National Chef of the Year 2014: Russell Bateman, March 2015

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 25th March 2015

This is the latest in a series of regular blogs by head chef of Colettes at The Grove and winner of the National Chef of the Year 2014, Russell Bateman.

Wow, I’ve been crazy busy since my last blog: First of all, I had the huge honour of cooking with my old friend James Knappett at his Restaurant Kitchen Table at Bubbledogs. RB Blog 4 resized

If you don’t know Kitchen Table it’s an amazing environment to cook in. It’s a nineteen cover horseshoe-shaped bench that basically wraps around the kitchen that you’re cooking in. You are on full show, nothing is out of sight. There really is nowhere to hide. I hadn’t worked with James since the opening of Petrus at The Berkeley for Marcus Wareing way back in 2003, so it was great to be invited. James is a fantastic chef and I know how much his kitchen means to him, so to be asked to come in and showcase what I do was brilliant and very generous of him. The menu was 16 courses long (sounds a lot but that included snacks and petit fours). When I sat down with James initially to discuss the menu and how we would divide it we were going to alternate the service. First one of his dishes

James is a fantastic chef and I know how much his kitchen means to him, so to be asked to come in and showcase what I do was brilliant and very generous of him. The menu was 16 courses long (sounds a lot but that included snacks and petit fours). When I sat down with James initially to discuss the menu and how we would divide it we were going to alternate the service. First one of his dishes

First one of his dishes then one of mine. After some discussion it was decided that the menu would be entirely mine with James and his team offering support and helping out. I won’t bore you with all the details but I had a great time, the feedback from the guests & staff was hugely positive. In my opinion Kitchen Table is one of the most exciting dining experiences on offer in London. Not just because of the setting but also how welcome Sandia (James’s wife & restaurant manager) makes you feel, not to mention the wonderful food James is producing on a day to day basis. If you haven’t been, go.

Not just because of the setting but also how welcome Sandia (James’s wife & restaurant manager) makes you feel, not to mention the wonderful food James is producing on a day to day basis. If you haven’t been, go.Russell Bateman As a result of winning NCOTY I was invited by Churchill to attend their 220th Anniversary lunch at the three Michelin-starred Waterside Inn in Bray.

>>> Read more about National Chef of the Year here

I’d never been before, so when invited I was shocked and honoured in equal measure. It was an amazing opportunity, to eat at a true temple of gastronomy but also to be one of only 12 people to be invited to celebrate this eponymous occasion.

The weather was stunning; the scene was set for what can only be described as “the perfect lunch”. Flawless service, faultless cooking and fantastic company. We even got to meet Alain Roux and were looked after by the legendary Diego Masicaga.

Again, if you haven’t been go, it’s a magical place that we should all pay homage to. This month also saw the launch of NCOTY 2016 competition. The criteria are slightly different to years passed, as this year there will be a focus on set skills. It’s a positive move forward and one that I think will challenge and excite the entrants. If you’re thinking about entering my advice would be to do it. You have absolutely nothing to lose and a huge amount to gain.

How often do you get to have your food critiqued and advised by the best chefs in the country? I can’t wait to see the process begin and the kitchen fill up for the first semi-final. I wish I could do it all again in a way.

>>> Read more blogs by Russell Bateman here

Russell Bateman by John Arandhara Blackwell1

Russell Bateman is the National Chef of the Year, having won the competition at the Restaurant Show in October. He is head chef of The Grove in Hertfordshire and previously worked as head chef of The Feathers in Oxford. Russell joins a long line of great chefs to have won the prestigious award including Gordon Ramsay, David Everitt-MatthiasSimon HulstoneMark SargeantSteve LoveAlyn Williams and many more.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 25th March 2015

National Chef of the Year 2014: Russell Bateman, March 2015