Monday 22nd April saw 46 of Relais & Châteaux’s Grands Chefs, acknowledged leaders in their field, gathered at Old Billingsgate in London to create the annual Dîner des Grands Chefs, the third stage ina culinary world tour. Under the theme The World’s Kitchen by the Thames and working in teams of three, the Grands Chefs created 15 unique five-course menus paired with the finest Pommery vintage champagne for an audience of 600 gourmet guests.
Film stars, politicians, musicians, business luminaries and celebrities came to experience an inimitable gastronomic journey and witness live culinary theatre – for one night only – by some of the world’s greatest chefs.
Old Billingsgate, the original London Fish Market, was transformed into a bucolic English country scene with grassy paths and artful displays of herbs, vegetables and flowers. Among the tables, cooking pods named after traditional British produce such as Golden Beetroot, Cornish Artichoke and Yorkshire Rhubarb were positioned so as to give the connoisseur audience an optimum view of the meal in the making.
After a Pommery champagne reception, the Dîner began with Raymond Blanc , Claude Bosi and Andrew Fairlie leading the Relais & Châteaux Grands Chefs tribe to their allocated cooking pods.
Dream teams of chefs included an all-female line-up (Hélène Darroze of Restaurant Hélène Darroze in France, Annie Féolde of Enoteca Pinchiorri in Italy, and Margot Janse of Le QuartierFrançais in South Africa) and a “Loiseau” signature team (Patrick Bertron of Le Relais Bernard Loiseau in France, Michael Caines of Gidleigh Park in England, and Hiroshi Yamagushi of Kobe Kitano in Japan). At the Table d’Honneur Relais & Châteaux International President Jaume Tàpies hosted 20 very special guests on a magnificent banquet style table; Raymond Blanc and Gary Jones of Le Manoiraux Quat’Saisons in England teamed up with Andrew Fairlie of Restaurant Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles in Scotland and Patrick Henriroux of La Pyramide near Lyon in France .
Each team prepped, cooked and presented their creations working with seasonal local produce to demonstrate and marry their combined talent and individual skills. The meal was accompanied by the finest of Pommery champagnes including Cuvée Louise Pommery Rosé Millésime 2000, Cuvée Louise Millésime 1990 and Cuvée Louise Pommery Millésime 1999.
At the end of the dinner, Lord Dalmeny, Deputy Chairman of Sotheby’s UK , conducted a live auction and provoked a furious bidding war for six unique experiential prizes. Each lot was exclusively created by Relais & Châteaux and their event partners. They included the ultimate “Road to Happiness” of 31 overnight stays in different Relais & Châteaux hotels across the UK & Ireland , the most exquisite and prestigious experience in Champagne with Pommery and the ultimate Silversea cruise. The night raised over £100,000 from the live and silent auctions with all proceeds going to the Grand Chefs’ chosen charity Action Against Hunger, the international humanitarian organization committed to ending child hunger.
Relais & Châteaux paid tribute to the Grands Chefs inviting each to the stage for a medal presentation to rapturous applause. The Chefs returned to their pods to sign the menus for every guest to treasure as a memento of a special evening. After the performance all 46 chefs headed for a wrap-up party at The Corinthia to celebrate and prolong London ’s gastronomic event of the year.
Commenting on the success of the evening, President of Relais & Châteaux Jaume Tàpies said: “Passion, extraordinary British produce, the world ‘ s best culinary talents and exceptional generosity were just some of the ingredients that contributed to an unforgettable event. 46 Relais & Châteaux Grands Chefs came from all around the world to celebrate London as a leading gourmet capital. By cooking together for passionate food lovers they demonstrated that good food combined with friendship is the best recipe for happiness”.
Attending VIPs included:
French Ambassador for the UK Bernard Emie, Minister of State for Agriculture and Food David Heath, Lord Dalmeny of Sotheby’s, Rosie Boycott representative of the London Mayor’s office, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Richard Jones, Gillian Anderson, Salvatore Ferragamo, Judith Chalmers OBE, Murray Head, Lucia van der Post, Francois-Xavier Demaison, Emmanuelle Demaison, Cécile de Menibus, Jean-Félix Lalanne, Elodie Lalanne, Philippe Lellouche, Vanessa Demouy, Annie Lemoine, Hélène Segara, Mathieu Lecat, Elisa Tovati, Bernard de la Villardiere, Joyce Jonathan,
Participating Grands Chefs included:
Jean-Christophe Ansanay-Alex, Christophe Bacquié, Colin Bedford, Patrick Bertron, Raymond Blanc & Gary Jones, Holger Bodendorf, Claude Bosi, Thomas Bühner, Martin Burge, Michael Caines, Jonathan Cartwright, Jean-André Charial, Lanshu Chen, Jacques Chibois, Christopher Coutanceau, Giovanni D’Amato, Hélène Darroze, Pascal Devalkeneer, Andrew Fairlie , Annie Feolde & Riccardo Monco, Jérôme Ferrer & Alexandre Barre, Nils Henkel, Patrick Henriroux, Margot Janse, Michel Kayser, Jean-George Klein, Reto Lampart, Jean-Michel Lorain, Barbara Lynch, Marc et Pierre Meneau, Marc Meurin, Toni Mörwald & Roland Huber, Norbert Niederkofler & Nicolò Bagna, Patrick O’Connell, Emmanuel Renaut, Jean-Luc Rocha, Michel Rochedy & Stephane Buron, Georges Victor Schmitt, Yoshinori Shibuya, Emmanuel Stroobant, Simon Taxacher, Peter Tempelhoff, Davy Tissot, César Troisgros, Michael White, Hiroshi Yamaguchi.
Old Billingsgate, London , EC3R 6DX
EXAMPLES OF WHAT THEY ATE:
– Tandoori spiced blue lobster by Hélène Darroze
– Lobster à la ‘Paul Emile’ by Marc and Pierre Meneau
– Scallops à la nage with kumquats by César Troisgros
– Scallops à la mode preserved with herbs and spices by Hiroshi Yamagushi
– A Tin of Sin (Osetra caviar with crab and cucumber rillettes) by Patrick O’Connell
– Devonshire crab and celery salad, pink grapefruit and buckler sorrel by Raymond Blanc and Gary Jones
– Biltong (cured beef fillet) served with wild greens, sorghum and African sour fig by Margot Janse
– Fillet of Angus beef with Parmesan sauce and aubergine by Giovanni d’Amato
– Chicken from the Rhug Estate served with morels and pickled kale by Lanshu Chen
– Chicken stuffed with morels and wild lime by Claude Bosi
About Relais & Châteaux
Relais & Châteaux is an exclusive collection of more than 520 of the finest hotels and gourmet restaurants in 60 countries. Established in France in 1954, the Association’s mission is to spread its unique art de vivre across the globe by selecting outstanding properties with a truly unique character. Relais & Châteaux is also a family of hoteliers and Grands Chefs from all over the world who share a passion for, and a personal commitment to, ensuring their guests are privy to moments of exceptional harmony. To choose Relais & Châteaux is to experience an unforgettable celebration of the senses. From the vineyards in Napa valley to the beaches of Fiji , from the olive groves in Provence to the lodges in South Africa , Relais & Châteaux offers a chance to explore the Route du Bonheur and discover a wide range of distinctive destinations. The Relais & Châteaux signature reflects this ambition: “ALL AROUND THE WORLD, UNIQUE IN THE WORLD.”
About Vranken-Pommery Monopole
Vranken-Pommery Monopole is the second largest champagne group. Its portfolio comprises the leading brands of VRANKEN with its Diamant and Demoiselle vintages, POMMERY with its Louise and Pop vintages, HEIDSIECK & CO MONOPOLE with its Impératrice vintage and CHARLES LAFITTE with its Orgueil de France vintage. The company owns the premium ROZES port wine brand and TERRAS DO GRIFO Douro wines. The group is the leading distributor of rosé wines with Sables de Camargue – gris de gris wines – from DOMAINES LISTEL and Côtes de Provence – rosé wines – from the CHATEAU LA GORDONNE. Vranken-Pommery Monopole owns the largest vineyard in Europe, spread among Champagne , Provence , the Camargue and Portugal .
About Action Against Hunger
Action Against Hunger | ACF International is an international humanitarian organisation committed to ending child hunger. Recognised as a leader in the fight against malnutrition, ACF works to save the lives of malnourished children while providing communities with sustainable access to safe water and long-term solutions to hunger. With 30 years of expertise in emergency situations of conflict, natural disaster and chronic food insecurity, ACF runs life-saving programmes in some 45 countries helping 7 million people each year. www.actionagainsthunger.org.uk