Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Week beginning June 2nd - Roux at the Landau - One day of work experience

Last week Peter arranged for myself to spend a day working in Albert and Michael Roux’s Landau restaurant located within the wonderful 5 star Langham hotel. Chris King, the executive chef of Landau, has been a regular at Kaffeine for a while and has kindly offered a day in his establishment for all our kitchen staff. I had my turn last week and the rest of the kitchen crew will get the same experience over the course of June. The hotel has 380 rooms and employs 350 people, it’s like running a 24 hour village, and everything has been finely tuned and operating since the mid-19th century. The hotel has since been host to many public figures from Charles de Gaulle, Diana Princess of Wales, to even more recently Justin Bieber who famously had a bust up with the paparazzi on the front steps.

When I first arrived in the back entrance, I had to exchange some I.D. for a temporary access card and wait for Chris to come collect me. I must admit I was slightly nervous as I haven’t worked anywhere that did food to order let alone fine dining in over 5 years. After a brief tour through the hotels many kitchens and the main very grand dining room I was given a pair of chef whites to wear. Another first, quite literally couldn't tell you the last time I wore whites, we’re a bit more café formal in Kaffeine’s kitchen, black t-shirt, apron, trainers and shorts or pants depending on the season. 

Chris then went on to introduce me to his very pleasant and welcoming team, this made a nice change. Most à la carte restaurants I've worked in the past have been staffed with aggressive, moody and volatile men. Times have clearly changed and everyone was super super welcoming, humble and friendly. After all the introductions it was time to get to work and do some mise en place (food preparation). From previous experience in large operations it means repetitive preparation of usually a single ingredient. First task was to shell about 5kg of broad beans, I was out of practise and this took me an hour, next job removing the spares from the sides of asparagus followed by peeling and turning the ends with a paring knife, once again out of practise with classic preparation, this is something you learn in your first week of chef school. Took me another hour to do about 2kg of asparagus, pretty bad timing on my behalf. 

The next job was helping executive chef Chris with trimming and stemming globe artichoke, bit quicker on this task as I had the big man standing next to me and the sense of urgency kicked in. Next duty was somewhat less glamorous, removing the very thin waste vein from king prawns, the jovial banter with the other chefs made this job more enjoyable than it should have and lastly peeling the skin off grapefruit and finely cubing it for marmalade. During the last hour in Landau I was treated to a five course lunch all incorporating the ingredients I had just prepared, which suddenly gave relevance to my day in their kitchen. 

So this week’s menu incorporates all the ingredients I have prepared in the Landau restaurant; bar the asparagus, sorry. This is a thank you to Chris and his team and also so I can brush up on some of their classic preparation techniques.

We hope you enjoy the menu this week, as we have enjoyed bringing the menu to you.

Traditional bircher muesli with rhubarb and raspberry compote 3.60 (V)
Granola muesli with pomegranate molasses and rhubarb and raspberry compote 3.60 (V)
Fruit salad (pineapple, mango, strawberries, grapes, passion fruit) 3.70 (GF, V)
Ciabatta roll with omelette, pancetta, rocket and tomato salsa 4.90
Ciabatta roll with courgette omelette, rocket and tomato salsa 4.90
Croissant with Italian roast ham, talleggio cheese, spinach & plum tomatoes 4.90
Seven seed bakery bloomer toast with home made preserves 1.90
Pumpkin seed and apricot fruit toast 2.40
Banana bread 2.40

Pastries by Seven Seed bakery
French butter croissant 1.90
Pain au chocolat 2.50
Almond croissant 2.80

Baked Treats
Sweet muffin: Flat peaches and blueberries (V) 2.40
Savoury Scone: Eat your greens; courgette, peas, spinach and herbs (V) 2.40
Apricot and Elderflower friands 2.40 (V, GF)
Super moist chocolate brownies 2.40
White chocolate blondies 2.40
Portuguese tarts 2.00
ANZAC cookies 2.00
Melting moments biscuits 2.00
Canele 2.40

French retro baguettes 5.00
Tuna and onion fondue with roasted red peppers and spinach
Tomato, mozzarella, basil, aioli, rocket (V)

Foccacias 5.30
Ham with sour cherry, Camembert and spinach
Aubergine, sweet chilli, Thai basil, goat’s cheese and rocket. (V)

Salads: 5.50/6.90
Mixed heritage tomatoes with broad beans, capers and horseradish dressing (V, GF)
Pink grapefruit with blue cheese, avocado, king prawns, olives and watercress (GF)
Steamed artichoke with lemon, mint and parmesan. (V, GF)

Tart: 4.40 or 7.90 with salad
Salmon and watercress

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