VIDEO: Richard Neat on returning to Pied à Terre after 20 years

The  Staff Canteen

 

Twenty five years ago, Richard Neat and David Moore opened Pied à Terre and  its success surpassed their expectations.

So it seems fitting that the pair should come back together to celebrate this miles stone. Inevitably as the restaurant evolved so did they and twenty years ago Richard left Pied à Terre but this week, he is back in the kitchen and The Staff Canteen filmed exclusively at Pied à Terre as Richard and David explained why.

credit: express.co.uk

Richard Neat has worked with many amazing chefs including Raymond Blanc, Marco Pierre White and Joel Robuchon. And thanks to his ‘meticulous nature’ his name has also become iconic within the industry. Pied à Terre gained two stars within five years, but Richard left soon after the second star to establish the Longchamp restaurant at the Taj Mahal hotel in New Delhi.

In 1999 he returned to Europe to set up the Neat restaurants in Cannes and London, both of which closed unexpectedly in 2002. Richard took on Casa Lalla, a restaurant with rooms in Marrakech, in 2004, and since 2006 has been the head chef of the Park Café in San Jose, Costa Rica.

“It’s one of the nicest places I’ve ever lived and I have the best clientele there,” explained Richard.

It was David Moore, current owner of Pied à Terre who prompted the nostalgic week of cuisine, inviting Richard back to cook at the one off event to celebrate the anniversary of the initial opening.

Richard said: “I was cooking at a dinner for a friend at his hotel on the south coast of France just because sometimes I’m nostalgic for the produce in Europe. David came down and attended the evening and we were talking about Pied à Terre and he said ‘did you know it’s been 25 years?’

“He had a plan for a celebration and he invited me back for a week. I’m really very grateful he has given me the opportunity to come back and see a lot of great people who I’m fond of and use all of this really great produce.”

The pair opened Pied à Terre with little help, just a passion to run a successful restaurant, together, in the heart of London.

“I believe this was one of the formative periods of our lives,” said Richard. “I’m sure David feels the same. We spent five years together, we launched this restaurant, we were a couple of kids and it was really, really hard. We were making it up as we went along! We had some tutelage, and people helping us but it was us who had to make the mistakes and learn to recover from those – it was a really exciting time.”

David has continued to own and run Pied à Terre along with other projects including sister restaurant L’Autre Pied, and he was keen to celebrate the success of his first born with the man who helped create the foundation which continues to make Pied à Terre successful in London’s saturated restaurant trade.

He said: “It’s fantastic having Richard here, it really is amazing! He has a reputation which goes before him as a man who is meticulous about what he does and how he does things. He’s an old fashioned chef with classic technique, and the chefs in the kitchen are really excited about working with him.”

He added: “The water baths and the pacojet have been put into storage, the vacuum pack has not been used and Richard is just using old fashioned cooking techniques.”

Richard has created two tasting menus for his week-long comeback which means when dining there are two different dishes for each course.

David explained: “Customers have been a bit of a mix, we’ve had a lot of regulars returning and I had a customer say to me yesterday ‘I just thought it would be a blast from the past, I didn’t realise the food would be so amazing.

“This is the food which got Pied à Terre two stars in Michelin in 1996 and it has been really well received. The thing about Richard’s food is it was way before its time. His ideas, the textures, the way he uses hot and cold together, the flavour combinations – he was a man before his time.”

 

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Richard is cooking alongside Pied à Terre’s current executive head chef Andy Mcfadden, who moved across from his role at L’Autre Pied, last year.

“Andy and Richard are like chalk and chees,” said David. “They are both brilliant chefs and they work brilliantly together because of that. Andy is so organised, to do an event like this for a week with a chef who has come half way around the planet, you need someone who is absolutely meticulous in the detail.

“He is thrilled to be working with Richard, for him, Richard is one of these iconic chefs and somebody whose food he never ate. Now he is cooking this food – it will interesting to see if the legacy of Richard’s week here will be a legacy to the food here at Pied à Terre and whether it will continue to inform.”

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 10th September 2016

VIDEO: Richard Neat on returning to Pied à Terre after 20 years