The Compass Group team, led by culinary director Nick Vadis, took gold at La Parade des Chefs at this year's Hotelympia. Janie Manzoori-Stamford looks at the winning menu
Compass Group's culinary team was the only one to take gold at La Parade des Chefs at this year's Hotelympia, before going on to be named the Best of the Best
The team of chefs, coached by Compass culinary director Nick Vadis, was made up of Clark Crawley (Restaurant Associates), Neil Rankin (Restaurant Associates), Richard Abbott (Eurest), Bob Brown (captain, Eurest), James Hart (Chartwells) and Chris Terry (Restaurant Associates).
Their winning menu started with sea trout, native oysters, fromage blanc, dill and asparagus, followed by a main course of pork collar and loin, Clonakilty black pudding, wild garlic, morels and cauliflower. Valrhona caramelia mousse, hazelnut, mango and Pedro Ximenez vinegar made up dessert.
Commenting on the importance of competition cooking in the development of chefs, Vadis said: "I have always believed in competitions. They put you under pressure and give chefs confidence. Team events are important too, because brigades in the workplace are teams. There is a natural synergy between competition and work.
SEA TROUT, NATIVE OYSTER, FROMAGE BLANC, DILL AND ASPARAGUS
500g sea trout (approx 100g portion)
Zest of one lime
20g sea salt
4 oysters, shucked - reserve juice for later
50g plain flour
100ml neutral oil
Asparagus, samphire and sea purslane salad
4 asparagus spears
Small bunch of sea purslane
100g white wine vinegar
1 star anise, 1 peppercorn, 1 coriander seed
50g fromage blanc
Â½ lime, zest and juice
50g bonito flakes
20g dashi granules
Oyster dressing Juice from 4 oysters
50g dill oil
Oyster espuma 50g shallot - peeled and sliced
50ml white wine
100ml fish stock
Juice of 4 oysters
50g crème fraÁ®che
Prepare the sea trout. Trim the belly and remove any pin bones. Leave the skin on and the piece of fish whole, and sprinkle with the salt and lime zest. Wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge for two hours to lightly cure.
For the oyster tempura, lightly season the flour and cornflour and gently stir in the vodka to make a stiff batter. When you are ready to cook the oysters, dredge them in seasoned flour, dip in the batter and deep fry at 180Â°C until crisp.
To make the dill oil, blend in a Thermomix at 70Â°C, pass through muslin cloth and put to one side. Alternatively, warm the oil and dill in a small pan, stirring with a temperature probe until it reaches 70Â°C, and then blend.
Use a mandolin to shave each asparagus spear into four pieces lengthways. Pick the samphire down to small pieces and pick the sea purslane leaves. Blanch each ingredient separately and refresh in cold water. When you are ready to build the salad, mix together with a little bit of dill oil.
To make the pickling liquor, mix the sugar, white wine vinegar, water, star anise, peppercorn and coriander seed together, bring to a simmer and reduce by half, then put aside to cool.
Peel the cucumber and, using a mandolin, take strips about 8cm long and 2cm wide, taking care to use the fleshy part, not the seeds. Keep them nice and thin and trim up so they are all even, 20 in total. Pour the cooled pickling liquor over them and leave for around 30 minutes. Drain and then fold each cucumber strip into
a roll, and put aside ready for plating.
Mix together the fromage blanc and lime, season, and place in a piping bag. Bring the dashi granules, water and bonito flakes to the boil and leave to infuse. Put the liquid into a blender and thicken with Ultratex until it reaches a gel consistency. Place in a small squirty bottle.
For the oyster dressing, reduce the oyster juice in a small pan, add the cream, infuse and then add the dill oil. Place in a blender, blend together with Ultratex until it stays emulsified and place in a small squirty bottle.
To make the espuma, place the shallots, white wine and fish stock in a pan and reduce by half. Add the cream and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the shallots, cool down, then add the crème fraÁ®che and oysters, blend then pass, season. When chilled, place in an espuma gun and charge so it is ready to use.
Place the dill in a hot oven and burn until black. Allow it to cool and blend it to a powder.
Portion the sea trout and place on a piece of oiled parchment. Steam at 50Â°C for 18 minutes. Dress the plates with dots of dashi gel, oyster dressing and fromage blanc. Place the pickled cucumber pieces around the outside of the plate and the asparagus and sea herb salad in the middle. When the fish is ready, peel the skin off and roll in the dill ash. Place on the salad and place your crispy oyster on top. Pipe the oyster espuma to the side and finish with dill oil.
PORK COLLAR AND LOIN, CLONAKILTY BLACK PUDDING, WILD GARLIC, MORELS AND CAULIFLOWER
100g sliced carrot
100g sliced shallot
1kg lean pork trim
2 litres pork/chicken stock
500g pork collar
10g toasted fennel seeds
10g lemon zest
500g pork loin
20ml olive oil
1 lemon, zest and juice
4 baby leeks
8 wild garlic leaves
8 morels, washed and cleaned
200ml truffle juice
100g chicken breast
1 egg white
10g chives, finely chopped
10g finely chopped truffle
Cauliflower purée 250g cauliflower, thinly sliced
5ml truffle oil
Wild garlic purée
250g wild garlic
Truffle crumb 50g oats
20g dried morel powder
10g chives, finely chopped
10g summer truffle, finely chopped
4 slices of black pudding, 5cm x 3.5cm x 0.5cm
12 Parisian potatoes
200ml chicken stock
8 nasturtium leaves
4 chive flowers
4 pork skin puffs
To make the pork sauce, sweat off the carrots and shallots with garlic and thyme until caramelised. Add the pork trim, cook until brown, then add the Madeira and reduce. Add the stock and reduce until it reaches a sauce consistency.
Trim the pork collar into a cylinder of 4cm in diameter. Prep the lardo into three 5mm bands and freeze. Using a larding needle, stud the pork collar three times, making a triangle in the eye of the meat. Blitz together the dry rub marinade of toasted fennel seeds, lemon zest, salt and rosemary, and rub into the meat. Wrap in
clingfilm tightly and tie at both ends.
Steam for 2 hours then remove the clingfilm, re-wrap tightly in fresh clingfilm, and chill.
Once cold, slice into 3cm pieces, cover with pork sauce and slowly braise for 1 hour.
Trim the pork loin into a 2.5cm barrel and marinate in a mix of oil, rosemary and lemon zest. Wrap in clingfilm, tie at both ends and leave for 24 hours. Cook the loin at 64Â°C for 30 minutes then remove from the clingfilm and pan-fry in foaming butter till golden. Once finished, place in a pan, brush with sauce, roll in truffle crumb and portion up.
Prep and blanch the baby leeks for 30-60 seconds in boiling, salted water and refresh.
Char them on all sides and split in half, ready to finish in an emulsion for service.
Pick the wild garlic and remove most of the stem. Sauté for service and serve 2 leaves per plate.
Wash and clean the morels, 2 per person. Reduce the truffle juice until it is almost a syrup. Make a chicken mousse, add the chopped truffle and chives, then the truffle syrup. Pipe into the morels and poach in chicken stock for 3 minutes. Reheat in a water-butter emulsion during service.
Thinly slice just the top of the cauliflower. In a pan, add the same amount of milk and cream, then add the cauliflower and bring to a simmer. Once cooked, remove from the liquid and blitz in a Thermomix, adding knobs of butter and a touch of truffle oil to make a purée. Check the seasoning and place the purée into a squeezy bottle for service.
For the wild garlic purée, blanch the wild garlic in boiling salted water until really soft. Sweat off the wild garlic in a pan with a bit of butter, then blitz in a thermo to make a purée. Check the seasoning and add to a squeezy bottle for service.
Using the oats, butter, salt and sugar, make a sweet and salty granola. Leave to cool, then add morel powder, chopped chives and chopped truffle. Leave ready for service on the pork loin as stated above.
Pan-fry the black pudding until cooked.
For the potatoes, use a Parisian scoop and make 3 scoops per person. Blanch in chicken stock until half-cooked, then chill. Pan-fry the potatoes in foaming butter until golden brown and cooked ready for service.
To garnish: blanch the pork skin until cooked, remove the fat with a knife and portion into thin strips. Dehydrate at 70â°C for 24 hours and then cook in hot oil to puff up.
Pick 2 nasturtium leaves and 5 wild garlic flowers per plate. Assemble according to the photo or use your own interpretation.
VALRHONA CARAMELIA MOUSSE, HAZELNUT, MANGO AND PEDRO XIMENEZ VINEGAR
Mango pectin jelly
12g fresh mango in 8mm x 8mm cubes
Â½ Tahiti vanilla pod
Zest of Â¼ of an orange
Â½ star anise
25g sherry vinegar
25g liquid glucose
2.5g Pectin NH
6g lemon juice
25g mango puree
9g clarified butter
38g hazelnut paste
2.5g cocoa butter
25g milk chocolate gianduja
70g hazelnut streusel
15g chopped, roasted hazelnuts
87g pouring cream
165g Carmelia chocolate
1.5g powdered gelatine 210 bloom plus 9g water
138g whipped cream
Vacuum-pack the mango cubes, vanilla, orange peel, star anise and vinegar. Place in the fridge for 24 hours. Place the macerated mango with its liquid and the rest of the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Put in rectangular flexipan moulds 2cm smaller than the dessert and freeze.
For the crumble, mix the butter and hazelnut paste, then the cocoa butter and finally the melted gianduja, streusel and the chopped toasted hazelnuts. Place into moulds that are the size of the dessert.
To make the Carmelia mousse, bring the pouring cream to the boil. Mix with the melted Carmelia chocolate and then add the gelatine. Cool and fold in the whipped cream.
To serve, trim the reconstructed crumble sheet slightly larger than the mango pectin jelly. Put the praline crumble sheet on the plate as a base with the pectin jelly on top.
Layer on a sheet of tempered chocolate cut the same size as the crumble. Place on top of the mango pectin jelly.
Pipe the Carmelia mousse and garnish with chocolate spaghetti and shards of tempered chocolate.
Serve with an optional chocolate beignet and yoghurt sorbet.