This is the first in what will be a new category of posts called ‘Out & About’. The aim of these posts is to bring events that I’ve visited, to you the readers. First up is a cookery demonstration given by Chris Horridge at 10in8’s Dartmouth outpost, Angelique. 10in8 is a collection of award winning restaurants brought together by Alan Murchison, they include L’Ortolan (Berkshire), Paris House (Bedfordshire), La Becasse (Shropshire) & Angelique (Devon). The group also encompasses other assets to make it a complete package. There is the Fine Dining Academy, essentially a cookery school headed up by Mr Horridge but other chefs from within the group also teach. Les Caveaux is also part of 10in8 group, which covers the expansive subject of wine & spirits and is more front of house orientated.
I have followed Mr Horridge on Twitter now for some time and his tweets differ from nearly all the other chefs I follow. They are nutritionally educational, for example;
This is why I jumped at the chance to go to one of his cookery demonstrations during Dartmouth Food Festival .
For the £15 per person what do you get? Besides the welcoming coffee & cookies, you get a very intimate cookery lesson from an engaging chef. When I say intimate, there was about 15 people present for the two hour demonstration of three simple but quality dishes from the professional kitchen that could be recreated domestically. After the brief potted history about himself, Mr Horridge then gave an outline of the dishes he’d be preparing,all this while the Angelique staff went about their daily breakfast service & lunch prep.
In true chef style Mr Horridge was going to have a few things on the go at the same time, which although it confused a couple of ladies sat at the very front, the rest of us could easily keep pace. So to the dishes prepared for us,
- Scallops, pea puree, curry oil & pea shoots
- Tempura of oysters with orange zest puree
- Salmon fishcake, cured fennel and lime dressing
First up was the curry oil and with what was going to become a recurring theme during the morning, the educational part. Mr Horridge explained that the addition of extra turmeric & black pepper to the oil, can boost the cancer beating properties by 2000% . This was what I was here for, these nuggets of information are what chefs should be looking for, rather than trying to emulate the seriously talented amongst them.
The dishes prepared by Mr Horridge were easily accessible by even the most competent of home cooks, but it was the demonstration of how to approach the simplest of dishes with a renewed vigour. The salmon fishcake recipe was inspiring and on reflection made so much sense. Why cook all the ingredients separately, combine, breadcrumb & re-cook? All it means is that the fish will over cook, & nobody will thank you for that, added to the fact that the so-called healthy properties of fish, such as the essential oils and vitamins, will be destroyed.
The mainstay piece of equipment that Mr Horridge used was a commercial ‘all singing & dancing’ liquidiser. It did his steamed potatoes for the fishcakes, his pea puree, the rice flour for the tempura & I dare say played some part in his orange zest puree. But when asked about it he replied candidly,
I’m not really here to promote that particular machine…
and would promptly tell you an alternative method in which the same results could be achieved without the £700 unit. This attitude of accessibility makes Mr Horridge more endearing to the amateur cook, but 10in8 have taken this a step further.
If you enrol & complete one of their cookery courses you are given a card with an email address on it which is linked directly to Mr Horridge’s iPhone. The aim? To make the professional information more accessible and to add value to their cookery courses. Even more impressive is the fact that he will personally answer your query within 24 hours, although he suggested a much faster turn around.
During the course of the two hour class Mr Horridge was able to fit in a wealth of information, from how to open scallops & oysters, why he uses vodka in his tempura batter and frozen peas for puree, to his fishcake technique and different frying methods.
After the two hours were up I was fortunate to grab a few words with Chris, and as usual the topic of a book came up. He denied at this point that it was something he was considering, but did say that he may be in residence at a restaurant in the near future. This has to be a good thing for those of us unlucky enough not to try his food at either Bath Priory or Cliveden. We chatted with the limited time available on various subjects ranging from the Michelin Guide 2012 to foraging and many subjects in between.
So my words of advice, sign up for restaurant newsletters as every now and then you have a head start on the crowd, to go to a gem of an event as this.
I wish Mr Horridge & the 10in8 group all the success for the future & look forward to their future endeavours.