On Saturday night it was my pleasure to entertain some friends - bloggers, writers and gourmets - to dinner at the restaurant that changed my life: The Providores in Marylebone Village. I'd like to start by thanking everyone who came to eat and drink with me in celebration of my Professional Chef Diploma and my imminent departure to the temple of world cuisine, Catalunya. I hope you all enjoyed your evening and got home safely. After the difficulties with my previously arranged job in Tarragona, I've been very circumspect about my future intentions, but I was able to break the news of my new intended destination to my dinner guests and I'll publish details here on my blog this weekend.
My Saturday night dinner guests were Andy (sometimes of) Living To Eat, Howard and Ben from Food And Drink In London with friend Antonia, Richard from Superfood, Krista from Londonelicious, Walid from TrustedPlaces and, last but not least, my brother Joel and his girlfriend Aliyyah. I'd hoped to see Jeanne of CookSister and Johanna of The Passionate Cook, but previous commitments made this impossible. And Roshani of Living To Eat fell sick on the day and was unable to make it. Note to self: try to get these three talented women round a dinner table before your departure.
At my request, The Providores had laid on a three-course meal with a selection of wines chosen to match each course. It was the first time in my life that I've ever had a menu printed specially for me. We kicked things off with a tasty little amuse bouche of pork belly with a watermelon and coriander salad. But as Peter Gordon talked us through the amuse we noticed that the crispy buckwheat element was missing. Without hesitation and with a big smile on his face, Chef marched down to the kitchen and returned with a little dish of the buckwheat, proceeding to jovially serve it to all of us himself.
For my main course I chose the line-caught wild sea bass. From reading the description of the dish I knew straight away that this was up my street. Fruit with fish is an often overlooked combination, but the combination of papaya, chilli and coriander was simply marvellous with the thin noodles.
I think everyone enjoyed their meals, based on comments on the night and one or two since. But I'll leave everyone to give their own opinions. And to comment more expertly than I possibly can on the wines, which I thought were excellent. One of the two reds - a Pinot Noir I think - was simply sublime. And my brother is still raving about the Riesling.
It was great to meet Peter Gordon again - after spending two of the most formative weeks of my professional development training in his kitchen just over a year ago. Peter is living proof, if needed, that you don't have to scream and shout in a kitchen in order to get a brigade to work harmoniously and productively. His culinary combinations never cease to inspire me and they set the direction in which I want to develop my own cooking style.