The other night I went to a restaurant in Knightsbridge, where I was cooked for by a chef who usually works in a small hamlet in Berkshire.
Award-winning chef Dominic Chapman from the Beehive in White Waltham was in London as a guest of One O One restaurant, where he joined executive chef Pascal Proyart to create a sublime tasting menu that featured both chefs’ signature techniques and styles. I probably would never have made the trek to the Beehive, but this way I got to experience Chapman’s dishes such as rainbow trout with quails eggs and wild rabbit lasagne without leaving the capital.
For visitors to London, the increasing popularity of hosting national and international chefs in some of the city’s best restaurants means that you don’t have to travel further afield to sample some of the world’s best cuisine. Last month, two-Michelin-star chef Norbert Niederkofler brought his South Tyrolean mountain cooking from super smart Rosa Alpina Hotel and Spa to L’Anima, an airy restaurant in the city as part of Conde Nast Traveller’s Chef’s World Series.
The series aims to create extraordinary occasions with a top foodie name creating one-off feasts in London. The next event is on August 25 at 09:00, when acclaimed chef Yotam Ottolenghi will cook a pop-up breakfast featuring the best of Ottolenghi’s Middle-Eastern-meets-Mediterranean flavours at his eponymous deli in Spitalfields, followed by a chance for guests to grill the man himself during an exclusive Q&A session.
At Carousel in Marylebone, the idea of bringing guest chefs to the city is the restaurant’s raison d’etre. They are home to an ever-changing lineup of talented chefs from around the world who share their philosophy of creating amazing cooking in a relaxed, shared environment. They have one sitting at 19:30 and guests dine together. Each guest chef takes up a fortnight’s residency before passing on the baton to the next chef. Currently in residence (until June 18) is Björn Persson of Gothenburg’s Michelin-starred restaurant Koka, which serves up accessible ‘West Swedish gastronomy’, exemplified by courageously conceived, beautifully executed dishes such as Skagerrak squid with chlorophyll-green leek oil and apple cider curd.
Next up will be Carl Ishizaki of Sushi Sho who will be cooking at Carousel from June 28 to July 9. Half-Swedish, half-Japanese, Carl has earned a cult following in Stockholm, where his Michelin-starred 12-seater restaurant serves up daily-changing tasting menus of beautifully crafted Japanese cooking.
Also in on the guest chef act is Lyle’s restaurant in Shoreditch, which presents the Guest Series, a way they have found to showcase some of the most talented chefs from around the world. Each dinner features a different chef that they think is doing incredible things. “I believe that a restaurant should never stand still. We are looking to constantly evolve. The Guest Series gives us an opportunity to see British produce in a new light,” explains James Lowe, head chef at Lyle’s. “The Guest Series gives us and our diners a chance to see what’s going on elsewhere – bringing the opportunity to experience some of the world’s best restaurants, without the airplane fare.”
This month they hosted Mitch Orr from Sydney, Australia and upcoming events include Jowett Wu of Ho Lee Fook, Hong Kong, on August 23 and Theis Brydegaard and Nicolai Nørregaard of Kadeau, Copenhagen, in September.
If you fancy a taste of top-notch international cuisine in the capital then start planning your next trip to London today.