Part two

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ENGLISH CHEFS TEACH THE WORLD TO COOK

Delia Smith is the UK’s best-selling cookery author, and is known for her interest in teaching basic cookery skills. She had an oracle status in UK but when I was recently watching one of her latest up-dated shows –sorry for the metaphor- but I felt like having sex in the 80s. She did all the stuff right, but she did get the words all wrong. She’s the ghost of the past. I don’t want you to get bored talking about her whole program I’d rather give some examples: She used the word “cold cuts”. She repeated that double cream is highly calorific, and therefore should only be used as a special treat. Okay Delia was right. Cuts of cold meat are cold, and double cream is very fattening. I read that she has always been a big fan of béchamel sauce. This really is 80s, it might even be 70s. Nobody makes a “roux” anymore, it takes me back to my grandma’s kitchen but that’s not all! She just used corn flour in a custard sauce. That’s the bit that chefs disapprove of, apparently. I’m with the chefs here. Corn flour is a weird thing in a sauce. And the soundtrack, oh my God: Bob Marley’s Stir It Up, while she was stirring! In my opinion nowadays people want to be entertained not being taught how to cook.

Another celebrity chef: James Olivier. His specialty is the Italian cuisine. He is most proud of his rustic Italian recipes that have been tried, tested and loved but my question is why should we follow an English chef cooking Italian dishes? I have seen some of his cooking shows for instance when he was in USA.  His audience was almost fallen asleep when he prepared the English classic: Fish and chips (all right the chips were wrapped in newspaper, wow what a cool way of presentation) with peas puree flavored with mint. He also appeared in one of Martha Stewart’s show and came up with some boring Italian pasta. It was not bad but nothing special to show off with.

Anyway Oliver is a very nice guy I have nothing to say against him. His charity work and efforts to teach children eat better and healthier should be followed but in 2008 Oliver organized a school dinner campaign to improve the quality of food fed to pupils. While the campaign was arguably successful, it made headlines after a handful of parents revolted against Oliver’s lunch plan (in which all 1,100 pupils on site were fed two portions of fruit and three vegetables every day) by delivering junk food from local shops to the pupils through the school fence. One parent dismissed Oliver’s food as “disgusting rubbish” and declared- “Food is cheaper and tastes better at the local takeaways”-. I didn’t say that, the parents did!

The next on my list  is the notorious swearing chef Gordon Ramsay: he is one of only four chefs in the UK who maintains three Michelin stars for his restaurant (the others being Heston Blumenthal, Alain Ducasse and Alain Roux). But maybe it doesn’t mean anything: I tried once one of his turkey recipes but Oh my God! However I followed the instructions step by step the turkey turned out of a disaster (later I read in the you tube that lots of others had the same result). So probably I have to go along with the loudmouth Mario Batali Italian chef when he labeled Ramsay’s culinary fare “dull and outdated” and also said Ramsay didn’t get New York at all!

Heston Blumenthal: He was preparing sweet and savory bacon-and-egg ice cream in the early 2004, and the news about the intriguingly odd confection quickly spread through the food world. Soon his restaurant “The Fat Duck” became credited as instigators of the bacon dessert “craze”. In my opinion he is rather a culinary alchemist (for his innovative style of cooking) than an ordinary cook. Or it could be said that he is a molecular gastronomist, (though he dislikes the term, believing it makes the practice sound “complicated” and “elitist). One of his signature techniques is the use of a vacuum jar to increase expansion of bubbles during food preparation. This was used in such dishes as an aerated chocolate soufflé–like dessert. I tried that soufflé and it tasted like a watery chocolate.

In his In Search of Perfection series, (you can find in the you tube) he cooks a Bresse chicken at 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit). He explains that ultra-slow cooking does not melt the fat or release many juices, making the creation of gravy impossible, but Blumenthal says that gravy is unnecessary as the meat itself is sufficiently moist. In the case of Beef steak he uses another method the so called sous-vide, when the steak is held at around 60° Celsius or 140° Fahrenheit for a minimum of thirty minutes. Then we should remove from the bag and sear in a very hot pan. Searing the outside of the steak not only improves the flavor and texture of the meat it but also kills the harmful bacteria on the outside of the steak that survived the water bath.

I have to admit nevertheless his programs are really fascinating and animated I don’t think that ordinary people can afford to follow his expensive techniques.

PS: According to reports, James Oliver’s restaurant suffered from low bookings.

It just came a year after Ramsay was forced to close another branch of Maze in Prague and in the USA as well.

Blumenthal’s restaurant the Fat Duck was shut over food poisoning scare. 400 people got sick with salmonella!

 

My question is: Did they become famous because their mother tongues are English or because of their cooking skills?

sources: wikipedia

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