Garnering Bharat - Prateek Sadhu
Autumn Alumna - Michael Innes
Five Simmer - a night of poetry and flavour
Caribbean Corridor - Jaime Rodriguez
It’s been a busy month here with special events every weekend. There’s always a sense of anticipation as we wait to welcome our chef on a Wednesday, at times, bag bursting with treasures from their own kitchen. Our guest chefs and collaborators often bring ‘hard to find’ ingredients and in Jaime Rodriguez’s case, there were 25 different components in his bag, including big ass ants. Not funny when the bag is then held up in customs and it’s a race to see whether it arrives before the first guest! Thanks to Ben’s ‘negotiation’ skills it made it and we had a fantastic night.
By coincidence November was topped and tailed by some southern hemisphere flavours, from entirely different sides of the globe. You could say that here in Scotland we are familiar with what Prateek Sadhu brought to us, a combination of Scottish ingredients and Indian flavours, yet we had never tasted Indian food like it! His dedication to aromatic flavours and meticulous ingredient preparation were a triumph. He and Jaime obviously both got the psychic memo and each chef prepared a dish featuring cod and coconut, a reminder to us how much uniqueness and overlap there are in cultural cuisines.
Sandwiched by tropical flavours, Michael Innes flipped it on its head with some straight down the line, classic French cooking. Deliciously autumnal flavours, cooked elegantly from the Celler de Can Roca repertoire. The Celler de Can Roca cookbook (published by Grub Street, October 2016) is one to stick on your Christmas list and simpler than you might think.
All 3 chefs bought a discipline to the kitchen of dishes constructed from a few components, which made service a dream, but which doesn’t equate to simple flavours. Many of the ‘components’ took hours or days to prepare, and their addition really lifted and enhanced the dish without making it feel overly complex. We’ll be experimenting with this approach ourselves over the next few weeks.
We were also inspired by the use of sweet fruits and protein in both Jaime and Prateek’s cooking, Prateek with a persimmon and chicken liver dish that we loved. Expect to see more in our cooking when we finally get our kitchen back!
All this and no mention of our, maybe controversial, poetry night, hosted by Ryan van Winkle. Prep for these nights is different, the poets send us a selection of their works and we pick one from each as inspiration for a dish. We tend to steer clear of the ones about food in preference of less obvious connections. For example, the dish the team created inspired by Jo Clifford’s poetry, an exploration of the breaking of gender boundaries. You had to be there…
At this very moment we have Brazilian chef Rafa Costa e Silva in the kitchen with us along with with sous chef Vinicius Maciel. Both are rocking the kitchen like heroes! From next week we get to run riot in the kitchen in the run up to Christmas, full of inspiration from the last few months.
All photos Edinburgh Food Studio