How do you make your food at the The Ivy Collection innovative while keeping the values of the restaurant?
The Ivy is known to serve classic dishes, combined with international influences. We try to apply the same philosophy with The Ivy Collection’s menus, so sometimes we might add just a little twist to the dish, and some other times we go off piste, like with the massaman duck curry.
How do you choose your menu and ingredients?
We always have British classics on the menu, such as the Shepherd’s pie, but we also try to add healthy, trendy and more innovative options for those who like to try new things. We try to incorporate something new through both new dishes and existing dishes with a new selection of ingredients such as green papaya. An updated dish we have featured recently has been tempura prawns with green papaya edamame with wasabi and matcha tea sauce.
Who inspires you at the moment?
Dan Barber – his wastED projected is quite inspiring and we should all try to contribute.
Which Ivy Collection site is your favourite and what’s your favourite dish there?
All the restaurants are great; they are all slightly different and each has its own particular characteristics – asking me to choose would be like choosing your favourite child. The Ivy Chelsea Garden is perfect for summer with its amazing garden, The Ivy Café, Wimbledon Village, is more intimate. The Ivy Soho Brasserie will certainly have an amazing buzz.
What’s the hardest part of your job?
Always making sure that all the restaurants are receiving and delivering a high-quality product, with a consistent level every day.
How do you deal with difficult requests and what’s been the most bizarre?
We try to accommodate every request if possible, and we take the time to deliver the product to a high standard. The most bizarre request I had was for a vegan afternoon tea.
Food and drink news
Food and drink news
1/26 New York restaurant named best in the world
A New York restaurant where an average meal for two will cost $700 has been named the best in the world. Eleven Madison Park won the accolade for the first time after debuting on the list at number 50 in 2010. The restaurant was praised for a fun sense of fine-dining, “blurring the line between the kitchen and the dining room”
2/26 Why you crave bad food when you’re tired
Researchers at Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University in Chicago recently presented their results of a study looking into the effects of sleep deprivation upon high-calorific food consumption. Researchers found that those who were sleep-deprived had “specifically enhanced” brain activity to the food smells compared to when they had a good night’s sleep
3/26 Drinking wine engages more of your brain than solving maths problems
Drinking wine is the ideal workout for your brain, engaging more parts of our grey matter than any other human behaviour, according to a leading neuroscientist. Dr Gordon Shepherd, from the Yale School of Medicine, said sniffing and analysing a wine before drinking it requires “exquisite control of one of the biggest muscles in the body”
4/26 British dessert eating surges after people ditch healthy eating in February
: In heartening news for anyone feeling guilty about quitting their New Year diet, it seems lots of us have given in to our sweet tooths once again. New data from nationwide food-delivery service Deliveroo reveals there was a surge in Brits ordering desserts in February compared to the first month of 2017
5/26 US congress debates definition of milk alternatives
A new bill has been created that seeks to ban dairy alternatives from using the term ‘milk’. Titled the DAIRY PRIDE Act, the name is a tenuous acronym for ‘defending against imitations and replacements of yogurt, milk, and cheese to promote regular intake of dairy every day’. It argues that the dairy industry is struggling as a result of all the dairy-free alternatives on the market and the public are being duped too
6/26 Cadbury’s launches two new chocolate bars
UK confectionary giant Cadbury has launched two new chocolate bars, hoping to lure those with a sweet tooth and perhaps help combat some of the challenges it faces from rising commodity prices and a post-Brexit slump in the value of the pound.The company’s new products will be peanut butter and mint flavoured. They will be available in most major super markets as 120g bars, priced at £1.49, according to the company
7/26 You can now get a job as a professional chocolate eater
The company responsible for some of your favourite chocolate brands – think Cadbury, Milks, Prince and Oreo – have officially announced an opening to join their team as a professional chocolate taster. The successful candidate will help them to test, perfect and launch new products all over the world.
8/26 MSG additive used in Chinese food is actually good for you, scientist claims
For years, we’ve been told MSG (the sodium salt of glutamic acid) - often associated with cheap Chinese takeaways - is awful for our health and to be avoided at all costs. But one scientist argues it should be used as a “supersalt” and encourages adding it to food.
9/26 Lettuce prices are rising
Not only are lettuces becoming an increasingly rare commodity in supermarkets, but prices for the leafy vegetables seem to be rising too. According to the weekly report from the Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, a pair of Little Gem lettuces had an average market price of £0.86 in the week that ended on Friday, up from an average of £0.56 in the previous week – that’s an almost 54 per cent increase.
10/26 Food School
Kids celebrate Food School graduation with James Martin – a campaign launched by Asda to educate young people on where food comes from. New research has revealed that children across the UK just aren’t stepping up to the plate when it comes to simple facts about the food they eat – with almost half of children under eight not knowing that eggs come from chickens
11/26 ‘Do-It-Yourself’ restaurant
To encourage more people to cook and eat together, IKEA has launched The Dining Club in Shoreditch – a fully immersive ‘Do-It-Yourself’ restaurant . Members of the public can book to host a brunch, lunch or dinner party for up to 20 friends and family. Supported by their very own sous chef and maître de, the host and their guests will orchestrate an intimate dining experience where cooking together is celebrated and eating together is inspirational
Mikael Buck / IKEA
12/26 Ping Pong menu with a twist
Gatwick Airport has teamed up with London dim sum restaurant Ping Pong to create a limited edition menu with a distinctly British twist; including a Full English Bao and Beef Wellington Puff, to celebrate the launch of the airport’s new route to Hong Kong
13/26 Zizzi unveil the Ma’amgharita
Unique pizza art has been created by Zizzi in celebration of the Queen’s 90th birthday. The pizza features the queen in an iconic pose illustrated with fresh and tasty Italian ingredients on a backdrop of the Union Jack
14/26 Blue potatoes make a comeback
Blue potatoes, once a staple part of British potato crops, are back on the menu thanks to a Cambridge scientist turned-organic farmer and Farmdrop, an online marketplace that lets people buy direct from local farms. Cambridge PhD graduate-turned farmer, Adrian Izzard has used traditional growing techniques at Wild Country Organics to produce the colourful spuds, packed with healthy cell-protecting anthocyanin, which had previously disappeared from UK plates when post-war farmers were pushed towards higher-yielding varieties
15/26 France plans to usurp Scotland as the home of the world's best whisky
France is planning to usurp Scotland’s reputation as the home of the world’s best whisky, fired by a growing national obsession with the drink. According to a study by retail consultants Bonial, the French drink more whisky than any other country – an average of 2.15 litres a year, compared to 1.8 litres in second-placed Uruguay and the US in third on 1.4 litres
Bloomberg via Getty Images
16/26 The price of an avocado is set to rise
Britain’s avocado lovers are facing a significant increase in the cost of their favourite salad food because the so-called superfood is becoming too popular. High demand from health-conscious consumers has led Peru to triple its avocado exports since 2010, with exports to the UK up 58% over the past year
17/26 Eating cereal may not be the healthiest way to start the day
The old saying goes that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so many of us do as we are told and grab a bowl of cereal before we head out the door. But an expert has warned that while many cereals boxes claim their contents are the perfect start to the day, many are packed full of sugar and carbohydrates with little nutritional value. Even some seemingly-health muesli cereals have a lot of added sugar in the form of honey, malt, molasses, dried fruit or “even fruit juice”
18/26 Crisps made with real ingredients
Michelin starred chef, Simon Rogan in action cooking a menu inspired by the provenance ingredients in the new Chef’s Signature range from Kettle Chips. Kettle Chips, the nation’s favourite premium crisp brand, has launched the new range of crisps with exciting new seasonings, made with the highest quality food ingredients rather than chemicals or artificial flavours
19/26 Japanese whisky crisis
Suntory’s chief blender Mr. Fukuyo San blends component whiskies to create Suntory Yamazaki Distiller’s Reserve, a blend of young and old single malts. Japan’s warm climate and varied seasons makes it perfect environment to age and blend whiskies, creating subtle, refined and complex expressions.The recent trend for Japanese whisky has put the spirit on the verge of a global shortage
20/26 Non-alcoholic cocktails are seriously chic
We are living through a new era of creative, non-alcoholic drinks that go way beyond a coke or sweet mocktail. The world is becoming more health conscious. There's the war on sugar, and teetotalism is on the rise, with more than one in five not drinking at all (especially young adults), according to The National Statistics for Adult Drinking Habits. This abstinence is even more pronounced in London, with almost one in three turning away from alcohol. An increasing number of mixologists are applying their talents to the creation of non-alcoholic drinks that taste as good as their boozy alternatives
21/26 'Heat map' shows which areas of Britain enjoy the spiciest curries
After Bradford was named the Curry Capital of Britain for the fifth year running, a map has been released showing which regions of Britain enjoy a spicy curry and which prefer the milder variants. According to the map developed by Hari Ghotra, Kent, Essex, West Yorkshire and Lancashire are the heat-handling kings of Britain, while Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales all prefer milder curries. The data was collected by monitoring the location of social media posts that mentioned names of curries. These were then given a spice rating and were then collated to give each area a score out of 1000
22/26 Guinness to become vegan-friendly
Guinness is set to become vegan friendly for the first time in its 256-year history, as the company announced its plan to stop using fish bladders in its filters
23/26 Why the salmon on your plate might not actually be salmon
Salmon that ends up on the dinner table may not be salmon at all, a study has suggested. The problem of salmon mislabelling has become an increasing issue in the US in the winter months, according to American research published by Oceana. The findings show that 43 per cent of the salmon tested was mislabelled – the most common instance of this being when farmed Atlantic salmon was sold as wild salmon
24/26 How dangerous is a bacon sandwich
A recent WHO report warning that processed and red meats can cause cancer may have left you thinking a little harder about whether to pick up that bacon butty for breakfast or ditch a beef-filled Bolognese for dinner - but how worried should we be? The review of 800 studies for the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) prompted global health experts to cast processed meats - including bacon, ham and sausages - into the ominous-sounding list of group 1 carcinogens, where they joined formaldehyde, gamma radiation and cigarettes. Eating just a 50g portion of processed meat – or two rashers of bacon - a day increases the risk of bowel cancer by 18 per cent, the experts concluded
25/26 New Zealanders are behind a lot of the interesting food and drink stuff happening in the UK
Dark beers are more suited to cold months, so the thinking goes, but in one part of the world they're always popular. "Lots of breweries in New Zealand have got stouts and porters among their best sellers," says Stu McKinlay, one half of the duo behind Wellington brewing company Yeastie Boys. McKinlay recently swapped Wellington for west Kent in order to launch Yeastie Boys in the UK, and he's joined forces with four other breweries (8 Wired, Renaissance, Three Boys, Tuatara) as part of the New Zealand Craft Beer Collective, to promote his country's finest over here
26/26 Additives in popular chicken nuggets
Ingredients, a new book co-created by photographer Dwight Eschliman and food writer Steve Ettlinger distils 25 products, including popcorn, Red Bull and chicken soup, focusing on 75 of the most common food additives and revealing what each one looks like, where it comes from and why it is used. McDonald’s chicken nuggets were found to contain 40 different ingredients. These included dextrose, a sugar also used by shoe makers to make leather more pliable, and corn starch, used for thickening food as well as also being a substitute for petrol
Where did you train and why did you go into the business?
When I was 15, my parents asked me what I wanted to do when I left school and I said either being a chef or joining the navy. My parents contacted the best restaurant near where I lived and I started working there on Saturdays, from 9am to 5pm, then Sundays and Fridays after school. I absolutely loved it. I also did an apprenticeship but it’s at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay that I really learnt the trade.
Where do you go to eat when you go out?
I like The Clove Club for exciting and creative food and Little Social for dinner with friends as there are always some exciting things on the menu to please everyone. It would to have to be Restaurant Gordon Ramsay for immaculate food and service.
How does The Ivy Collection compare to other places you’ve worked?
I have mostly worked in Michelin-starred restaurants where the menu was a little more complicated, so not for everyday meals. The Ivy Collection offers an accessible menu for everyone, anytime of the day and for all occasions.
What do you cook to impress someone?
Perigord truffle linguine with parmesan foam.
How do you cook rice?
To be honest I use a rice cooker; they are not expensive and cook rice to perfection every time. That means I can concentrate on getting other things done as the cooker keeps the rice warm until you’re ready to serve.
What’s your ultimate cooking tip for home cooks?
Always season water when boiling vegetables and don’t try to do too much at once. One dish cooked nicely is better than a lot done badly.
Is there a knife or kitchen appliance you couldn’t live without?
My bread knife and a Bamix hand blender
What is your favourite store cupboard essential?
Definitely pasta. If you have pasta in your cupboard you can always create something for dinner
If you could only eat one cuisine for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Mediterranean. I think that includes most of the things I like but I would miss a good curry and the odd bit of sushi
Do you have a guilty pleasure like baked beans on toast?
Bacon and egg sandwich with HP sauce
Do you think high-end restaurants will start using delivery series like Uber Eats or Deliveroo? Or would this type of service ever affect the restaurant world?
I think the problem lies with keeping up the quality of the product during the delivery and to deliver dishes to the standard that high-end restaurants are associated with is hard as you do not have control on the state of the dish once it reaches its destination.
That being said, when I was running Petrus we had a regular guest whose butler would come to the restaurant and order dishes to takeaway to bring back to the house, which was literally over the road.
What do you think will be big this year in the food world?
I think this year there will be a big push on reducing food waste and a bigger focus on utilising everything that is produced – covering all sectors, from farms to supermarkets and restaurants.Reuse content