Doing our part in preserving our planet's bounty can be immensely rewarding, as guests at a T.Dining X Miele Masterclass on zero-waste cooking discovered. Hosted by two charming top chefs—Jaan’s Kirk Westaway and Cheek by Jowl’s Rishi Naleendra—at the Miele Lounge on World Environment Day in June, guests were intrigued by the beautifully simple solutions both chefs shared.
No doubt, the idea of getting the most out of an ingredient makes immediate sense when you’re working with prized pickings from the land and sea, as Westaway confidently highlighted with his seasonal showcase of the Irish turbot.
He shared that while it would be easy to work with only the fillet and discard the rest of the fish, the gelatinous edges closest to the fins actually add flavour and texture to this delicate dish. Assembling various cuts of the fish neatly in a mold he had custom made using recycled materials, the fish is lightly marinated with quality olive oil and gently cooked in a water bath. Simple enough. But there's more to ingenious simple magic to be done.
The rest of the fish is used to make a stock which is reduced with some stock made with razor clams to make a bright and deliciously nuanced pea veloute. This is served with the fish and dressed in a garden of peas, broad beans, sugar snap peas, asparagus tips and other seasonal greens from Europe.
Westaway also showed how something as simple as kelp that would have been used to make dashi could then be dried and blended to make a powder that’s used to season tart shells, which he uses to construct a canape of obsiblue prawn crowned with daisy petals.
It was a generous sharing of ideas and ideals that Naleendra echoed in his presentation in which he moved the spotlight away from expectedly pricey ingredients. Casting it onto the well-loved yet often overlooked liver, he walked guests through the making of a classic chicken liver parfait.
This was also a less indulgent recipe that left out the use of foie gras, which Naleendra chooses to avoid for ethical reasons. Instead, he plays up the light creaminess of the liver parfait by serving it in a biscuit roll with freshly made date jam. There was a bright and balanced acidity to the jam that lifted the entire dish. And he explains that this is achieved with the addition some of the house pickling liquid—the same liquid he uses to regularly pickle vegetables—to prove again how simple it is to be prudent in the kitchen.
Granted, it helps when chefs of Michelin-starred restaurants demonstrate it, but there is something inherently sexy about the ethos of cooking with minimal waste. And the guests lapped it all up.
Here’s a quick look at what went down:
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