Dish of the Day: Does London belong to the young?
Restaurant dynamics are changing. It didn’t seem too long ago that you had spend 20 years working in various positions before you would even be thought about for a head chef position. One of the coolest things in London right now is the common trait in a lot of the recent restaurant openings. Youth.
Young chefs, working hard bringing their personalities to the forefront are making it happen, and are, rightly so, getting all the acclaim they deserve. Before it was not so. (Marco Pierre White being one of the singular exceptions to the rule). Now the whole industry just seems that much more vibrant. And that’s not just chefs either– I’m talking about front of house and restaurateurs too.
In the last few months I’ve had some wonderful meals, Clove Club, Beagle, Restaurant Story, Dabbous to name but a few. They are all operated by or have chefs who are young, and are all getting lots of praise. It goes without saying that most who achieve the head chef title, or manage to own or run a restaurant at a relatively young age, have earned it, have worked hard to get there, and work harder to stay there.
But here’s another question? Isn’t maturity in cooking important too? First of all, though, what does it mean? Food that looks natural, not over thought, like it’s just meant to be. Fits the surroundings, they style of the place so naturally. Isn’t hidden behind complicated techniques, and fripperies of presentation.
Is it better to have a mature team perfecting classics or a youthful one full of ideas doing new stuff? How about both. I adore the old school boys like Paul Bocuse doing what they’ve been doing for 60-odd years, at the highest possible level, or the grandma who has baked the best bread since time began, but mix that technique and commitment with youthful energy and creativity – welcome to London 2013.
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