Monday 13 May 2019

An Afternoon & Interview with Marco Pierre White at Hotel Indigo Durham

On Monday the 29th of April, Durham was the place to be for anyone who loves to be right in the midst of the sophisticated food scene. Hotel Indigo played host to an afternoon dining experience unlike any which I had previously attended, as Mr. Marco Pierre White paid a visit to the so named Marco Pierre White Steakhouse, Bar and Grill which is situated in the hotel, for an afternoon of foodie talk, fine wine and fascinating food revelations for those who may have had a burning culinary conundrum which needed some expert advice.  
There is a certain presence which comes with somebody who is so highly esteemed, admired for their skills and respected. It was really interesting being in a restaurant which is franchised around someone who is actually visiting it too! It's like the final piece of a jigsaw, making the restaurant feel complete and of course creating an incredibly lively atmosphere amongst those in attendance for such an occasion.
Before the dining experience, I spoke to the man himself about all things food, his favourite cuisine, cultural food styles and the best dessert to whirl up this summer (because you know how much I like to bake, I just had to ask!). Read on for more...
Why did you decide to become a chef?
I didn't. My father was a chef, so I became a chef. I wanted to be a game keeper, I wanted to be a river keeper. The first year in my career, I worked at the Hotel St. George in Harrogate, and it was just a job for me. And then one day I found out about a restaurant, called The Box Tree, which happened to be just 15 miles down the road. And then another day I plucked up the courage to apply for a job and I got a job, and that's where my love started. One of my mentors came from just around the corner in Ferryhill, Mr Ken Lamb.
Oh amazing!
During the day he was the baker, the cake maker, at night he was the waiter. So he was like a surrogate father really. He was a good man.
What is your favourite dish to cook?

Something easy, quick and simple. Like a *in Italian accent* risotto. Like a great bowl of pasta. Like the most perfect omlet. Like the most delicious salad, a roast chicken just bang in the oven then let the oven do the work. Simple. A ham sandwich with good English mustard. A cup of tea. Yorkshire, Betty's. It's got to be comforting, otherwise it doesn't turn me on, it doesn't excite me, it doesn't make me want more.
How do you continuously devise new and interesting recipes?
Oh well I don't. Because I'm a classicist. So I think we live in a world of refinement, not invention. I think to try and change the shape of the wheel you've got to be a complete lunatic. You know, people come up with these strange combinations in the hope that they'll be recognised, every great chef in this world has a classical foundation, and they lay that foundation and then they can come on. Once you've laid that foundation, then you can build the building, the building being your reputation.
What's your personal favourite type of cuisine?
French is the ultimate cuisine. If you look at the great restaurants of this country, if you look at the great restaurants of France, they've all taken the French method and introduced it into their cuisine. You see other cuisines which now have Michelin Stars, they're trying to present it like French cuisine. 
I personally like to bake, so what would you say is the best summer dessert to master?

Well, there's lots of desserts which are delicious, but I think in the summer, I think you should make something like a red fruit jelly, with all those fresh English berries, like raspberries, strawberries, redcurrants for example.. Fraises des bois, the wild strawberries. You get some rosé wine and then you turn it into a jelly. But when you make the syrup first before you turn it into a jelly, what you do is you take the rosé wine, you take the sugar, you dissolve the sugar in the wine to make the syrup and you take a little bit out and then you add gelatine to the rest of it and then you set your fruit in it. And then you turn that out and then you pour over that delicious syrup with all the fruits around.
Oooh that sounds good!
Well jelly's delicious! Especially when it's made with alcohol.
Of course!

- The menu for lunch -

For my starter, I opted for a delicious Classic French onion soup A La Normande which comes with croutons, gruyer cheese and cider. Honestly a true delight. I hadn't tried this classic soup before and it was really excellent so I would highly recommend it if you visit a Marco Pierre White Steakhouse. I also go a glass of rosé wine which was a perfect lunch time treat!

For mains, I went for the 8oz rib eye steak with roasted vine tomatoes, triple cooked chips and Béarnaise sauce. The steak lover's dream. I wouldn't typically cook this for myself at home so I though it a good time to try it. When at a steak house....

I went for medium well done.

I feel like you can't go out for lunch or dinner without getting a dessert at the restaurant you're trying. How else will you get a true feel for the whole menu? Also I get too excited not to try one! I opted for the oh so delightful baked New York Cheesecake with a fruity blueberry compote. As you can see it was an absolute treat!

After lunch, I was kindly given a signed book by Mr. Marco Pierre White and I have been loving reading through it - I've got my eye on trying out some of the recipes starting from this week!

It was a remarkable afternoon with some great people and I had a fantastic time! Have you been to Hotel Indigo in Durham before and tried out their Marco Pierre White Steakhouse, Bar and Grill before? Let me know! Bilgi    x  
This was PR / Press event which I was kindly invited to by Hotel Indigo. All views are honest and my own.

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