Speaking at Caterer’s 2008 Chef Conference, held at the InterContinental in London, White said of the scientific approach to cooking: “I just don’t get it. What does it mean? Does it make food taste any better?”
White said that while he admires Blumenthal, he does not understand why the Fat Duck chef would cook a piece of beef for 24 hours, after initially browning the fat with a blow torch.
“Surely the best way of getting flavour into the beef is to gently cook it, allowing the fat to caramelise slowly?” he told the 250 delegates.
White – the first British chef to achieve three Michelin stars – also dismissed the trend towards tasting menus, revealing that he prefers to eat one or two simply prepared dishes, rather than eat a profusion of 12 or 24 taster dishes.
“Last night I ate gull’s egg with mayonnaise and watercress, a dish I enjoyed for its honesty,” he said. “For me, the great cooks are those who have the confidence to cook simply.”
Looking back at his time at groundbreaking restaurant Harveys in Wandsworth, White admitted that he ran a tough regime.
“But I always led from the front and I never gave anyone a job I was not prepared to do myself,” he said.
“I will never say that my methods were not controversial, but they delivered results.”
By Janet Harmer
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