 but was forced to close two years later due to the recession.

Trotter won 10 James Beard awards and trained some of the USA’s most acclaimed chefs, including three-Michelin-starred chef Grant Achatz of Chicago restaurants Alinea and Next. His restaurant won two stars in the inaugural Michelin Guide to Chicago in 2011 and in 2002 placed 11th in the S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. He wrote 14 cook books, a television series and three books that translated his philosophies of excellence into business-world instructionals.

When Trotter closed his restaurant in August last year, he announced plans to travel the world and return to college to study philosophy. The day before Charlie Trotter’s shut, Chicago city unveiled the “Honorary Charlie Trotter Way” in his honour.

Michael Caines at Gidleigh Park tops 2013 Sunday Times Food List

holly nov 08Michael Caines at Gidleigh Park in Devon has been named the best restaurant in Britain by the Sunday Times.

The two-Michelin-starred restaurant has topped the 2013 Sunday Times Food List, which ranks the best 100 restaurants in Britain. It is run by Michael Caines, one of just seven Relais & Châteaux Grands Chefs du Monde in the UK, who lost his right arm in a car accident in the 1990s but soon returned to the kitchen, his passion and drive undiminished.

Michael Caines at Gidleigh Park has reclaimed the first place in the 2013 Sunday Times Food List, having previously topped it in 2010 and come second last year. It beat last year’s winner Restaurant Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles, which is placed second this year.

The Sunday Times Food List – published in full today – ranks Britain’s top 100 restaurants by the quality of their food. It is compiled together with the Harden’s restaurant guide and based on 80,000 reports from 9,000 regular diners 2,000 of which are Sunday Times readers.

In third place is the Yorke Arms in Ramsgill-in-Nidderdale, North Yorkshire, where Frances Atkins is head chef. She is one of just a handful of female chefs to be included in the list – the second highest ranking is Angela Hartnett at Murano in London, in 46th position – while the Yorke Arms is the only Yorkshire restaurant to be featured in the top 100.

In fourth place is the two-Michelin-starred Restaurant Nathan Outlaw in Rock, Cornwall, with Restaurant Martin Wishart in Edinburgh taking fifth position as the second Scottish restaurant in the top five. In sixth place is the list’s highest re-entry, Fraiche in Oxton, Cheshire, which was last included in 2011.

le manoirRaymond Blanc’s iconic Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons (pictured) is in seventh place, while in eighth place is London’s only representative in the top 10, Brett Graham’s the Ledbury in Notting Hill. Simon Rogan’s L’Enclume in Cartmel, Cumbria, and Restaurant Sat Bains in Nottingham complete the top 10.

London is home to 51 restaurants in the Sunday Times Food List, with Edinburgh having the second most with four. However, London only has four restaurants in the top 20: Le Gavroche (15), One-o-One (16) and Pied à Terre (17). Birmingham is the next best represented English city, with three entries: Simpsons (28), Purnell’s (56) and Lasan (91), while only one Manchester restaurant makes the top 100: Simon Rogan’s the French (68).

All but one restaurant in the top 20 (One-o-One) are Michelin-starred, with seven of the top 10 restaurants holding two stars.

In terms of different cuisines, 26 of the restaurants in the 2013 Sunday Times Food List serve French food, down from 30 in 2012, while modern British cooking now accounts for 39 of the restaurants, compared to 34 last year. The third most popular cuisine is Japanese, with nine restaurants, the highest ranked of which is the Shiori in London (30).

TomSellersThere are 20 new entries to the list this year, including Story in Bermondsey, whose 26-year-old head chef Tom Sellers (pictured) is one of the youngest in the top 100. There are also 10 re-entries, including the Latymer at Pennyhill Park in Surrey (26), and Read’s in Faversham, Kent (41).

Editor of the Sunday Times Food List, Karen Robinson, said: “The Food List is essential reading for food lovers. It’s a fantastic achievement for chefs to make it into our top 100, because our scores are based on the opinions of thousands of diners, mostly spending their own money. This makes the Food List an unbiased and definitive guide to the finest restaurants in the country.”

The Top 20 restaurants in the 2013 Sunday Times Food List:

1. Michael Caines at Gidleigh Park, Devon
2. Restaurant Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles, Perthshire
3. The Yorke Arms, Yorkshire
4. Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, Cornwall
5. Restaurant Martin Wishart, Edinburgh
6. Fraiche, Cheshire
7. Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, Oxfordshire
8. The Ledbury, London
9. L’Enclume, Cumbria
10. Restaurant Sat Bains with Rooms, Nottingham
11. The Kitchin, Edinburgh
12. The Fat Duck, Berkshire
13. Mr Underhill’s, Shropshire
14. The Waterside Inn, Berkshire
15. Le Gavroche, London
16. One-o-One, London
17. Pied à Terre, London
18. Midsummer House, Cambridge
19. Drake’s, Surrey
20. Hambleton Hall, Midlands

The full Sunday Times Food List is also available online.

Beneath the Whites – Pascal Aussignac

Pascal AussignacFrench chef Pascal Aussignac is the chef-patron and co-owner of the Gascon Connection group of restaurants, which comprises seven outlets in London, including the flagship Michelin-starred Club Gascon in Smithfield, as well as the recently opened Chip + Fish at Trinity Kitchen in Leeds. Earlier this year, he was named Restaurant Chef of the Year by the Craft Guild of Chefs, while Club Gascon won the Test of Time award, for the most consistently excellent restaurant of the decade, in the 2013 Tatler Restaurant Awards

What’s your earliest food memory?
Cooking crêpes with mummy when I was four.

What’s your favourite smell?
Pine trees – it immediately feels like summer!

What’s your favourite cookbook?
Ma Cuisine by Alain Dutournier. It is a genuine book dedicated to the world of Gascony and it is a reference of what I do here in the UK.

Who’s had the biggest influence on your cooking?
Ferran Adrià by far. I went to elBulli in 1999, a year after opening Club Gascon. The experience was out of this world and after 24 courses when I left the restaurant, I was emotionally shocked by what I had had, which was an act of poetry with cleverness and fun. I wanted to stop this job after that because I felt I was so far away from him and it took me few months to recover. The legacy of elBulli is global and has influenced and shaken up the world of gastronomy.

Have you ever kicked someone out of your restaurant?
Yes, someone from the industry who tried to copy us too much.

When are you happiest?
When I wake up.

What makes you sad?
The amount of garbage per day in the bins in general makes me angry and sad about the system.

What do you most dislike about yourself?
I’m too impatient.

What would your superpower be?
Invisibility.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Cats – I love them if I could I would have many… At the moment, I only have three.

What’s the most disgusting or weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? Would you eat it again?
Rice pudding and Weetabix. Never, ever again.

How do you like your eggs in the morning?
Definitely scrambled.

Who would you most like to be stuck in a lift with?
With the Dalai Lama. I believe he would help me to put things into perspective.

Where did you have your best meal this year?
At Quay in Sydney. Earlier this year I was invited as a guest chef on the judging panel at Taste of Sydney. On the last night of my trip, I had dinner at Quay and it was fantastic – the cooking was faultless, great techniques and a magnificent view.

If there was one restaurant you wish you’d opened, which would it be?
Colbert in Sloane Square. It’s in a prime location and to me creating an instant classic restaurant like Colbert, which is full every day, is really amazing. In 10 years’ time, I might not be here anymore but I bet Colbert will be.

If you could travel in time, where would you go?
To 1990 when I lived in Bora Bora. Paradise does truly exist.

Follow Pascal on Twitter @lechefpaski

2014 Roux Scholarship opens for entries

Roux Scholarship 2013Britain’s most prestigious professional cookery competition, the Roux Scholarship, is now open for entries.

The contest, run by the Roux family, is open to chefs aged between 22 and 30, who are in full-time employment in the UK.

Chefs wishing to take part in the competition have until midnight on 27 January 2014 to submit a recipe for saddle of venison ‘fallow buck’, served plated and accompanied by two garnishes, one of which must include Jerusalem artichoke, as well as a sauce.

Commenting on the recipe, Michel Roux Jr said: “You have to be a talented and experienced chef to get the best out of venison, I am looking forward to tasting some classic and some not so classic combinations to go with this beautiful meat.”

The Roux family will be joined on the judging panel by a line up of top chefs including the inaugural Roux Scholar Andrew Fairlie, Saturday Kitchen host James Martin, Angela Hartnett, David Nicholls, Gary Rhodes and Brian Turner.

The judges will select the best 18 recipes and invite the entrants to cook them at regional finals held in Birmingham and London on 20 March 2014. Six chefs will then go through to the final, which will take place in London on 14 April, with the winner announced at an awards ceremony at the Mandarin Oriental hotel on the same day.

Established in 1984, the Roux Scholarship has celebrated and nourished young cooking talent in the UK for more than three decades, with former winners including Michelin-starred chefs Sat Bains, Simon Hulstone and Steve Drake.

The winner receives a host of prizes, including a three-month fully paid stage at a three-Michelin-starred restaurant anywhere in the world.

Full details of the competition and the entry process are available on the Roux Scholarship website.