Some of the nation’s finest Chefs gathered last night at Hawksmoor Guildhall for Action Against Hunger’s ‘Too Many Critics’ dinner. Chefs Pierre Koffmann (Koffman’s), Ashley Palmer-Watts (Dinner by Heston), Bruno Loubet (Bistrot Bruno Loubet) Anna Hansen (Modern Pantry) Cyrus Todiwala (Café Spice Namaste) and Jun Tanaka (Pearl), were among the eager diners as were Masterchef contestants, old and new with 2012 Masterchef winner Shelina Permalloo, 2012 runner-up Andrew Kojima and 2010 winner Dhruv Baker.
The draw was that the chefs were turning the tables on the critics, paying a £120 price tag for a dinner cooked by some of the country’s fiercest and most respected food critics. Jay Rayner, Giles Coren, Fay Maschler, Charles Campion, Lucas Hollweg, Richard Vines, Bill Knott and Tracey MacLeod and Tom Parker Bowles took to the kitchen to prepare a meal for a potentially tough crowd of 120 guests.
Guests sipped on Taittinger Champagne and were treated to a three-course meal beginning with Severn and Wye smoked eel, beetroot, watercress and horseradish, followed by enormous hunks of roast beef with giant Yorkshire puddings, carrots, greens and lashings of thick, glossy gravy, not ‘jus’ but proper gravy. The meal ended with Fay Maschler’s raspberry crumble with custard and sinfully good ‘Whisky and Cigars’ chocolates created by talented award-winning chocolatier Paul A Young with Tracey MacLeod. A memorable meal created and cooked by an 8-strong group of uneasy cooks opening themselves up to the very thing that they earn their living doing… criticism!
Thankfully no cooks were ‘beaten’ nor ‘battered’ on this occasion and the critics triumphed in feeding a room full of hungry diners, a meal well worth waiting for; it was the starter dish on tonight’s menu, Severn and Wye smoked eel by Jay Rayner, Giles Coren and Richard Vines with bread by Lucas Hollweg that stole the show.
The event’s auction featured auction lots including art by Miro and Picasso plus experiences galore, perfect for lovers of all things food-related. The evening raised a grand total of £38,758 for Action Against Hunger, whose work continues in some of the poorest countries around the world including Haiti, Sri Lanka and many African nations.
For more information on Action Against Hunger and their future events, visit: www.actionagainsthunger.org.uk