Once upon a time if you were invited to dinner at a fish market in the United Kingdom you would probably think you had done something wrong. Even Minister of State for Agriculture and Food David Heath retold the Walter Page line, “The English have only three vegetables and two of them are cabbage.
For the more than 600 finely dressed ladies and gentleman at Old Billingsgate, once the world’s largest fish market, it was a celebration of world’s top chefs and the U.K.’s arrival in the Premier League of the culinary world.
The third edition of “Diner des Grands Chefs” was held in the British Capital with purpose. In total 46 of the top Relais & Chateaux chefs from around the world came together to cook in groups of three for each individual table.
After its 2011 launch in Paris to celebrate UNESCO declaring French cuisine “World Intangible Heritage” and a visit to New York last year, host Relais & Chateaux Board Chairman Jaume Tapies claimed the evening to “celebrate extraordinary changes in British gastronomy.” Amid the clinks of champagne flutes and clanks of knives and forks well over $200,000 was raised to support Action Against Hunger, a charity assisting over seven million people in over 40 countries.
The event was synergistic with the recent release of the Elite Traveler/Laurent Perrier Top 100 Restaurants in the World. Some 25 Relais & Chateaux maestros made it on to the list and London scored an impressive show for its restaurants making the Elite Traveler list the buzz of the chefs and the local crowd.
For those who like to eat vicariously, Helene Darroze led with Tandoori Spiced Blue Lobster served with carrots, a confit of citrus mousseline, a spring onion reduction, Lampong pepper and fresh coriander.
Next up was Scallops Gratine served with morels, asparagus cream and garlic flower from Annie Feolde & Riccardo Monco. Margot Janse’s Biltong Cured Beef Filet served with wild greens, sorghum and African sour fig brought the evening to a peak, and a selection of English Cheeses then White Chocolate Mousseux & Yorkshire Rhubard concluded the feasting.
Perhaps soon the answer to the question, “What’s for dinner” will mean a trip Great Britain.