Over the last couple of decades, the British culinary scene risen like the sun over the English Channel. The Fat Duck in Bray, county of Berkshire, was named the best restaurant in the UK and the second best restaurant in the world in 2008. (FYI, their 2009 food issues have been resolved and they’ve returned to their three Michelin star status).
Traveling to the UK, no longer are you relegated to a Ploughman’s Lunch, Bubble & Squeak, Bangers and Mash, anything with “brown sauce” on it or a plate of mushy peas. Names such as Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsey, Ainsley Harriott and Delia Smith are household names. And, of course, who can forget Gareth Blackstock, executive chef at Le Chateau Anglais.
Having recently seen both Withnail and I and The Player and noting that Richard E. Grant has a new movie just out, The Lesson, got me thinking….
Arriving on the scene and letting nothing stand in their way are Simon and Minty Marchmont. Simon (Richard E. Grant) and Minty (Arabella Weir) exude Posh Nosh. They, too, are chefs, not cooks. They don’t settle for anything less than “the Russell Crowe of chocolates” from Belgium, which has two uses, cooking and worshiping. According to Simon, all kids by the age of six should be able to shave their own fennel.
Simon and Minty glide through the kitchen like Torvill and Dean with a hint of Tonya Harding on the back burner. A word to the nervous: The techniques are sometimes complex and can be difficult at first. Always remember this from the “Posh Nosh” Bible: extraordinary food should never be simple and never, ever cheap. That said, you must try this Paella Valenciana at home. Don’t be afraid to:
- interrogate your mussels;
- embarrass your vegetables (do not peel them);
- and always, let the ingredients talk amongst themselves.
Next time you’re in the UK, ring the Quill and Tassel (also in Bray) and make a reservation for what, most assuredly, will be the culinary experience of a lifetime (wink, wink).
Anyone recognize Simon’s tennis coach, Jose Luis?