Author Archive

- 16 Apr 2012

2012 Opening Ceremony…What sustainable dish will I be cooking on the special Friday?

With all the planning that has gone into deliveries, road closures and making sure my chefs can get to work, the actual details of what we are going to cook has been put, if you will excuse the pun, on the back burner.
With the opening ceremony being on a Friday (27th July) together with our involvement in the Olympic food pledge, it seems only natural to be cooking with fish on that day.
Chef's Sustainable Fish Recipe I have had to dip my toe into the murky waters and shifting sands of fish sustainability.  Buying sustainable fish is something that takes some time and effort. It is not quite as black and white as people believe, and it’s a good idea to talk to your suppliers and keep an eye on official websites.
So, having checked the availability of Coley and organic Salmon, for the opening ceremony we are making ‘Scrumpy cider, leek, Salmon and Coley casserole with Yukon Gold potato crust’.
Here is the recipe:

• Thoroughly wash your potatoes and boil them whole with the skin on until they are about ¾ cooked, then remove them from the heat.
• Prepare your fish by removing all the bones and if you prefer, the skin. Cut into approx 3cm dice but don’t discard any off cuts as they can go into the mix as well.
• In a hot pan with a little oil and butter, seal the fish but don’t cook it all the way through.  Remove from the pan into an oven proof dish.
• In the same pan add a little more butter and cook some roughly cut English leeks and chopped onion until they begin to soften then add to the fish.
• Still using the fish and leek pan, put it back on the heat and pour in a good glug of cider and boil it rapidly until it has reduced by half. 
• Add enough organic double cream to be able to cover the fish and bring it to the boil.  Season it with salt, pepper and cayenne then pour it over the fish.  Mix in some fresh chopped herb to your taste.
• Take your potatoes and slice them whole in approx 1cm slices.  (Don’t worry if the slices break or crumble). Cover the fish with the potato slices and brush with melted butter before putting into an oven at approx 180°C until the potatoes have turned golden brown.

This really is a quick, tasty and easy dish to make and can be adapted to your personal taste.  I like lots of leeks in mine, a squeeze of lemon juice and possibly the addition of some wild mushrooms?  It can be served either on its own, with some additional vegetables or even a side salad.

You have 100 days to plan your own menu for that day.  Make it a great fish one, sustainable of course!

Keep an eye on our Facebook page as I’ll aim to post some videos and photos in the run up to the big day.

- 12 Apr 2012

What do I love and hate about bowl food?

Hello again and thank you for coming back to read my second attempt at blogging.

Those of you who are regulars here at One Great George Street may have noticed that we have an additional section in this years Catering Menu, with the inclusion of bowl food for the first time. Yesterday my team prepared a tasting session for the Sales and Events team, this is one meeting everyone turned up for and on time! Here is a snap of me taking one of the bowl food trays out to them to sample.
Bowl food is of course hardly the new kid on the block as far as food innovation is concerned, so why, you might ask, have we never featured it before? To be honest the only reason it hasn’t made it onto the menus in the past is because I personally didn’t really know how I felt about it as function food.

What did I think I hated about bowl food?
1) Definitely concerns over practicality. What do you do with your glass while you are eating, as you need two hands to do so?
2) What happens to the empties in a busy
3) Do we want to invest in the equipment and where do we then store it?

4) Will we always have enough service space?
5) Will it be a two minute Fad that would fade away?

What I now love about bowl food?
1) Our excellent sales team have been telling me that it is a constant request which has proved to be correct as I can tell from our catering figures and how busy my team are!

2) It’s a creative chef’s dream because of the huge potential in pure food terms by being able to create small and tasty dishes with very few restrictions.

3) It’s perfect for networking events which we are a popular venue for.

4) You can try a ‘little bit of this’ and ‘little bit of that’!

5) It’s cost effective if you are on a tight budget in these difficult times and cannot afford one of my 7 course fine dining meals, as impressive and fabulous as they might be.

So this year I finally put my ambivalence to one side and with the aid of my two senior chefs, Joanne Dingwall and Charlene Basan, created a brand new menu.

Chef and Jo busy planning the menu

Now that it’s done I can’t remember why I made such a song and dance about it, and I have gone from being lukewarm to super excited about the whole concept.
We have already done several tastings and the feedback from the clients has been fantastic.

The most popular dishes are proving to be:
1) ‘Thai green curry with sticky rice’
2) ‘Salt and pepper squid with Asian slaw’ see the photo at the top of this blog
3) ‘Crab, watermelon, cucumber, mango, ginger and dill salad’
4) ‘Chocolate brownies with white chocolate sauce’

Back to my pots and pans. Until next time……..


- 05 Jan 2012

Welcome! My first blog from the OGGS kitchens….

Welcome to the first chef’s Blog from the kitchens at One Great George Street in Westminster or OGGS as we are often fondly referred to by our regulars. My name is David Wilkinson and it has been my pleasure to have been the head chef here for the past 11 years, where I have lucky enough to see the business develop from promising but fairly modest beginnings into the highly professional, flexible and articulate organization that we operate today.
I came to OGGS in June 2000 with the best part of 20 years experience in 5 Star hotels behind me but even with Intercontinental hotels, The Savoy and Claridges included on my resume, I have to say that this has been the most rewarding and stimulating job I have ever had. The photo below is of The Savoy kitchen team taken back in 1985, yes I am that old and I am somewhere in the back, you will have to take my word for it.

collection of chefs one great george street
As a stand alone venue with dedicated, in-house catering, we are in complete control of every aspect of the operation from the suppliers we use to the moment the food arrives on the plate, and everything in between. The advantage of course for our customers is that because we are not governed by restrictive corporate or contractual limitations, it gives us unique flexibility.

All this flexibility and autonomy would of course be for nothing without the right team to make it work. A kitchen is only as good as the people working in it and I am privileged to say that I work with the most fantastic team. It would be difficult to imagine a more diverse group of characters with people from as far a-field as the Philippines, Singapore, the Caribbean, South Africa, Poland and Slovakia. I’ve even got someone from Birmingham!! Before I forget, we are currently recruiting for a Senior Chef de Partie so do let me know if you know suitable candidates.

In future Blogs I will fill you in with details! I’ll tell you more about the team, the food, unusual functions and maybe name drop some VIP guests! There is also so much to talk about and discuss in this Jubilee and Olympic year and the challenges and opportunities it brings to a conference venue in Westminster with proud responsibility for hosting the London Media Centre for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Until then thank you for reading the first chefs Blog.

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