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Food politics #breakfastmeansbreakfast

 

Make your choices carefully.

Whoever thought food, politics and chefs would go together?!?

Chef.co.uk did! Follow our hashtag #breakfastmeansbreakfast and express your Brexit opinion by posting YOUR favourite breakfast – either

A) a photo of a full English for leave or

B) a photo of any other breakfast for remain

and tag it to our account at Instagram.com/chefcouk. #chefcouk

Just like Chef Luc Daguzan in Yorkshire, who recently created a Brexit platter at his establishment Le Bistro Des Amis in Skipton.

The platter champions a mix of European and British flavours and is a single finger to our now inevitable escape from Europe.

Drum roll please….. Introducing the ‘Brexit Reunited’ which features:

  • Luc’s very own Boudin Blanc made in-house and sourced from France
  • Traditional English black pudding from local supplier Drake & Macefield Butchers, Skipton
  • Welsh rarebit on Italian focaccia
  • Champ mash (Irish potatoes)

Sounds more like a six nation’s rugby fixture to me! England, Ireland, Wales and France.

Mr Daguzan said: “Whatever your take on Brexit, it’s an imaginative dish with a difference. We did consider throwing in Brussels sprouts, but opted out, as there’s already more than enough to go at – and we don’t expect too many leavers!”

Think you can challenge Mr Daguzan’s overtly remain dish? The ball’s in your court…….

 

 

5 tips to digitally marketing yourself as a chef

 
Trade those rolling pings for social media accounts

Trade those rolling pings for social media accounts

As you may already know if you are reading this online, the days of meeting a bloke in a pub who then gets you your dream job based on you saying you’re a great chef, may be drawing to a close.

Like it or not we’ve all got to start jumping through new media hoops to get anywhere.

Online presence and online profiles are extremely important – you should all have Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts and perhaps a web site – here’s how to make them work.

1) Take great photos

We are all too lazy to read these days, so photos are of the upmost importance. Post photos on all your sites and make sure they are good quality and interesting photos. To make it clear that you are a chef and not a robot; take photos of you, your work environment and your leisure time; as well as your food.

You want your followers to understand you as a personality – a character – as well as a chef. They want to live vicariously through you.

2) Have great hooks

Hooks are what I call things that draw the audience in, and make them want to read on. It’s like fishing.

Generally I split hooks up into 3 categories: a) humour b) visual beauty and c) poignancy.

  1. Humour always works as people enjoy the ease of interacting with a humorous post. Ha ha.
  2. Similarly for beauty- say a beautiful tarte tartin or something – it’s incredibly easy to engage and want more of these kind of posts.
  3. Finally the other hook is the opposite, something a bit more quizzical, a bit more philosophical that will make the reader stop and think and ask themselves some questions – this also makes them want more from you

3) Try and stick with a theme

Be a certain type of chef and appeal to a certain type of audience. What kind of chef are you? If you are just a chef- who is going to come to you for specific advice and information? People are incredibly varied. Some people like fish. Some people like vegetables. Some people like cooking exclusively with yak’s milk.

If you represent a niche, you can tap into a niche that believe-you-me most definitely exists somewhere within the vastness of the internet.

It doesn’t have to be super specific if you don’t have one, so don’t panic.

It just has to be something additional to chef. Say chef and pastry enthusiast or chef and seafood connoisseur: something that strictly defines your identity and your angle.

4) Link up with other chefs

Stealing other people’s followers is great. If you do a small project with a chef mate of yours and link it all up on social media channels you have just exposed yourself to all their followers. And so the ball rolls.

 5) Link up with organisations

Hopefully at this point after having done all of the above the organisations and blood sucking advertisers will have come for you, wanting your fan base.

But if they haven’t, go to them and say “hey these people are all following me. Give me your product and I will help get it attention.”

This will turn your online efforts into tangible profit and can be a nice extra bonus to your wage that can help pay for your family and home – and yes even a little beer money!

 

Simple stuff really. Just got to do it.

 

It’s APPening: Chefs serving C21st

 
Hurry up with my salad!

Hurry with the salad!

What isn’t ordered from the palm of your hand these days?

Anyone living in metropolitan areas will be all too familiar with the Deliveroo bicycle. But what does this mean for chefs and the cheffing game?

The journey from kitchen to mouth is a problem: “Some foods, like soup or pizza survive well, but others less so,” according to Peter Backman, managing director of food consultancy firm Horizons. Typically it is 15 minutes on a bike, where the food gets shaken around and loses temperature.”

To adapt to this issue, many chefs will only serve takeaway dishes that can last the pilgrimage.

Ever wondered why it’s nigh on impossible to get a salad delivered to your door? The poor leaves will sweat under the pressure and just won’t make it.

But if we as chefs are going to have to accommodate this new trend (and Wagamama’s sales went up by nine percent after recently joining Deliveroo) then there should be better ways to transport food.

Supper London is thinking the same thing and provide temperature controlled delivery boxes that are tailored for the type of food being delivered.

This is a great idea.

For me, while the ways of ordering and eating food change, I hope that we as chefs can continue to maintain the same standards of food and freedom of menus.

Comment on this story or write to us at news@chef.co.uk

 

Oafish neighbour is not a chef. Or is he?

 
When pigs walk

When pigs walk

Watch out! In the topsy turvy, “disruptive,” 21st century, a new app called Trybe is suggesting that all of us are chefs! Yes, all of us!

Finnish duo Leo Wuoristo and Ilkka Sako designed the app for home cooks. Trybe links them up with the paying public via the medium of the cellphone.

That’s right. You know your next door neighbour -yes the one who never takes the rubbish out and who watches T.V. really loud till 2am- he is in fact a Trybe chef.

Okay I’ll admit that it’s good for people to be able to earn a living from home, especially when many have been systemically excluded from the job market, but isn’t being a chef all about quality and technique and will Trybe provide this?

If everyone’s a chef then no one is a chef and what’s the difference between a restaurant and someone’s house?

Burnt pizza, over-salted everything, wet salad, raw meat and poor ingredients- that’s what.

For me quality is the major issue.

If Trybe can overcome this – by assuring that the quality is good and that the word chef is still synonymous with a higher level of cooking – then perhaps pigs fly and perhaps my next door neighbour makes the best boeuf bourguignon in town.

Perhaps.

www.trybe.com for more information

 

Women in the kitchen: must female chefs suffer?

 
50's cook in kitchen

Hope things have moved on a bit, eh?

It’s odd how women have historically been confined to the house and the kitchen, and yet the professional kitchen is a male dominated industry.

Think about celebrity chefs for example. The majority are male and those who aren’t are considered more as house-wives filling some spare time, rather than serious industry leaders (sorry, Nigella).

Delia Smith and Nigella are filmed in what is supposed to look like their houses, while the likes of Gordon Ramsey and Marco Pierre White are filmed inside a bustling working kitchen.

When a woman cooks it is a hobby and when a man cooks it is a career – this seems unfair.

These stereotypes overlap into our profession as chefs, meaning that only 19% of chefs working in the hotel & restaurant sector are female.

According to surveys women in the kitchen earn 28% less than men on average, making the sector much worse than the national average pay gap of 18%

Life is harder as a female chef, and although we’ve come a long way over the past 100 years, there’s still a way to go.

So what should we do about it?

While some of the movements require a high level of activism, there are everyday things that we as chefs can do to show our support.

  • Recognise that inequality is an issue. As a man I realise and actively think about how the path from sous-chef to head chef is a lot harder for a woman. By recognising the issue we can seek to overcome its normalisation in society.
  • Try and judge colleagues on their skill set rather than gender. It’s true that we treat the opposite sex in a slightly different manner than we do our own. Make sure that this manner is not in reality a prejudice or discrimination.

And don’t forget to have hope! Female chefs are starting to be recognised as real industry leaders and pioneers.

Ana Ros was recently awarded the world’s best female chef 2017 for her work at the Hisa Franko restaurant in Kobarid, Slovenia.

More locally in London we spoke to chef proprietor Sam Clark who co-runs the restaurants Morito and Moro with her husband.

Sam Clark showing us how it's done

Sam Clark showing us how it’s done

Sam’s story is one of hard work but also how she was lucky enough to bypass gender issues by working in the right place.

Before the Mor’s Sam worked in Hammersmith at the River Café, which was run by the brilliant due Ruth Rogers and the late Rose Gray.

Run by two women, the River Café was always a fair place to work.

“I then opened my own place with my husband and as the owner I had respect and authority in the restaurant,” she continued.

“Moving forward to when Moro opened we employ a good balance of males and females.”

“Sometimes I feel we need to employ more blokes!”

“In reality, it varies from restaurant to restaurant, some are old school and it still goes on.”

Sam tells a story of when her and her head chef Marianna Leivaditaki went abroad to an industry conference, and were met with rudeness and immaturity from the other all-male teams.

Still, she wasn’t phased.

“It has been improving and thankfully more and more female chefs are at the helm.”

Another cause to celebrate is the Woman Chefs and Restaurateurs organisation (WCR) in America.

Kind of like a female chef union, you can go to the WCR to receive support and services.

In their own words: “WCR advances the careers of women across the culinary industry through education, promotion, connection and inspiration”.

As of yet, there is no such association in the U.K. and perhaps there should be!

One thing’s for sure; the kitchen is not a woman’s world, but neither should it be a man’s.

 

Culinary school costs too much? Talk to Samantha Mumba

 
Aspiring chefs gather in the kitchen for a lesson

And then finally with extreme care place the fish on the bread. The fish finger sandwich!

Appearing recently on Celebrity MasterChef Ireland, singer and actress Samantha Mumba (appearing most recently on ITV’s Dancing on Ice) revealed how she always wanted to be a chef, but couldn’t afford it and had to enter showbiz instead

Sound familiar?

Like any job, you can make it in the business by starting at your local- and pot-washing your way up – but it’s undeniable that formal chef education helps. With more jobs in the UK than there are chefs, you can easily get a job in a kitchen, but if you are after a good job, the industry is moving towards formal education as a prerequisite.

Gordon Ramsay may have started out as a football player until he cursedly fell into catering, describing it as an “a complete accident”, but most of us have to work hard to get into the industry.

The Chef Academy of London offers a 325 hour professional chef course for five grand while the University of West London charges £9,250 for their BA (Hons) Food & Professional Cookery.

Most aspiring chefs simply don’t have that kind of money.

At it’s most ridiculous, Le Cordon Bleu charges a whopping £33, 995 for a nine month diploma course.

That works out at about £190 a day!

We can only hope that prices go down and we don’t all have to end up singing and dancing like Samantha Mumba!

 

Are we responsible for the health of our customers?

 
a healthy display of fruit

One, Two, Three, Four, Five. Every day.

Health is top of the menu these days. Do you feel responsible for the health impacts of the food you serve? Comment below.

We have come a long way from the post-war era of spam and dried eggs. The boom in ready-meals… fast-food… produce pumped full of chemicals… and now, a push for all things organic and fresh – food consumption and production has changed with the times. And we need to understand our customers demands – as well as the call of our own conscience.

As health awareness has risen steadily over the years, the latest phase is about all things green and nourishing.

Now you would assume that most chefs endorse this movement as many of the more complex, sophisticated recipes involve fresh ingredients and delicate balances.

If cooking is like art, serving up chicken and chips is not going to be a chefs Mona Lisa.

However many chefs will have to go where the money is, and may end up making dishes that aren’t particularly healthy.

What we at chef.couk want to know is a) do you like what you serve and b) do you feel responsible for the health of your clients?

Regardless of ingredients or menu, portion size is the first port of call when it comes to health.

Tripple stacked bacon burger with chips and mayo

Burger and chips, a classic if not eaten every day

Boston Magazine ran a feature on this very subject. They asked three chefs (Tim Cushman, Marcos Sanchez and Jeremy Sewall) this question: do you feel there’s any obligation on the part of restaurants at all, in terms of health?

In general the answer was no.

Tim Cushman: “If somebody wants to eat what they want to eat, that’s their decision. That’s an individual choice. I do pay attention to nutrition; I’m fascinated by it. I also think when somebody eats, it’s not an endgame once they get it in their mouth – it’s going to go all through your system, and I don’t want people to get indigestion because that’s still a continuance of the experience of the restaurant.”

Marcos Sanchez: “If we were feeding them on a consistent basis, then maybe yes. I just like cooking great food and I love to see people enjoy it. That makes me happy.”

Jeremy Sewall: “No, absolutely not. There is no obligation. If your goal is to be a health-food restaurant then that’s your obligation, but that’s not my responsibility. My responsibility is to offer a well-rounded dining experience – interesting, creative food that I feel is an expression of the restaurant itself, but counting calories is not my job.”

It seems opinions are mixed and whether or not the health of your customers is a priority depends to a large degree on what kind of establishment you a running, how you personally think about your role as a chef, and what pressures are being placed on you from management.

In my opinion, if our main responsibility as chefs is to provide good meals, and inspire people with these meals, then health should always be a top consideration.

But that’s just me.

What do you think your role is in terms of healthy eating?

A survey found that while 76% of chefs thought that they served “regular portions”, the actual portion sizes were 2 to 4 times larger than serving sizes recommended by the U.S Government.

Interestingly, the chefs admitted that large portions are bad for health but opinions were mixed regarding whether it is the customer’s responsibility to eat an appropriate amount when served a large portion of food.

 

How one chef rediscovered Custard

 
Bird's custard in measurement jug

Just can’t beat it

Stephen Harris hated custard. With a passion. The owner-chef of the Sportsman gastropub in Kent which recently won the National Restaurant Award 2016, has now undergone a transformation.

In his own words: “When I was a boy, it seemed that everybody loved custard and I was the only one who couldn’t stand it. I couldn’t get past the gloopy texture and luminous yellow colour. I preferred the vague, gentle sweetness of cream as well as the temperature contrast that cold cream gave to, say, steamed sponges. As the jug was passed around the dining table I would hear it whispered: “Stephen doesn’t like custard.” I felt out of step with the world.”

Determined to put the world to rights, Stephen decided to find out why exactly why he didn’t like custard- there had to be an explanation.

In fact, custard as most of us know it – the stuff that goes on spotted dick – is not actually custard at all. It’s actually a powdered sugar and cornflour that was made in the 1840’s by Alfred Bird who wanted to provide an egg-free custard for his wife.

To make matters worse Alfred Bird was a chemist who then added food colouring to the mix in order to make it vaguely resemble egg yolk and custard.

It seems Stephen had a point. Science and food rarely mix well.

He continues: “Proper custard, which I love, is very different: it is made with a base of eggs and sugar, mixed thoroughly before warm cream (and sometimes milk) is poured over. The mix is then heated at the same time as being stirred – this is the key. The stirring means that as the egg proteins heat up they do not clump together to make scrambled egg. The egg proteins start to coagulate at 65C and you take the temperature as high as you want the mix to be thick: a custard taken to 75C will be pourable, whereas one taken to 85C will set like a crème brûlée when it cools down.

“Learning how to make custard is an important skill for a cook as it is the basis of so many recipes: custard, crème brûlée, ice cream, crème patisserie, crème caramel, trifle, quiche and even soufflés.”

Although traditional chemist custard as I think it should be coined holds a special place in our hearts, maybe it’s time we all changed to the ‘proper’ stuff.

Good job Stephen.

 

F. Cooke: London’s oldest Pie and Mash shop

 
JOE COOKE

Joseph Cooke, is a cook. who cooks same traditional recipe  every day  

Joseph Cooke is the fourth generation to carry on the family business — owner of F. Cooke, London’s oldest pie and mash shop.

Based in Hoxton Street for 29 years,  it is a window on London’s history founded by his great-grandfather in 1862.

You can see his video on our UKChefs Youtube channel.
“I came to the business from school. It’s all have ever done. I carry on with the food we produce,” he explained. “It’s a very famous and it’s the most traditional food in this part of London, in this part of the world. It’s extremely important,” said Cooke.

Beef or vegetarian pies, mash potatoes and liquor (never gravy) — the recipe hasn’t changed for four generations. The pies are still made to the original recipe. The goal is to keep intact the tradition. Indeed, the parsley sauce is the most important ingredient. Predominant in the dish, it’s in this case a sauce made from eels boiled. “I have no idea why my great grandfather decided to put the parsley sauce with the meat pie, which is normally a fish sauce. Maybe he was drunk… who knows. But thank god it worked,” added the pie maker.

This traditional recipe of Pie & Mash was invented by is great grandfather.

Every single day, Cooke made more than one hundred pies. A lot of regulars come into the shop thanks to the word of mouth only. F. Cooke became a veritable institution in the East End of London and it doesn’t need to prove itself anymore. Ingredients represent all the recipe and Joe Cooke make a point of honour into finding the perfect products. “We produce everything from scratch, from the bottom up, from the flour… and we have fresh beef every week. I bought it myself,” said Cooke. This way, there can be no mistakes.

Check out the youtube video

 

England team chef Tim De’ath at Euro 2016

 

The England chef Tim De’ath

Amazingly, the England football team have their own chef.

The England chef Tim De’ath supervises all local chefs at the team hotel and starts cooking before meals as late as possible with gluten-free produce in preference. Pre-match meals are about three hours before the games and players have their own habits and quirks. For example, the footballer Peter Shilton insisted on rice pudding on match days and John Terry would always have a steak cut in half and pan fried, well done with no blood…

For Euro 2000, they had brought cans of baked beans. Even if they are well welcomed in France, they will take cereals, various tea and English mustard anyway.

Dubbed « Dr Death,» Tim De’ath put the players on a special diet. His goal is to combat the effects of altitude and try to give them the edge over their rivals.

Trained in London, the chef worked in restaurants, on the QE2 and catered for musicians in pop videos. He also worked on comedies and started cooking for West Ham, more than a decade ago. His Italian-based style was recommended to England team by footballer Gianfranco Zola.

Tim De’ath will ensure Roy Hodgson’s men never go hungry during the competition this month in France. Even if players are subjects to a strict moderation of taster portions of 60 grams.

The England squad gets five meals a day, at specific times. Breakfast is from 8am to 9.30am, lunch from 1pm and dinner at 7.30pm. After morning training, they can eat fruit and proteins snake and late afternoon nibble on a protein-based snack.

White meats are only eaten at lunch and red in the evening because they take longer to digest. Cakes, Snacks and tartlet are available to them.

«If players aren’t happy with something on the menu they will tell me,» he said. «You don’t buy a £40 million racehorse and feed it hays — you want the best quality food you can get,» explained Death.

Players enjoy joking with him. Once, he woke up sweating and hot on a plane. A prank by the squad who put him under 40 duvets — apparently making him think he had gone to heaven.

The England chef Tim De’ath’s Euro 2016 wish to teach Raheem Sterling how to make rice pudding. The footballer is a particular fan and he’s often asking if it’s on the menu that day or how to make it when sees the chef throughout the season. «I want to teach Sterling how to cook a rice pudding at some point. That is my goal,» Death says.

Raheem Sterling is a big fan of rice pudding.

Raheem Sterling is a big fan of rice pudding.