Thursday, 1 May 2008

One Perfect Ingredient launch - April 2008

‘One Perfect Ingredient’ launched two weeks ago at an extravagant party that we hosted at The Berkeley with our publishers Dorling Kindersley; it was fabulous to have such support from family, friends and acquaintances. The Ballroom at The Berkeley was a stunning setting and thank you Alan at Metzendorff for the wonderful Bollinger champagne! Have a look at a few of the photos; Marcus with Mary Clare and Monika of DK; Jane and Marcus ;book signing

As part of the promotions organised by Alex at DK, I have been invited to cook on the daily TV show ‘This Morning’, twice; each time appearing with my old friend and adversary Angela Hartnett.

The cooking was in the form of a competition, the winner chosen by guests on the show; I am relieved to say I won on both occasions, she would never have let me live it down if not! First week I cooked a simple but tasty lamb and mushroom focaccia and the second week cooked the ultimate vegetarian brunch – not my usual style of cooking but fun none the less.

I will be on Saturday Kitchen on 3rd May – my son is not too impressed as I will miss his football for the second week in a row, last week it was Radio 5live, and to make it worse he scored! I shall be cooking lamb hotpot a recipe from the book, I wonder if I can improve my time on the omelette challenge this week.

I recently attended a charity event hosted by Atul Kochhar at Benares in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity; it was fascinating to learn about the various projects that are underway to make the lives of the sick children and their families a little easier. Thankfully it is not something I have experienced personally but perhaps I can do something in the future to benefit the children.

Pétrus continues to be busy despite the many rumours of the economic downturn in the UK. We regularly change our menus to make use of the seasonal items; just started to use English asparagus and morel mushrooms again, summer is here!

Friday, 11 April 2008

Latest update - and a new book!

My second book ‘One Perfect Ingredient’ came out last week; I am very pleased with it and so far have heard excellent comments including a review in the May edition of The Good Food Magazine (more reviews to follow!).

I have just spent a couple of days in Manchester at The Northern Restaurant and Bar Show; a trade show for chefs and managers in the catering/hospitality industry. The show has been running for a few years now and I think I have been there for the last four. This year I demonstrated a couple of dishes and signed books. I am from Southport so it is a great opportunity to catch up with fellow northerners including my college lecturers, family and colleagues.

This year I demonstrated the prawn bisque recipe from the book but also took it a step further and used the bisque as a sauce to accompany a beautiful fish dish. At the show, many people asked me about using sustainable fish in the restaurant – well this dish is ideal, as the sea trout is farmed, easily accessible and very like salmon. Once you have made a bisque using the recipe in the book, try this;

To serve 4
4 pieces sea trout (approximately 100g each), skinned and pinboned
2 heads baby gem lettuce, washed, trimmed and leaves separated
2 large carrots, peeled and diced into small cubes
2 small sticks (or 1 large, 50g) RJ's licorice (or other soft eating licorice), diced into small cubes
1/4 small bunch chopped herbs (chervil, chives or parsley)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 knobs butter
Prawn Bisque from One Perfect Ingredient

Begin by blanching the carrots in boiling, salted water until just firm to the bite.
Cool under running water then strain and set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium sized non stick frypan over a moderate to high heat.
Season each piece of trout, top and bottom, and place into the hot pan. Turn the heat down a little and allow the trout to colour slightly on one side.
Carefully turn each piece over then remove the pan from the heat and allow the trout to finish cooking from the residual heat in the pan.
Place a medium sized frying pan on the heat with the remaining tablespoon of oil.
When hot quickly cook the baby gem until just wilted, season and place in the centre of each serving plate.
Place that pan back on the heat and add the butter and the carrots.
Season, then add the licorice and cook until hot. Mix in the herbs then spoon around the baby gem in each serving plate.
Place a piece of sea trout on top of the baby gem then gently pour over the hot Prawn Bisque, recipe found in One perfect Ingredient (buzzed with a stick blender if you have one). Serve immediately.

Whenever I visit Manchester I try and stay at The Lowry Hotel and I was delighted when they won the award for best hotel at The Northern Restaurant Awards, linked to the show and held at The Lowry! Also good to see one of my suppliers win a lifetime achievement award – well done Reg!

There are a few other things coming up in relation to the book; a serialisation in Stella Magazine, the Sunday Telegraph glossy, some potential TV appearances on This Morning with Angela Hartnett on 18th April, Borders TV on 21st April and Saturday Kitchen with James Martin on 3rd May and various radio interviews.

Friday, 14 March 2008

Cooking a recipe from my new book

This is a carrot cake recipe from my new book, One Perfect Ingredient, available now.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

March news

So, the Michelin guide results came out in January – no big surpises but delighted that Pétrus retained its second star. Well done team!

I have a busy couple of months ahead: my second book ‘One Perfect Ingredient’ hits the shelves in less than four weeks. I am really pleased with the book - it’s very different to the last one in looks and food although it still contains lots of tried and tested recipes. Fewer photos of the kids this time in fact just one tiny one that we could not resist!

On April 4th I will be at The Ideal Home Show demonstrating some dishes and then signing copies of the new book on the Waterstone’s stand.

The following week, 7th and 8th April I will be at The Northern Restaurant and Bar Show in Manchester. It has become a bit of a regular trip home for me, catching up with colleagues and even my lecturers from my college days. Again I shall demonstrate a few dishes and then sign books. On the evening of 7th April I’m looking forward to attending the Northern Hospitality Awards, it’s great that chefs from the North are recognised for their talents and achievements, which can sometimes be overshadowed by the London restaurants.

Last week I took part in the judging of the 2008 Masterchef competition. I joined a group of fellow chefs to taste the dishes prepared by the competitors at The Dorchester with Aiden Byrne.

I really enjoyed catching up with fellow chefs, to find out how business is for them, where they have eaten, who to watch at the moment etc. but, in addition, I was pleasantly surprised to taste some excellent food prepared by the three cooks Jonny, Emily and James. The dishes themselves were out of this world and obviously down to Aiden Byrne but the execution was pretty good.

I have already filmed Celebrity Masterchef - a competitor joined me in the kitchen at Pétrus for a day, which should be interesting viewing although I am not exactly sure when it airs!

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Happy New Year!

Looking back, 2007 was a good year. My first sole book was published in the spring by DK selling more than we could have hoped for. Over the summer we finished my second book titled One Perfect Ingredient which is due to be published this spring.

I have to agree the timing of the photos was not great, my wife was expecting our third baby in July and the only dates available for the team were right over the due date! Jessie arrived safely on the last day and fitted in perfectly!

It is almost a year to the day that we gained our second Michelin star at Pétrus – something that the team and I dreamed about for a long time. When the call finally came it really was hard to believe but the best possible timing.

I wonder who will be in the headlines this year, who will lose stars? Who will gain stars? The chef world has been buzzing for a while with rumours but of course no one really knows until that press release comes out – it’s the best kept secret in catering! Whatever happens, I hope there are lots more stars around – it can only be good for this country and its culinary reputation. My predictions? I think I will keep them to myself!

I continue to be amazed at how busy Pétrus is, even in January, a traditionally quiet month when everyone completes their tax returns and thinks about the pennies and how much they spent at Christmas. We are still busy, which is great to see.

We have received some pretty good reviews recently too: Tatler, Hardens etc but something that means a lot was the Top Table award for Most Highly Rated London Restaurant. This award is based on feedback from customers – the people who really count.

At home it seems I have been usurped from my position of head cook, as my eldest son Jake, aged six, received a wonderful cookery book (‘Easy Peasy Cooking’) and a new apron for Christmas and is slowly working his way through the recipes. I suppose I should be grateful of the break!! My other son Archie, aged three, is also showing signs of enjoying cooking – he made a pasta salad at nursery and ate the lot!


Monday, 11 June 2007

Marcus Wareing

The man behind the nation's favourite tart, Marcus Wareing: Winner Great British Menu, Best Dessert, protégé of Gordon Ramsey, and one of Britain's most acclaimed young chefs, Marcus is chef patron at the refurbished Savoy Grill and Pétrus. Marcus lives in London.