The kitchens of Chef Michel Roux’s Le Gavroche in London has always been dominated by male chefs, and it was just last 2008 that the chef patron of Le Gavroche named its first female head chef, Chef Rachel Humphrey. This automatically made her, of course, as the very first lady head chef of the illustrious Le Gavroche and gave her 40 plus years of history to live up to.
Chef Humphrey, as a child, has always found cooking fascinating. She would often watch her mother and her grandmother prepare their home-cooked meals and enjoy the food preparation. At the age of eight years old, she made her very first dish, a strawberry millefeuille, and she would also often cook for Annaley, her older sister. It was when she was cooking that she finally found her true calling, to become a chef.
She took up home economics in school, and after she graduated in 1996, she sent out application letters to some of the best restaurant in the country. It was pure luck that she was accepted to become an apprentice at Le Gavroche, a two-Michelin star French restaurant, and work under the famous English-French chef, Chef Michel Roux. She was to work for two years as an apprentice.
From an apprentice, she became Le Gavroche’s first commis in the year 1998; however, the timid Chef Humphrey surprised her coworkers when she decided to leave the restaurant for a three-year stint as a chef in the catering corps of the Royal Airforce. While she was serving the RAF, she grew more confident in her culinary abilities as she created dishes worth a Michelin star and fed their troops. It was also during her time with the RAF that she earned best junior chef awards.
When her service was through, she went back to Le Gavroche, and in 2003, she was appointed as the chef de partie. Her next promotion was in 2004 when she became the sous chef of Le Gavroche. Under the tutelage and encouragement of Chef Patron Michel Roux and Head Chef Nicholas Lariden, she began creating her own culinary personality, and when Chef Lariden finally decided to leave the restaurant to open a new restaurant, it was not hard for the chef patron to appoint her as the head chef in 2008.
In an interview, Chef Humphrey admits that working in a male-dominated industry can be a bit hard, especially since the kitchen atmosphere can become quite aggressive. However, she learned that the best way to earn the respect of her colleagues is not to give them anything that they can use against her, and during her time in the kitchen of Le Gavroche, she not only earned the respect of her male colleagues but she has also earned their admiration for her culinary skill.
Her chef patron as well as mentor only has praises for her as she now becomes the head chef of his kitchen. Right now, Chef Humphrey is infusing her own culinary personality into the cuisine of Le Gavroche, making sure that they are up to the standards of this iconic restaurant.
Chef Rachel Humphrey’s Floating Islands with Rhubarb Compote
For the Rhubarb Compote:
- 500 sweet white wine, (e.g. Sauternes)
- 150 caster sugar
- 2 vanilla pods, halved lengthways
- 8 sticks rhubarb, trimmed and sliced into 4cm chunks
For the Crème Anglaise:
- 500ml milk
- 1 vanilla pod, halved lengthways
- 6 egg yolks
- 120g caster sugar
For the Meringues:
- 6 egg whites
- 340g caster sugar
- 300g caster sugar, for caramel and liquid poaching
For the Rhubarb:
- Bring the wine to the boil with the sugar and vanilla pods, add the rhubarb and partially cover with a lid. Bring to the boil and simmer until the rhubarb is soft but still holds its shapes – 3-5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the rhubarb. Remove from the heat, leave to cool, then drain in a colander, saving the juice for a refreshing cordial drink.
For the Crème Anglaise:
- Bring the milk to the boil with the vanilla pod. Remove the pan from the heat, cover and leave to infuse for 10 minutes.
- Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until thick and creamy. Bring the milk back to the boil and pour on to the yolk mixture, whisking continuously. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring continuously with a spatula, until the custard thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon. Set aside to cool.
For the Meringues:
- Beat the egg whites with a whisk until frothy, then add 340g caster sugar. Continue to whisk until firm and glossy.
- Bring a large saucepan of water with 2 tbsp of the remaining caster sugar to the boil. Using a big kitchen spoon dipped in cold water, scoop out a big island of meringue and plunge the spoon into simmering sweetened water. The island should come off the spoon and poach in this liquid. Carry on doing this until all the eggs whites are used, not forgetting to flip the islands over after 3-4 minutes to cook on both sides.
- Once cooked, gently take the islands out of the liquid with a slotted spoon. Place on a rack to cool and drain.
- Heat the remaining sugar in a heavy pan until liquid and golden. When the meringues are cold, pour the freshly made caramel over the top.
To serve: Place a large spoonful compote in each bowl, followed by some crème anglaise, and finally the caramel-coated floating islands.
Cook’s Tip: Try serving this dish in glass ice cream bowls so you can see the layers.
Image Credit: dailymail.co.uk
Popularity: 1% [?]
Currently 0 comment - But what do you think?
The head chef and owner of Masa, one of the most expensive restaurants in the world, is Chef Masa Takayama. Through his culinary skills, he has redefined what an Omakase menu is. He has shown that through the use of only the most exotic and freshest seafood and ingredients, it can be at par and even superior than some of the popular international cuisines. Many apparently agree with him as his restaurant in New York became one of the most-visited restaurants in the world, even if a meal will cost you more than $500.
Chef Takayama was born in Tochigi, Japan on the 1st of May 1954. He grew up in a family who was in the food industry. They have a fish shop where he would often spend some of his time when he was just in high school, and they also have a catering business that is being managed by his parents. Chef Takayama, although he enrolled at a university, really had no interest in becoming a businessman, so he decided to work with his brother who was an apprentice chef at one of the restaurants in Tokyo, a mere hour away from Tochigi.
His brother suggested that he try working at a sushi restaurant, and since he really did not have anything in mind, he decided to go with his brother’s suggestion. He landed a job at one of the oldest restaurants in Japan, Ginza Shushi-ko, a very illustrious restaurant that has 150 years of history. Chef Takayama started out doing manual labor. He was assigned to clean the toilets as well as wash dishes. In time, he began working in the kitchens.
If his first duties were hard, working in the kitchens was harder. In fact, he was always tempted to quit, and it was only during his third year as an apprentice that he started appreciating kitchen duties. By the fifth year, he finally understood what work and success really means, that if you want to make something out of yourself, you have to use your hands and love your profession. With eagerness to learn and determination to succeed, he trained to become a sushi chef, and the process took him eight years to perfect his craft.
Aside from being a sushi chef though, he also loved to paint landscapes, and the thought of seeing and painting the desert fascinated him. One of the diners of the restaurant found out about his passion for painting landscapes and urged him to visit the United States. Chef Takayama took the opportunity of seeing the country, and in Las Vegas, he has seen the beautiful desert.
To support himself in the United States, he worked at several restaurants before deciding to finally open his own little sushi restaurant in Los Angeles. He did not like the quality of the seafood, so he developed working relationships with Japanese seafood providers, and he would have the seafood flown in from his native country to the United States. He knew imported seafood was expensive, but he did not want to compromise the quality of his cuisine. His motto was, “if the price is expensive for your taste, then do not try my sushi restaurant.”
It was a food critic from one of the magazines in Los Angeles that first took notice of his sushi restaurant. She gave him a very good review, stating that, although the price is a bit expensive than usual, it is worth the money. Pretty soon, gourmands from all over the country began trekking in, and the demand for his cuisine was increasing that he finally had no choice but to expand and move his business. He thought of New York, where he says has no quality sushi restaurant. Selling his restaurant in LA to his sous chef, he moved to New York, opened Masa, ordered the most exotic and most expensive seafood that his money can buy, created his own distinctive cuisine, charged an expensive rate for his menus, and, with his “eat if you want, do not eat if you do not want” attitude, redefined what a sushi restaurant really is all about.
Through his culinary skill, he has earned three Michelin stars and a spot in the San Pellegrino list, among other awards and praises that he and his restaurant received.
Chef Masa Takayama’s Grapefruit Granite
- 2 cups grapefruit juice
- 1 cup Sauternes or champagne
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, optional or to taste
- 1 large grapefruit, cut into segments between the membrane, each segment cut into thirds
- 6 teaspoons Grand Marnier
- Grated zest of 1 yuzu (1 lime can be substituted)
1. Combine the grapefruit juice and Sauternes. Add the sugar to taste, stirring until dissolved. Pour the liquid into an 8-by-10-inch tray and freeze for several hours.
2. To serve, scrape or mash the frozen grapefruit with a fork and transfer to a bowl. Stir in the grapefruit segments and divide the granité into 6 individual bowls. Pour 1 teaspoon of Grand Marnier over the top of each granité, finishing with a little yuzu zest. Serve immediately.
Servings: Serves 6.
Image Credit: creativeworldnewsandinformation.blogspot.com
Popularity: 1% [?]
Currently 0 comment - But what do you think?
Just like practically every other chef, we also have our own Facebook account. It has also become my practice to befriend chefs, cooks and foodies all over the globe. Not surprisingly, I have met a lot of interesting people in Facebook. During the last couple of weeks, I have exchanged correspondences with Brad Lev, the founder of Studio Gourmet.
Studio Gourmet has certainly aroused my interest. It is definitely one of the most interesting culinary projects I have come across, so I decided to feature it – and of course it’s creator – in my blog. Below is the Q&A session I had with Brad.
What is Studio Gourmet?
Studio Gourmet was created to give audience the opportunity to hear the stories, trials and tribulations and the experiences of these new rockstars. Each individual has reached this status through paying their dues, working in the trenches and unique life experiences. They create their signature dishes because of who they are!
Studio Gourmet is your opportunity to hear these stories up close and personally, and ask questions to find out what drives them to do be best at what they do. At each Studio Gourmet event, meet and talk to your favorite local chefs in an intimate setting, and get to know them on a personal level, and enjoy unique noshes themed around each chef.
Next time you walk into their restaurant or place of business, you will know the inside story of how and why they got there and why they create the food that they do
How did it start?
Studio Gourmet was first created in Atlanta Ga! I had a business called LITKitchen which was an event/ catering business! I realized that corporate events and private events mostly occur on the weekends and towards the end of the week leaving Monday – wed free to do other things! I created Studio gourmet and a variety of other events such as swinging sushi, Tango & tappas, etc. to bring in additional revenue into the business as well as increase awareness for the business.
Studio Gourmet became a hit because it was a unique event that gave customers a chance to meet the chefs of the restaurants that they frequent on a regular basis. I heard many stories of how after a show, a guest walked into the restaurant and was able to walk up and shake hands with the Chef which made the evening even more special!
Who started it?
The concept was created and founded by me, a local Californian who decided to take a trip across country in 1996 and ended up in Atlanta for almost 15 years! During my time in Atlanta, I started a business called LITKitchen which included the build out of a 5,000 sq foot event space. Studio Gourmet was one of the unique events that I started
What inspired the idea or how did you come up with the idea?
I have been a fan on the culinary scene all of my life! I have always been a foodie at heart and in 1996 started a business called LITKitchen which stood for “Learning Innovative Techniques in the Kitchen” the idea was to host interactive culinary events, cooking classes and private dining events where the guests were able to engage with the Chef!
This whole concept was created before the Food Channel became popular and before all of the other shows such as Top Chef, etc… Over the years, the food revolution has brought new heights to the Chefs and has made them legends in their own time! The food that is created by Chefs today is not just food but works of Art with great depth of thought that goes into each menu item! Due to these new levels of Rock Star – Chefs today have followings; people know where Chefs are and where they came from.
Studio Gourmet is the perfect avenue for customers or individuals to meet up close and personal all the different Chefs, to hear their stories and experiences, to hear where they came from and to hear the inspirations for what and how they do the things they do!
How many shows does it cover?
Studio Gourmet will be once months at first, featuring one Chef per show, but later down the road, we will expand this to more shows a month as well as expand the guests to all things food!
Who are your partners?
Our main Partner is Cellar360 which is located in Ghirardelli Square. They are hosting our show in their tasting room as well as providing a lot of other great things such as food, wine and staff! They have been a big help and we are looking forward to many shows in the future! Our other partners include: Cooking for the Clueless, Fetch Personal assistance, Americas Best Coffee, Coco-Luxe, Union Street Papery, HiddenMenu.com,
What can people get out of watching these shows?
The show is very similar to the TV Show “Inside the Actors Studio” but a lot more! The show is going to be a full event starting with a cocktail reception hosted at Celler360. There will be food and wine provided by Cellar360 as well as food that will be provided by the participating restaurant! This will give the guests time to check out Cellar 360 as well as meet the chef and shake their hand!
After the cocktail reception we are going to bring them into another room where we will start the show. The interview between the Host and the Chef will be approximately 45 minutes where the Chef will be asked a variety of questions in order for the guests to really get to know the Chef and their stories! The guests will also be able to participate by asking questions themselves! At the end of the show they guests will know the inside story of who these people are and why they decided to go down the path that they did!
At the end of the show they will all receive a nice gift bag that will include a 2 DVD set from Cooking for the Clueless, gift certificates to Fetch Personal assistance, Coco-luxe, Union Street Papery, Americas Best Coffee, Whynatte and a few other surprises! So it’s a lot more then just a show, its going to be a full well rounded afternoon of fun, food, wine and the chance to meet your favourite Chefs!
How can people watch the show?
At first the Show will be a live show – however we will be video taping the entire show from the beginning to the end. Once out Team of Videographers have edited and made it look pretty we we’ll stream it on the web!
How can they avail of tickets – are there any?
We are only selling 45 tickets per show – so the good thing is that this will be a small intimate crowed – where you will be able to get the personal experience that you are looking for! You can purchase the tickets on line at studiogourmetsf.com
What is your role?
My role (Brad Lev) is Host, Founder and Creator!
What do you hope to achieve with Studio Gourmet?
The first objective of the show is to provide a unique experience for our guests that will give them an insight into the minds of the Culinary Masters and other food minded individuals!
What is your vision for Studio Gourmet?
The long term vision is to be able to create a live reality TV Show based on Studio Gourmet!
Image Credit: sundaypaper.com
Popularity: 1% [?]
Currently 0 comment - But what do you think?
Chef Richard Ekkebus is the head chef of the famous French restaurant, Amber, of The Mandarin Oriental Landmark Hotel. He is in charge of one of the best fine-dining restaurants in Hong Kong, and true to his culinary skill, Amber has two Michelin stars under its belt and has also been named by San Pellegrino as the 90th best restaurant in the globe.
Chef Ekkebus was born in Holland, and he has had a very colorful and very rewarding culinary career. He first began his career as a chef in his native homeland where he became an apprentice to some of the best restaurants of the country. He worked at Michelin-starred restaurants and got to train under some of the best chefs in the Netherlands like Chef Hans Snijders as well as Chef Robert Kranenborg. During his time in the Netherlands, he was named as the Young Chef of the Year by the very prestigious and very illustrious Golden Chef’s Hat.
This award only pushed him to do more, so he traveled to France, sought work at the finest dining hotspots of the country, and found work in the kitchens of the best chefs of France. In 1990, he worked as a pastry chef at the L’Aperge where he got to work with the famous French chef, Chef Alain Passard. The next year, he became the chef de partie of Restaurant Guy Savoy in Paris where he received training from Chef Guy Savoy himself. In 1992, he found a job as a chef in St. Etienne’s Restaurant Pierre Gagnaire, working for the famous Chef Pierre Gagnaire.
From Paris, he then traveled to Grand Bay, Mauritius in 1995 where he became the head chef of its Royal Palm Hotel. He stayed here for eight years before moving on to St. James, Barbados where he found work as the head chef of its Sandy Lane.
After his stint in the Caribbean, he then traveled to Hong Kong and became the head chef of Mandarin Oriental Landmark Hotel’s restaurant, Amber. He has been the head chef of Amber since 2005. His fresh cuisine and very innovative ideas soon gained the attention and praise of its diners, especially the food critics. He has created his own distinctive traditional French cuisine with a contemporary twist, highlighting the natural flavors of fresh produce taken from the land.
Chef Ekkebus remains loyal to what he has learned during his apprenticeship and training, that it will take superb quality and very fresh ingredients and products to create a cuisine that is unforgettable. In fact, he emphasizes the importance of fresh ingredients, stating that the quality of the cuisine should never be compromised. He also emphasizes the need for being creative in presenting the dishes. There should be a harmony between all the flavors in a dish and the different textures, and the entirety of the dish should also be represented well in the way the food is arranged on a plate.
All his efforts in creating an unforgettable French cuisine paid off when, in 2008, it received two Michelin stars and, this year, it became the 90th restaurant of the world.
Chef Richard Ekkebus’ “Grand Cru Manjari” Chocolate and Coconut Bounty
- 215 g Almond paste 50%
- 65 g Icing sugar
- 75 g Whole eggs
- 105 g Egg yolks
- 125 g Egg whites
- 65 g Granulated sugar
- 50 g T 55 (or equivalent) flour
- 25 g Valrhona Cocoa Powder
- 50 g Valrhona Cocoa Paste
- 150 g Elle & Vire Butter
Directions: Pre-heat oven to 180°C. Mix the almond paste with icing sugar and gradually beat in the egg yolks and whole eggs. Sift and beat in the cocoa powder and flour. Melt the cocoa paste and butter. Beat the egg whites with the sugar. Gradually add the cocoa/butter mixture and mix until smooth and light. Add this preparation to almond paste/icing sugar mixture. Fold in the cocoa powder and flour. Pour into a mould and bake for 5 to 7 minutes.
- 125 g Caster sugar
- 210 g Egg whites
- 125 g Icing sugar
- 125 g Grated Coconut
- 35 g Flour
Directions: Pre-heat oven to 200°C. Beat the egg whites with the sugar. Sift together the icing sugar and flour. Add the grated coconut and stir. Fold this mixture into the beaten egg whites. Spread on greaseproof paper and sprinkle with extra icing sugar before baking at 200°C for 4-5 minutes. When baked, the “success” sheets should be 5 mm thick.
Manjari Chocolate Mousse:
- 6 Eggs
- 180 g Granulated Sugar
- 75 g Water
- 3 Gelatine sheets
- 470 g Valrhona Manjari Chocolate
- 35 g Valrhona Cocoa Powder
- 95 g Softened butter
- 95 g Elle & Vire Whipping Cream, whipped
Directions: Put the egg yolks into a mixing bowl. Bring the water and sugar to a boil. Pour this syrup over the yolks and whisk. Strain the mixture trough a fine strainer and pour into a microwave-safe dish. Cook at 90°C, removing the bowl from time to time to whisk. Remove from the microwave, put the bowl into a tub of ice and whisk to cool. Pour the contents into a mixer bowl and beat at the second lowest setting for 4 to 5 minutes. Dissolve the gelatine in iced water. Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie, add the butter and cocoa powder and whisk well. Fold in the gelatine and half of the cooled egg mixture, and mix well. Gently fold in the remaining egg mixture with a spatula.
- 1/2 pkg Sanetane dried coconut
- 175 ml Coconut milk
- 35 g Granulated sugar
- 2 Gelatine sheets
- 250 g Elle & Vire Whipping Cream, whipped
- 50 g Sweetened, beaten egg whites
Directions: Beat the egg whites with the sugar until stiff. Pour the coconut milk, sugar and Sanetane in a thick-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly, then turn off the heat. Dissolve the gelatine in iced water. Remove the pan from the stove and add the dissolved gelatine to the hot coconut milk. Strain through a fine strainer into a container set in a tub of ice and cool to 35° to 30°C. Gently fold in the whipped cream and egg white mixture with a spatula.
Assembling the “Bounty”: Place a rectangular mould of about 28 cm. X 38 cm x 2 cm on greaseproof paper. Place a 5 mm thick Sacher biscuit in the bottom of the mould. Add a 5 mm thick layer of Manjari Chocolate Mousse, followed by a 5 mm thick layer of Coconut Success and finish with a 5 mm layer of Coconut Mousse. Cut into 9 cm x 3 cm “bars” and freeze. Defrost “bars” in the refrigerator and cover with the chocolate rectangles.
Plating: Place the “Bounty” on a square glass plate with a scoop of coconut ice cream on the side.
Servings: Makes 25 portions.
Image Credit: archive.prestigehk.com
Popularity: 1% [?]
Currently 0 comment - But what do you think?