After six continuous days of serving world-class cuisine, the team at Northcote are rewarded with a break (or ‘pause’, as they call it), before ploughing on non-stop with the remaining ten chefs. I was lucky enough to get a seat at Lanshu Chen’s dinner – a chef who is almost single-handedly spreading awareness of Taiwan’s food scene.
However, the menu wasn’t full of strange, exotic Asian ingredients; Lanshu trained in Paris and worked with some of France’s best chefs before returning to Taiwan to open her own restaurant, Le Moût. The menu was full of all my favourite ingredients – lobster, beef fillet, figs, ham, plums, halibut – so I knew I was in for a treat.
As a fully trained Le Cordon Bleu pastry chef, it’s no wonder that Lanshu has become known for her plating, which was staggeringly beautiful throughout. She not only contrasts vibrant colours but also shapes, and once you start eating her food you realise that this is a chef who knows how to work with textures – some of the combinations were very, very clever.
As we were treated to glasses of Champagne in the plush restaurant, we were able to try some of Nigel Haworth’s canapés before the main event. These included the Wild mushroom and roast garlic ‘tumbleweeds’ we have the recipe for on our site, so it was great to try them made by the man himself.