Does one of the UK’s Top 10 Sushi Chefs ‘rice’ to the occasion and serve a fresh new approach to UK Sushi or a ‘damp squid’?
All the regions food news & reviews you can digest
Sam Butler, head chef at The House of the Rising Sun restaurant in Shrewsbury, will be competing in the UK heat of the Global Sushi Challenge this week at one of the world’s most recognisable Japanese restaurants, Nobu, in the heart of London.
The competition is held over three days and includes a two day training programme, run by renowned sushi chef Kazato, the official sushi ambassador appointed by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
Sam is only one of two chefs from outside of London, with a total of nine competing in the competition including chefs from Sake No Hana, Murakami, Maze Grill Park Walk and Sushi Samba. The organisers of the Global Sushi Challenge approached him after they saw photos of his dishes on social media.
He said: “It will be an amazing learning curve as all of our sushi we serve on our daily menus at the House Of The Rising Sun is self-taught. It’s been what we have gathered from books, YouTube and eating sushi elsewhere. It will be nerve-wracking; the other competitors have a lot more experience but it will be good to represent Shropshire in the competition.”
The House of the Rising Sun offers traditional sushi and sashimi as well as rolls with modern twists that change weekly and may include: soft shell crab and pepper; lobster with Thai basil, lemon mayonnaise and salted cucumber; and chicken and spring onion – it is served alongside their daily Pacific Rim influenced menu. Chef sam added “many people travel from outside the region to enjoy our sushi as its so unusual to be able to enjoy it so fresh in the land-locked Midlands.”
The competing chefs will have to prepare a selection of Read more »
There are many days where we have the privilege to speak with, eat with and occasionally socialise with some of the regions finest Chefs and producers – but there are few days more finer than this week – not only congratulating Birmingham’s newest ‘Star’ in person but also speaking with the editor of the Guide which awarded the Star, and those who have supported him in his ascendancy – even from a student!
The results of the Michelin Guide 2016 entrants and exits was announced a day early by an unwitting on-line book shop releasing an ‘embargoed’ book a day early to a Chef who began to share on twitter – so Michelin took control and announced the risers and fallers via twitter themselves off their own account – eat-the-midlands.co.uk (ETM) asked Editor Rebecca Burr (RB) how Michelin dealt with the leak and in particular the news about Birmingham’s new ‘Star’ entrant, Carters of Moseley.
ETM: Rebecca, How have the past 24 hours been since the ‘early’ release of the winners and losers?
RB: It was a challenging day yesterday but we reacted to the early leak and managed to take the lead with our social media account @MichelinGuideUK and our followers helped spread the news – it’s a very important day for many of the UKs’ Chefs and it’s only fair they hear it from the horses mouth as it were and not as rumour, so the blip was only short term and thankfully the news was received very positively. It is a challenge of modern media communications.
ETM: What would you say are the key changes to this years guide entrants compared to last?
RB: We always try and remain consistent in our assessments. Restaurants are constantly opening and sadly some closing and the UK is very prolific in its range of openings so our inspectors need to ensure our principles are applied to whatever the food style or pedigree of the Chef – this year the standards have continued to improve with 206 new entrants overall – including our two new Two Michelin Star venues in London which are both Japanese – it indicates the diversity of the UK restaurant market.
ETM: With the launch this time last year of your twitter account @MichelinGuideUK have you yourselves experienced any challenges in your ‘tone and style’ of what you communicate?
RB: It has been a learning curve for us too this year – Michelin is historically perceived as secretive, only publishing each printed guide once a year, so we wanted to open up our Read more »
There are many days where we have the privilege to speak with, eat with and occasionally socialise with some of the regions finest Chefs and producers – but there are few days more finer than today – not only congratulating Birmingham’s newest ‘Star’ in person and those who have supported him in his ascendancy – even from a student - but also speaking with the Editor of the Guide which awarded the Star.
It was with little dignity that the illusive folk at the Michelin Guide had to react somewhat on the back foot on Wednesday, when their closely guarded secret guides’ contents were ‘accidentally leaked’ a day early by an unwitting on-line book shop who posted an ‘embargoed’ copy to a chef, a day early, who then started to share his bootie across social media – somewhat taking the ‘reveal’ away from the magicians who had created the magic. So, as with the modern world of communications, Michelin bravely took the lead once again and started to Tweet out those winners and losers on their newly created ‘feed’ @MichelinGuideUK to their loyal followers, who in turn spread the good, and some bad, news.
Gone was the Star held by Gordon Ramsay’s ‘Maze’ in London, just on the cusp of celebrating his tenth year there, as well as ‘Sienna’ in Dorchester ‘ where new Chef Marcus Wolcox had recently taken over but not got up to speed soon enough – whereas the team at Maze had not been as consistent as the guide likes, and paid the ultimate price.
Other risers were the privately owned Goring Hotel on the South Bank of London as well as new entrants to the rare Two Star stable The Araki (with only nine covers – yes 9!) and Umu both Japanese and in London –but what of further North? Well due to a late re-opening following their refit The Fat Duck, Heston Bluenthal’s ‘two star’ creation did not manage to re-open in time for the inspectors, so bizarrely is now ‘star-less’ so may now be offering some sort of two-for-one deal to diners until full Star Service is restored at next years round!
But which other Cities shone through? Leeds received a Star at ‘Man behind the Curtain’ Loughborough for ‘John’s House’ and Manchester remained baron.
In the Midlands it was a different story – the rich pickings of the four Michelin Starred Restaurants of Adams, Simpsons, Turners and Purnell’s were joined by a Chefs favourite, Carters of Moseley – Owned by Chef Brad Carter and his hard working partner Holly Jackson – the two have been serving the regions gourmands and most of the Michelin Chefs in the know with their simple flavorsome dishes for nearly five years – never missing a service, and this week their hard work, consistency and focus were truly rewarded.
“I could nt believe it when Rebecca [Burr, Michelin Guide Editor] called me yesterday to break the news – I was gob-smacked’ comments Brad ‘I never in my wildest dreams thought we would achieve such an accolade at Carters – we cook what
we believe in for our customers – and that’s pretty much it. We don’t have posh table cloths or clever cooking gimmicks – just great seasonal produce – it’s such an honour to join the likes of Glynn, Richard, Luke and Adam – all of which I am honoured to say are not only our customers, but also sent us very kind messages of congratulations, and even Richard Turner popped in a bottle of champagne for the team last night after service – he has supported us from day one – but it was still a real surprise – we are all very humbled at the support.”
Partner Holly Jackson who oversees the front of house service added “As soon as the news broke yesterday the phones went mad – at one point the battery even went flat as we had been answering every call – it got to about 4am this morning and I thought I just had to go to bed and stop replying to all the lovely messages – it still hasn’t really sunk in – we would like to thank everyone for all their kind support and best wishes – many from our loyal regular customers, its so lovely.”
When asked what they were going to change now they had achieved the Michelin Star, Holly added Read more »
Award winning Thai Chef Suree Coates of the King and Thai in Broseley, Shropshire is set to launch an all-British producers menu to celebrate British Food Fortnight (September 19th – October 4th 2015)
The King and Thai was recently crowned ‘Midlands Restaurant of the Year’ by Waitrose Good Food Guide and Chef Patron Suree Coates has previously been crowned UK Curry Chef of the Year and South Asia Chef of the Year. She champions regional and British produce on her Thai menus, with much of the garden produce grown in her own gardens and locally at Apley Estate, a rural estate, which can trace its origins back to medieval times, where they grow produce in their Victorian walled gardens covering over 4 acres including in the restored Victorian greenhouses.
Phil Allen Head Gardener at Apley Estate commented “We are undertaking a huge restoration project at Apley Estate, returning the British made teak greenhouses to their former glory, as well as the walled gardens, which have been largely untouched for over 50 years – Lord & Lady Hamilton have started this project and are investing in its restoration – I am delighted to be part of it, and working with Chef Suree has been a real eye opener – We grow produce for our own Apley Farm Shop nearby, but working closely with Suree with her knowledge of produce, passion for flavours and demands for speciality produce for her The King and Thai Restaurant means we can help by sourcing speciality crops to cultivate specifically for her, some which were discovered hundreds of years ago, like our heritage tomatoes that have outstanding flavour – nothing like ones you buy in some supermarkets today – We are also growing fresh Thai basil, lemon basil, crystal lemon cucumbers, and Read more »
Venues across the Midlands are this week celebrating National #afternoonteaweek by polishing up the finest tea sets and baking cakes and pastries for their lucky guests.
One venue who is celebrating in quintessentially English style is Fishmore Hall, a boutique country house hotel in Ludlow. During this week, guests are invited to indulge in a delicious spread of cakes, scrumptious sandwiches and freshly baked scones all for just £19.95 per person. To add a touch of sparkle to the occasion, this offer also includes a glass of Prosecco.
Head Chef Andrew Birch, previously Senior Sous Chef of the 3AA Rosette and Michelin-starred Montague Arms in Hampshire, presents a carefully mastered selection of Read more »
“Thai-riffic Menu” Shropshire Restaurant Scoops Reader Award for Best Local Restaurant in Midlands
A restaurant in Broseley, Shropshire has beaten eateries across the area to be named Regional Winner of the Waitrose Good Food Guide Reader’s Restaurant of the Year Awards. The King and Thai has been nominated by its customers to be their top local restaurant in the Midlands.
The establishment beat off stiff competition from some of the region’s best-known restaurants and The King and Thai sealed its win for its ‘’home-cooked” style food with “sauces made from scratch.”
The Good Food Guide, published by Waitrose, called for diners, back in March, to nominate their favourite local eatery. The coveted awards honour the very best independent restaurants, pubs and cafés from around the country. The annual awards recognise the top dining establishments across ten different UK regions and are based on public nominations with a panel of Good Food Guide judges choosing the most outstanding for their overall winner, which this year is The Miller of Mansfield in Goring, Oxfordshire.
Elizabeth Carter, Waitrose Good Food Guide Editor, says: “This award is a celebration of small, independent restaurants that specialise in amazing quality food, often at great value prices. While trained inspectors carry out all our reviews, we rely on readers to let us know about eateries that might otherwise be overlooked. They are incredibly sophisticated when it comes to eating out, so it makes sense to listen to their opinions.
“This regional winner is a brilliant local gem, the kind The Good Food Guide and its readers love, offering very good home-cooked Thai food. The menu may be full of classic, familiar dishes, but they are very simple and effective with clear, fresh, punchy flavours. Suree Coates makes all her sauces from scratch, and the quality, freshness and taste of the food is truly impressive.”
Chef Suree Coates from The King and Thai says, “I am so delighted to have won this award for the Midlands. I was speechless when I heard, which is very rare for me! An award which recognises the quality of our food and ingredients is beyond my dreams. At The King and Thai we are all passionate about fresh regional produce, seasonality and create fresh clean flavours in all our Thai dishes, even growing much of our own produce in our gardens. To be recognised by such a respected publication like the Waitrose Good Food Guide, and of course our customers who nominated us, is so humbling. I would like to thank everyone for voting for us and to our local suppliers for their consistent quality of produce – and last but not least my team for their on-going shared passion and hard work.” Now in its ninth year, the award attracted 18,000 nominations after calling on diners to name their favourite local eatery in March 2015.
The regional winners are as follows:
Back in early 2009 Birmingham was only just seeing the green shoots of culinary recognition with the presence of two Michelin Stars. Then in September 2009 Chef Patron Richard Turner of his Eponymous Turners Restaurant in leafy Harborne was awarded the third – The team at the helm at the time was Head Chef Richard Turner with his long serving Senior Sous Chef Tom Wells who had been with Richard through his days at Paris Restaurant in The Mail Box – both achieving much acclaim. Chef Tom was then awarded UK Chef of The Year in 2008, shortly followed by the surprise to many, including Turner himself, of a Michelin Star awarded in September 2009 – Tom then left to travel the World, but has now returned alongside Turner in his Harborne kitchen “It seems like an age away since we were awarded with our Michelin Star.”
Comments Turner “Alot has changed since 2009, both in culinary terms and the City itself, but sometimes the best combinations never do. Tom and I were working very closely together when Turners was awarded its Star – we were taken aback and were by no means ready, but we stepped up to the hot plate and continued to deliver the high standards we were accredited for, and I have continued to push the boundaries year on year ever since. Tom moved on in 2010 to satisfy his desires to travel Asia and gain further culinary experiences, but I am delighted to say has now returned to the Turners kitchen to work side by side.”
In recent years Turners has been awarded The Good Food Guide Readers Award, as well as 3 AA Rosettes last year, and led the way earlier this year by being the first restaurant in the UK to introduce Read more »
Nathan Eades, formally of Bromsgrove’s eponymous restaurant Epi at the Courtyard, has joined as Head Chef at St Andrews Town Hotel in Droitwich Spa.
Nathan will oversee all aspects of the food offering at the 31 bedroom property; including the re-launch of the hotel’s restaurant, which is due to re-open 1st September 2015.
Drawing on experience from working with industry high profile names, Nathan will look to bring a similar dining experience as to what one would have expected at Epi; great food, without the fuss of fine dining. On his appointment Nathan commented ‘”I am delighted to join such a well reputable and established hotel such as St Andrews. With such fantastic produce on our doorstep, creating a ‘modern British’ menu in such idyllic surroundings will be an absolute delight. Our goal is to Read more »
This month sees Nostalgia Inns, owned by the Giles family, celebrate their Tenth Anniversary at Ye Olde Punch Bowl Inn.
Since the purchase in 2005 they have invested in an on-going programme of refurbishment throughout, plus a number of initiatives including being the first AGA Carvery in the UK, as well as spending over £100,000 on new wedding facilities including an ornamental lake to launch their 2016 wedding packages. “It’s been a real roller-coaster of ten years,” comments owner and MD of Nostalgia Inns, Adam Giles. “When we purchased the pub in 2005 it was much loved by locals, but seriously in need of investment, so we have undertaken a complete top-to-toe refurbishment, replacing much of the structure of the building as well as on-going cosmetic improvements. Being such a busy pub means it under-goes a lot of wear and tear, so the ongoing project is crucial to maintain the high standards for our guests,” he continued. “We have certainly had our challenges with floods, fire and snow affecting trade, but every time we have pushed on and re-opened, bigger and better. Our customers are very loyal and travel from all over the country to experience our award-winning hospitality – giving us constant positive feedback, backed up by our national awards for customer service, innovation and, of course, our real ales – not to mention a few famous famous including BBC TV Star ‘Boycie” who we are proud to see as a regular visitor to our AGA Carvery”
Investments – With many pubs closing across the UK, the on-going investment of Nostalgia Inns means they are bucking the trend by growing year on year. “You have to keep investing in a business like this,” continues Adam “the next project we have undertaken is the purchase of the fields next door and the dual-lake and ornamental gardens we have created for our wedding guests – its beginning to look fantastic now that the plants are maturing. In July we will be opening the side of our Ludlow Suite, which seats up to 150 people for weddings and events, so guests can enjoy spectacular views across the Shropshire Hills. Our wedding guests will have exclusive access to Read more »