Sunday 25 June 2017

Food news: A seat at the chef's table

Virgilio Martinez
Virgilio Martinez
Buddha Bowls
9th Degree Coffee
Grow your own fruit

Katy McGuinness

Whatever one thinks about celebrity chefs and the macho rock-star culture that has grown up around them, there's no denying that Netflix series Chef's Table is a must-watch for anyone with an interest in the world of food and restaurants.

The on-demand service recently announced the chefs that will feature in the third season, which is released online February 17. As with the second season, there are two women among the six chefs profiled.

One of those featured in the new series - which gives an intimate and sometimes emotional insight into the philosophy that underpins the food - is Virgilio Martinez (above) from Central in Lima, Peru, who charmed the audience when he spoke at last year's food symposium, Food On The Edge, in Galway. Martinez sources many of his ingredients from the wild, and draws upon the various ecosystems of Peru to create dishes that mirror the landscape, and showcase the beauty of nature. Peruvian food is about as trendy as it gets these days, with a visit to Lima being on every aspirational gastro-tourist's hit list.

Also starring in this new series is Vladimir Muhkin from White Rabbit in Moscow, currently No. 18 on the World's 50 Best list. The menu at his Alice in Wonderland-themed restaurant features traditional Russian produce such as Borodinsky black bread and caviar, rabbit and mini cabbage rolls in foie gras with potato crisps and truffle juice, roast suckling pig and Black Sea oysters, and the room has a glass dome from which diners have a spectacular 360-degree view of the city of Moscow.

Tim Raue, of the eponymous restaurant in Berlin, who has cooked his pared-back Asian food for Angela Merkel and Barack Obama, also gets an episode of the series to himself, as do Ivan Orkin of Ivan Ramen in New York and James Beard award-winner Nancy Silverton of Osteria Mozza in Los Angeles, who is credited with popularising sourdough and artisan bread in the US.

Jeon Kwang may be less well known: she is a nun who cooks at a Buddhist temple in remote South Korea. Kwang is sometimes referred to as The Philosopher Chef and her food is based on centuries-old Buddhist culinary traditions, including fermentation, dehydration, foraging, and seasonality. Rene Redzepi of Noma is just one of her many admirers.

With a couple of weeks to go before the new series is launched, there's time to binge-watch the first two series, which have included profiles of Massimo Bottura, Dan Barber, Alex Atala, Francis Mallmann, Grant Achatz and Dominique Crenn.

Bites..

Coffee courier

James McCormack has launched a new coffee subscription service from 9th Degree Coffee, his small-batch micro roastery on Dublin's South Anne Street, with coffee delivered in letterbox-friendly packages once a week, a fortnight or a month. Details on 9thdegree.ie

Bearing fruit

Bray riding school and garden centre Festina Lente is running workshops in growing your own fruit and vegetables at the centre's walled gardens starting on February 12. €75 for seven workshops, book on 087 3293680 or see gardens@festinalente.ie

Eat like a Buddha

The Buddha Bowl trend is huge in the US, and now M&S has introduced a range of Nourish Bowls, containing greens, vegetables, a hit of protein and a sprinkling of seeds. The Edamame and Black Rice version features soy and chilli cashew nut dip, wakame and pickled beetroot. Get your hands on 278g for €5.25.

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