If you’ve ever been inside a restaurant’s kitchen during a busy service, you’ve probably witnessed what may look like a chaotic scene of people scrambling to get orders ready and cooks flying around in an effort to plate up their food as quickly as possible so that impatient customers don’t have to wait too long for their starters.
What potentially looks like chaos is in fact a carefully orchestrated dance, where everyone knows their role and if you’re not part of our industry, you could easily miss the fact that quality restaurants such as ours have mastered the fine art of teamwork down to the finest detail. “Dream work is teamwork”…and it is never more apparent than in a busy kitchen.
The challenge for a chef and restaurateur is not only to attract young, energetic, talented and focused cooks but also to identify those who want to work as a cohesive unit and are aligned with the chef’s or restaurant’s philosophy.
There are no tasks more important than identifying, selecting, training and building a team of kitchen workers ready to win as a collective unit and in the heat of the kitchen, many a lifelong friendship is forged.
There’s an unspoken understanding and respect between cooks that transcends the job.
Although professional kitchens demand teamwork, cooking at home demands something much more important…love.
It’s often been said that cooking is an act of love and it might just be the single most tangible demonstration of love we can offer for our families and friends in the form of nourishment and sustenance.
But like many busy people, when I’m cooking for friends and family I don’t have hours to spend on complicated recipes. I want things to be much more relaxed and my philosophy on food and cooking at home can be captured in three plain words; simple, fresh, Mediterranean.
Above all, I want it to be the type of food that draws people together, sitting around a table sharing food and conversation. I believe this is one of the biggest pleasures in life.
Chocolate and olive oil truffle with flor de sal and a red-pepper raspberry
For the Truffle:
- 300ml cream
- 400ml milk
- 350g dark bitter chocolate
- 150g milk chocolate
- 200ml virgin olive oil
- 20ml grand Marnier
- Flor de sal to garnish
- 275g roasted red
- pepper, peeled and de-seeded
- 300g pureed
- 10ml raspberry vinegar
- 5 gelatine leaves
- 75ml sugar syrup
- A couple of drops of raspberry vinegar
1 Soften the gelatine in a little cold water. Bring the sugar syrup to the boil. Squeeze the gelatine dry and add to the sugar syrup.
2 Remove from the heat and whisk until the gelatine has dissolved.
3 Add the red pepper, raspberry puree and vinegar. Puree, pass through a fine sieve.
4 Pour into a plastic container and set in the fridge for at least 6 hours.
For the olive oil truffle:
1 Bring the cream, milk and grand Marnier to the boil and remove from the heat.
2 Break up or chop the chocolate and add to the warm cream.
3 When the chocolate has dissolved, add the olive oil and mix well.
4 Pour into a plastic container and leave in the fridge to set overnight.
1 Cut the red pepper and raspberry jelly into small squares.
2 Place a spoonful of truffle mixture in the centre of the plates, sprinkle with a little flor de sal and add
3 squares of red pepper-raspberry jelly and some fresh raspberries