The Fish Course Winner – Slow cooked Octopus

The Great City Chefs competition is mid-flight, only yesterday we had our fish course round. One Moorgate Place’s Mario and Andrew were joined by Stefan from 30 Euston Square, Daniel from Allen & Overy, Khalid from Searcys St.Paul’s and Emily Bell represented The Exclusive Events team. The kitchen was busy with, not just the competition, but a number of lunches in the building!


First up we had a take on squid risotto from the Exclusive Events Team, but instead of the traditional rice Khalid decided to use potato, to lighten the overall texture. The judges really enjoyed the dish but felt it was a little large for a banquet.


Next, a very different and ‘instagrammable’ dish from Stefan. He created cured salmon with Keta, strawberries and radish salad. It looked like a piece of art and forced our guests to look at flavours from a very different perspective.


When our judges were presented with Daniel from Allen & Overy’s Red Mullet with lobster ravioli, charred courgette, Romanesque and roasted pepper coulis, they couldn’t contain themselves. By combining the luxury of lobster with red mullet, the judges were excited by the presentation and were eager to see what it would taste like. Adam Daniels, the head judge, really enjoyed the flavours of the ravioli but felt maybe there was too many flavours on one plate.


But the winner? We’re pleased to say it was us! But what was the dish? Slow cooked octopus marinated in dashi, squid and kimchi beignet, shaved lardo. It was influenced by the multi-national food scene of London. A mixture of traditional and modern cooking techniques from around the world were used, which incorporated Japanese and Korean fermentation and stocks, French style beignets, Spanish style grilling and Italian curing. Each ingredient highlighted the importance of Umami within food. One of our judges said it looked like the sea floor, it subverted our judges expectations, and created a sense of curiosity and bemusement which adds to the eaters enjoyment.