THE GAME-BRITISH & SCOTTISH CHEFS: BRETT GRAHAM
The Brits have been preparing for some time the after Gordon Ramsay and 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. I discovered Chefs with a very modern style, who are mastering the techniques as well as the French roots, Claude Bosi being one of them. Brett Graham on the other hand combines terroir, flavors and creativity a very nice surprise! As a counterbalance to London, I will present you a great chef of Edinburgh in Scotland, Martin Wishart. He has a strong French influences that works wonders with the best products of the land and sea.
Brett Graham began his cooking career at aged 15, in Newcastle, Australia. He then moved to Sydney and for three years worked at the highly acclaimed Banc restaurant. In the same time, he won the Josephine Pignolet Award. Later on, he moved to England, where he worked for three years at The Square owned by Nigel Platts- Martin and Phillip Howard. Eventually, when the time was right he opened The Ledbury.
You will not see Brett Graham on TV or in the Food & Wine Magazine (not yet!) but uncommon in our world, all reviews about The Ledbury are unanimous: his cuisine is extraordinary and the chef Graham is one of the most talented chefs in England. His respect for the products of The Game, the use of modern technology and his understanding of flavors makes him a very creative chef. It has been a great discovery for me, we definitively will have to keep an eye on the chef Brett Graham in the world of gastronomy!
Q+A WITH BRETT GRAHAM (www.theledbury.com ):
1-(Scoffier) How do you explain the philosophy behind your cuisine and what is it main characteristics?
BGraham- The main characteristics of my cuisine are Seasonality, Wild Game and some interesting Ingredients.
2-(Scoffier) Do you have a particular foods (or products) that you often use in your recipes?
BGraham- We usually have a different species of deer on the menu all year round.
3-(Scoffier) Do you have a mentor (chefs or anybody else) that inspires you in your cuisine?
BGraham- I get inspiration from eating out. Particularly restaurants like Arpège, Noma and also Quay have been very inspiring.
4-(Scoffier) What do you eat when you are at home?
BGraham- Simple, seasonally based One Pot Wonders
5-(Scoffier) I know that the chef Pascal Barbot (L’Astrance) take a lot of time choosing and picking his produces at the market. Do you spend as much of time to choose and pick your produces?
BGraham- We are open Lunch and Dinner 7 days a week so going to the markets every day would be a challenge. I talk to my suppliers daily and I have a great relationship with them all. I also enjoy hunting and I bring a lot of it back to the Restaurant.
6-(Scoffier) Why the game is important for you and it is just for a special game tasting menu or anytime?
BGraham- I really appreciate Game and it’s uniqueness in this country. We will sometimes do a Game Tasting menu which changes depending on the game available.
7-(Scoffier) Do you use some elements from molecular gastronomy or from new technology in cooking techniques? If yes, which?
BGraham- We use some modern techniques like using Xantham gum to thicken some juices and dressings. There are certain meats which benefit from Waterbath cooking, but the term molecular doesn’t really apply here.
8-(Scoffier) I have read and seen the photos of your menu, it is beautiful! Can you explain for me and the readers these photos?
BGraham- The first dish is a Beetroot Meringue made from a recipe given to me by *Mark Best (www.marquerestaurant.com.au ). We serve it with either Foie Gras or Goats Cheese.
-Following is the Celeriac, which is baked in Hay Ash and served with Hazelnuts, Wild Boar Kromeski and Wood Sorrel.
9-(Scoffier) Can you give us a detailed recipe (Signature dish) that is characterized the cuisine of Brett Graham and The Ledbury?
BGraham- See recipe of Mackerel
10-(Scoffier) What is your goal (ambitions) as a chef or for the restaurant? Do you think about write a book, a television show, other restaurant?
BGraham- My goal is to take The Ledbury as far as I can. I have no plans for a book, television show or another restaurant. I am involved in a small pub in Fulham called The Harwood Arms. The Chef, Stephen Williams, is so talented, it takes very little of my time and I am 100% focused here.
RECIPE: Flame-Grilled Mackerel With Smoked Eel and Shiso (Serves 4)
NOTE: Thanks very much at Madalene of the excellent website The British Larder (www.britishlarder.co.uk ) for the photo and the transcript.
INGREDIENTS & PROGRESSION RECIPE
Shiso Vinegar Vinaigrette
-100 ml soy sauce
-100 ml mirin
-375 ml shiso vinegar
-500 ml rapeseed oil
-1 head of garlic
1. In a medium size saucepan gently heat the soy sauce, mirin and shiso vinegar over low heat.
2. Cut the head of garlic in half and add the garlic to the warm infusion.
3. Remove the infusion from the heat and set aside for 2 hours to infuse.
4. Pass the infusion through a fine sieve, add the rapeseed oil and whisk vigorously to emulsify.
-4 fresh Cornish mackerel fillets
-2 tbs plain flour
-Freshly cracked pepper and course sea salt
-Shiso vinegar vinaigrette
1. Remove the pin bones and scales form the mackerel, and wash the mackerel under cold running water. Drain the fillets on kitchen paper.
2. Mix the flour, salt and pepper.
3. Ensure that the mackerel is dry, lightly season the mackerel fillets with the seasoned flour.
4. Heat a non-stick frying pan with sunflower oil, place the mackerel fillets ( skin side down) into the hot oil, increase the heat and gently cook the mackerel until the skin becomes crispy.
5. Remove the mackerel from the pan and place the fillets( skin side down) onto a wire rack.
6. Gently cook the mackerel( skin side down) over open flame, until the skin starts to blister.
7. Place the mackerel fillets in a small tray, baste the mackerel with the shiso vinegar dressing until the mackerel starts to become translucent.
8. Set aside to infuse while dressing the plate.
Cucumber transparent sheets
-1L cucumber juice
-12 g agar agar powder
1. Mix the cucumber juice and agar agar powder.
2. Heat the emulsion in a medium sauce pan, bring to the boil.
3. As soon as the mixture starts to boil, remove from the heat and pour on to a flat clean tray to the thickness required.
4. Let the sheets set, do not move or cover with clingfilm as any movement at this stage will prevent the sheets from setting.
Smoked Eel and Cucumber rolls
-120 g smoked eel
-2 tbs crispy fried shallots
-1 tbs crème fraîche
-2 tsp chopped chives
-2 tsp freshly grated horseradish
-1 tbs milk
-Salt and pepper
-4 cucumber transparent sheets
1. In a medium bowl mix the Crème fraîche and milk.
2. Fold in the chives, horseradish, drained crispy fried shallots and seasoning to taste.
3. Remove the skin and remaining bones from the eel and flake.
4. Fold the flaked eel in to the crème fraîche mixture.
5. Cut the cucumber transparent sheets in to 4 even size squares, spoon 50 g of the smoked eel mix on to each square and gently roll them up in to cigar shapes.
Assembling the dish
-4 smoked eel and cucumber rolls
-4 flame grilled mackerel fillets in shiso vinegar vinaigrette
-4 tbs small diced cucumber
-4 tbs Jerusalem artichoke puree
-4 tsp crispy croutons cooked in olive oil
- 1tsp ground nori
-1 tbs seaweed mustard
-Selection of washed and trimmed mixed cress including shiso and coriander cress
1. Start each plate by arranging the mixed cress in a cordon on the outside, with the crispy croutons, ground noiri and diced cucumber.
2. Draw a line of the seaweed mustard down the centre of the plate.
3. Spoon the Jerusalem artichoke puree on one side of the plate, add more diced cucumber and place the mackerel fillet on top of the puree. Place the smoked eel and cucumber roll on the opposite side of the mackerel.
4. Finish the dish with a drizzle of the shiso vinegar vinaigrette.
-The Ledbury/Chef Brett Graham
127 Ledbury Road, Notting Hill
London (UK), W11 2AQ
-Reviews & Articles:
1. National Restaurant Awards 2010, Restaurant of the Year 2010, http://www.nationalrestaurantawards.co.uk/
2. The British Larder, December 2009, http://www.britishlarder.co.uk/lunch-by-brett-graham-the-ledbury/
3. Wall Street Journal, From Game to Flame, 23 October 2009, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125625251484302507.html
4. The Telegraph, Easter Game Feast, 24 March 2010, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/7511511/Easter-game-feast-at-The-Ledbury.html
5. Wall Street Journal, Top 10 Young Chefs in Europe, November 9, 2010, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703514904575601792825186982.html?mod=googlenews_wsj
1. About the Australian cuisine, BlackTomatoTravel, November 2009, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCByjqN_irg
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