Shane Osborn, head chef at London's two-Michelin-starred Pied à Terre, has become the first British-based chef to cook for the European Council in Brussels.
The council is a regular meeting comprising the heads of state or government of the 27 EU member states, along with its president and the president of the commission.
The event takes place six times a year with a two- or three-Michelin-starred chef from one of the member states selected to cook by personal invitation from the European Council executive head chef Pierre Balthazar.
"It was an honour to be asked to do this but also pretty daunting to cook for all these heads of state," Osborn said. "It was quite challenging to go into someone else's kitchen. They have incredibly tight security measures there - we were screened three to four times entering each building - and weren't allowed to bring anything in."
Osborn cooked a three-course lunch last Friday (4 February) for a total of 152 guests, with the help of his sous chef, Phil Merchant, and pastry chef, Ching Tso. The brief was to use all fresh ingredients from within the EU and Osborn's menu comprised a starter of poached organic salmon, roasted cauliflower purée, dill pickled chayote and toasted quinoa; followed by a main course of slow-braised shin of veal, turnip and maple syrup fondue, roasted carrots, sage and shallot jus. His dessert was milk chocolate mousse, passion fruit curd, whipped crème fraîche and pecan powder.
"Sadly with all the problems going on in Egypt, the meeting went more than two hours over schedule so we didn't get to chat to the heads of state afterwards," Osborn said.
By Kerstin Kühn
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