THE GAME-BRITISH & SCOTTISH CHEFS: OLLIE DABBOUS
The Brits have been preparing for some time the after Marco Pierre White cuisine. Not that there is a british style but we can certainly say that the emerging chefs are pro-locavore and that they are sourcing the best products of the island of Albion. In the very cosmopolitan London, the influences of young chefs are many, which give them a unique culinary personality.
Just open the restaurant Dabbous (with the mixologist Oskar Kinberg) has already received several accolades. It was written in the sky that this young chef with an impressive career would one day open his own restaurant.
Indeed, after starting with Raymond Blanc (Manoir aux Quat’Saisons) and worked with Claude Bosi (Hibiscus), Ollie Dabbous has done stints with influential chefs: Andoni Aduriz, Pascal Barbot, Heston Blumenthal, Wylie Dufresne, Pierre Gagnaire, René Redzepi. Before eventually becoming Head chef of Texture.
This is at Texture that has developed and refined a unique cuisine, pure, natural, elegant based on an undeniable sense of creativity. There are a lot of light and the research of flavors in her cuisine, just to see a dish now recognized as Fig Leaf Ice Cream or the recipe below Celeriac with Moscatel Grapes, Burnet, and Toasted Hazelnuts.
Despite a desire to be casual and unpretentious, he hides in Dabbous a great chef!
Q+A WITH OLLIE DABBOUS (www.dabbous.co.uk ):
1-(Scoffier) How do you explain the philosophy behind your cuisine and what is it main characteristics? What is the concept behind Dabbous?
ODabbous- Simply to make the food taste as good as it possibly can, in the most restrained and natural way.
The restaurant and bar were always intended to be mutually conducive to a fun night out as opposed to just a meal out. We hope to offer stripped-down fine-dining, devoid of any pretension or ceremony, served in atmospheric surroundings by a friendly and enthusiastic front of house team. Nothing more, nothing less.
2-(Scoffier) Do you have a flavour or taste from your childhood that is again memorable?
ODabbous- Feels like a long time ago now! I’ve always loved bananas and custard.
3-(Scoffier) Do you have a particular foods (or products) that you often use in your recipes?
ODabbous- Perilla, camomile, lemon verbena, acorn syrup, fig leaves, sea vegetables, virgin rapeseed oil, various teas, fennel pollen, grains and cereals, smoked butter.
4-(Scoffier) Do you have a mentor (chefs or anybody else) that inspires your cuisine?
ODabbous- Inspiration comes simply from the ingredients, then pursuing how to make them taste as good as they possibly can. Sometimes that takes a lot of work, sometimes very little.
5-(Scoffier) You have developed a unique signature at Texture and the restaurant has earned many accolades. What differentiates the cuisine of Dabbous to that of Texture?
ODabbous- Firstly, Texture is 100% Aggi’s creation, and I’m not taking any of the credit for what he and Xavier have achieved. That is their signature, though I hope I was of some help setting up the restaurant and laying the foundations of what is now a thriving establishment. I’m delighted to see them doing so well after what were initially hard times. They should both be very proud.
The cooking at Dabbous and Texture is very different, though we share many fundamental priorities: such as sourcing, clarity of flavour, lightness and seasonality.
6-(Scoffier) How do you develop your recipes for your Tasting menu? What are your source(s) of inspiration (Nature, team…)?
ODabbous- There are various ratios that always work for salt/fat/acid/sugar/starch, whatever you are making, which form the building blocks foéér my recipes. Then just persistent refinement and improvement until you are happy enough for the dish to leave the kitchen. I’ll never serve anything I haven’t eaten. Then should anyone not like it, that is their prerogative.
7-(Scoffier) Question of chef…. I look at your menu and I saw Beef tartar with Cigar oil, Whiskey & Rye. Everything is about balance, but (I am curious) how do you create your cigar oil and you balance it all?
ODabbous- This dish came from a desire to create a slower-building, earthier warmth than black pepper or horseradish give a tartar. We combine whisky, honey, virgin rapeseed oil and toasted cigar to create a seasoning that is at once nutty, smokey and earthy, with a warmth and spiciness from the whisky and cigar. The dish sounds bombastic but is actually far more subtle than it reads.
8-(Scoffier) Can you give us a detailed recipe (Signature dish or other) that is characterized the cuisine of Ollie Dabbous?
ODabbous- Recipe: Celeriac with Moscatel Grapes, Burnet, and Toasted Hazelnuts
9-(Scoffier) What are your goals (ambitions) as chef and for your restaurant? Do you think about write a book, a television show, others?
ODabbous- To have a steady team both front of house and in the kitchen that enjoy what they do and are proud to work there. You are only as good as the people you employ, and a working environment based on pride, not fear, underpins that. I’m lucky to have the team in place that I do; I just want to improve the working hours for everyone as it is overwhelming right now. That is my most immediate goal.
I don’t care for awards or accolades: as long as the customers have a good time and I am happy with the food I serve, then that is enough. This job is too hard to do forever. I’ll do this for a while then disappear and set up another business doing something completely different, though most likely design-based.
1. Dress the celeriac sheets very lightly with salt, lemon and olive oil, then divide between 4 bowls, along with the grapes and hazelnuts. These elements must all be room temperature.
2. Top with burnet leaves, and pour in the chilled celeriac juice (ice cold).