I admire anyone that works in a kitchen. I worked one day as a bottom rung commis last year as part of the charity Kitchen Inferno and it almost killed me. Into work at 7am, home at 11pm with no sitting down time. Chefs are a unique breed.
As we produce our Appetite eating guide each year we get to meet a lot of them and get a glimpse into the personalities of these dedicated and exacting professionals. To know them and understand a little of their personality traits perhaps helps us understand a little more about their food. What I do know is that if I get an invite to a Chef’s Table, I’m taking it.
If you’ve not been to the Radisson since they spent £1 million refurbishing the Waterfront Restaurant and Terrace last year then you’ll be surprised. The refurb saw the area contemporary yet classic club-feel, with cosy intimate nooks, soft lighting and deluxe furniture all complemented by understated nautical themes. What was clearly an enviable position in front of the harbour is now an even more inviting location. The evening was perfect as we arrived and we were offered refreshing gin and lemonades made with Rose lemonade. I have to admit, rose petal drink products aren’t always to my taste and often require a healthy dose of Lime to make me get in the swing but the lightness of this combination was softer and a refreshing start to dinner.
The guests for the evening’s event were varied and the Radisson’s strategy of arranging this style of dinner to show people their offering is inspired. Among the guests with us last month were representatives from Coutts, Visit Jersey’s Kevin Beecham and his wife and the Radisson’s General Manager Fergus O’Donovan along, of course with chef Vincent Duffy who had one foot in the kitchen and another under the table as de facto master of ceremonies. Vince took to his feet to introduce himself and give an overview of the evening’s events. He is clearly a seasoned professional that has enjoyed a rich career, from cooking at the Belfry to the home of Alex Ferguson since he was awarded ‘Young Scottish Chef of the Year’ early in his career.
The evening’s menu started with a tasty Jersey lobster and smoked salmon terrine which was light and pleasant. The next course was an opportunity for a slice of crowd participation as Vincent took two guests into the kitchen to introduce them to the world of catering under pressure, having to make and serve Oriental duck spring rolls to the table. It was quirky and certainly entertained the table ahead of the main course arriving. A full rack of lamb is a sight to behold. It may be inherent Welsh patriotism but I do like a rack of lamb. This one was enormous and came with seconds that, thanks to the light terrine and subtle spring rolls, I was happy to make room for.
The conversation was engaging as we discussed trumpet playing, the future of Jersey tourism and the merits of summers spent in Jersey.
Trying to identify what makes Jersey unique over a bottle of wine staring out at St Helier marina was almost a question that answered itself. The answer; it’s hard to put your finger on, but you know it’s something. I think we might have needed another bottle to get more definitive.
The dessert was billed as a surprise and it was a dish of 80s legend; a baked Alaska. It was my first but as a fan of the constituents – fundamentally meringue and ice cream – it wasn’t going to go far wrong for me. It seemed to go around well all around the table. That was the nature of the evening; light and refreshing throughout. It re-connected me to the Radisson as a space and helped me remember what’s best about both eating out and looking for the best of Jersey. I’ll be heading back there for another bottle of wine and some more problem solving sometime soon.
Radisson BLU Waterfront Restaurant
Reservations; +44 1534 671100