The Staff Canteen Live 2020 at HRC, Day 1

The Staff Canteen

 Today we took The Staff Canteen Live to HRC at ExCel in London - and we took a band of trailblazing chefs with us. 

Roux Scholar and Hide chef Martin Carabott were first to take to the stage with his mentor, industry legend Michel Roux Jr., the two Michelin-starred chef owner of Le Gavroche

They cooked a Yorkshire Duck dish inspired by Martin's time at Eleven Madison Park, served with salt baked beetroot, lavender and apple.

His dish, Martin said, was an ode to the great things he has been lucky enough to experience in his career so far, from working at Eleven Madison Park, to winning the Roux Scholarship and finally being on stage with Michel Roux Jr. today. 

"Hopefully this dish reflects that and hopefully it's a similar style, but it's my cooking and my journey." 

Second to take the stage were Gareth Bartram and Matt Bell of Winteringham Fields, cooking a dish of butter poached turbot, turnip served with black garlic and kale and explaining how techniques like fermentation have found their place on the typically British menu at Winteringham Fields.

Chef patron of Michelin-starred Devon restaurant The Elephant Simon Hulstone then joined to cook a Te Mana lamb rump, served with a merguez sausage, red and white quinoa, caramelised lamb sweetbreads, pecans, whipped ricotta and wild garlic salsa verde (recipe here).

Simon Hulstone's Te Mana Lamb rump, spiced merguez sausage,
whipped ricotta, spiced red chicory, quinoa, wild garlic salsa verde

Replacing chef Tim Allen, who was sadly caught ill, was award-winning celebrity chef James Tanner, who came up with his turbot, butter spinach, sea vegetables and champagne butter sauce dish on a spare of the moment, delivering an excellent demonstration of improvisation. 

The last chefs to join us was the legendary founder of The Social Company, Jason Atherton, and his protege, Paul Walsh, formerly of City Social and now head chef at The Betterment.  

The chefs treated the crowd to two dishes: Jason prepared a raw, hand-dived orkney scallop in dashi and ponzu with pear jam, black olive, with pickled daikon and a jalepeno granita, sea purslane and fennel on the menu at Pollen Street Social.

Meanwhile, Paul made a warm dish from The Betterment, consisting of pan-fried scallops, served with a cep puree, morels braised in garlic, thyme, white wine and stock, topped with grated parmesan.

As this event this year is all about teams, mentors and mentored getting up on stage together, we asked the chef why he chose Paul Walsh to accompany him. 

"Me and Paul, how we met many many years ago, Paul was working in another restaurant, he was going through tough times and he was desperate to win a Michelin star of his own, he was running multiple restaurants with not much chance of that so I took him on.

"We invented City Social together, we won a Michelin star together after six months, it really turned his life around because he was a business partner in the business at that time and his kids go to a beautiful private school, they live in a beautiful home, and he's a Michelin star chef and that's from the duration of mentorship - how great is that." 

Jason Atherton's raw Orkney scallop with pear puree, pickled dashi and jalepeno granita

All the chefs on stage had the assistance of a student from Milton Keynes College, our TSC Live partners, and ingredients, tools and equipment were supplied by our sponsors - Westlands, Major International, Rational, Hoshizaki, Santa Maria, Meiko, EauVation, Global Knives, Alliance (Te Mana Lamb), Diversey/Zenith and Pommery - as were the goodie bags given to the chefs to thank them for taking part. 

A time to show off their skills, the chefs appearance on stage was also an occasion for them to talk about issues affecting the industry - like the loss of butchery skills, waste reduction in the kitchen, whether or not local produce is always better, why foraging has seen a resurgence on British menus - and to share inspirational stories of how they got to the level they are at today.

Each of the chefs' appearance on stage was followed by a Q&A, when audience members were invited to question the chefs on stage, from practical cooking tips to their thoughts on the importance of apprenticeships, how to progress in a role within a kitchen and how to get a Michelin star.  

Over the course of three days, guests will be given the chance to enter a raffle, with a chance to win a 12-piece set of Global knives worth £1695 RRP. The winner will be picked on Thursday and their raffle ticket number shared across our social media to collect their prize. 

Overall, audience members and sponsors lauded the event a success.

Jason Atherton said: "What's great about events like The Staff Canteen Live is that you get to interact with people on the same wavelength and also help people out, give people advice, recipes, whatever they take from it, it means a lot to me." 

Michel Roux Jr. said: "This is a great format, to be able to see the audience up close - and it's great to see a lot of young chefs here as well, to be able to inspire them to achieve their goals and their dreams." 

"It's great because you feel as though you're part of the industry."

Martin Carabott's Honey glazed duck with lavender and Cheltenham beetroot

 Junior chef at The Strand Hotel in Limerick said he thoroughly enjoyed the cooking demonstrations he saw by Michel Roux Jr., Martin Carabott and Simon Hulstone. 

"Everyone cooks, that's how I think of it. That's how I fell in love with cooking, living by myself, I started cooking then I ended up doing a course and I just fell in love with it." 

"Watching people like this is really inspirational - not just for me but for people that don't even cook or work as a chef, watching how simple that was and how really nice it looked. It was amazing." 

Santa Maria UK sales manager said the kind of custom the company gets from taking part in events like TSC live was unparalleled.

"We work with Simon a lot - and being here is a chance for us to educate people and get the word out. I love the fact that The Staff Canteen works with Milton Keynes College and getting young people involved so I think they've done a good job." 

"People are really visual so it's really important to show them - it's fine putting rub or a spice bottle in front of them but getting someone to show them how to use it." 

"People like to touch and feel and taste and that's what brings people in - the senses are really important for us." 

Tomorrow will be another day of fun, we will be joined by chefs Tom Kerridge, Jamie May, Tom De Keyser, Sally Abé, Calum Franklin, Nokuthula Mbambo, Adam Handling, Jamie Park, and mixologist Myles Cunliffe for another series of demonstrations. 

Follow this link to register for a free ticket to HRC.



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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 3rd March 2020

The Staff Canteen Live 2020 at HRC, Day 1