Sunday 27 January 2013

Fraiche, Marc Wilkinson & the BBC

Yesterday I received a tweet then a phone call from one of the producers of BBC 1’s Breakfast show - in response to an article  published in the Independent Newspaper (see here) They were after a food blogger to talk about the rights and wrongs / dos and don’t of the ever increasing trend of diners taking photos of food in restaurants.

A handful of restaurateurs in New York (especially) have decided to ban photography altogether. David Chang who runs the Momofuku restaurants has never permitted photography in his 2 Michelin starred ‘Ko’ (This didn’t stop me blogging about it – see here).

Marc Wilkinson's Michelin starred Fraiche
This is unusual (unheard of?) in British restaurants but I do believe some restraint and respect for other diners and the chefs is needed.

In the article three for the North West’s finest chefs, Marc Wilkinson (of Michelin starred Friache), Aiden Byrne and Simon Rogan offer their opinions that seem to generally agree with mine. Another opinion was offered by my fellow bloggers (and excellent photographers), The Critical Couple.

When I take pictures I always use my small, compact Panasonic Lumix LX5 camera. I never use flash and try and to be as discrete as possible.

I have seen people getting out of their seat to take pictures at different angles; getting their dining companions to hold plates at different angles; using tripods and cameras with interchangeable lenses (many of which, I’m guessing, are considerably larger than their penis.)

I have seen some blogs where people seemingly take a photograph after every bite… I rarely do this unless wanting to show off a perfectly poached egg, a pink juicy steak or an oozing chocolate pudding.

Of course, I wasn’t the BBC’s first choice but Food Blogger / Journalist Simon Binns who writes Eat / Drink / Manchester (see here) was unable to make the entire show.

Despite the fact that it would have made my ole’ mum proud; with a face much more suited to radio than TV I decided to turn down the offer of this potential route to international stardom and instead set my alarm to ridiculous o’clock to watch Mr Wilkinson and Mr Binns offer their opinions.

If you were also lucky enough to be dining at Fraiche one Sunday lunchtime in November last year, it may have been me at the other table taking photos of every course. If you were, I apologise if my picture taking in anyway intruded on your enjoyment of the excellent experience Fraiche strive to offer.

To Marc, I apologise if any of my pictures do not ‘do justice’ to your food (hopefully that’s where my words come into play).

To any readers that, a) were not there, or b) are not Marc Wilkinson – I hope the pictures tempt you enough to make a booking and go and experience (and perhaps photograph) Fraiche’s amazing food for yourself!

Course / Photoset 1: Goat’s cheese cream with edible soil, grissini and beetroot and seaweed wafers.

Course / Photoset 2: A dish inspired by the a ‘Spanish Omelette’ – quail’s egg, chorizo jelly, crispy shallots, potato cream and, an ingredient that would improve many a Spanish Tortilla…  a few shavings of the excellent Montgomery Cheddar.

Course / Photoset 3: Fraiche’s usual bread selection, Mk.1: Cheese, Five Nut, Mixed Seed and Granary & Treacle.

Course / Photoset 4: Scallops with smoked butter and lime served alongside a Scallop Ceviche with clams, oyster leaf, yuzu jelly with samphire and brioche.

Course / Photoset 5: Fraiche’s usual bread selection, Mk.2: Organic Oat, Tomato, Mushroom and Black Olive.

Course / Photoset 6: Monkfish Tail with black olive, chive and hazelnut crust. Garnished with blood orange gelée, black olive purée, hazelnut powder and a black rice crisp.

Course / Photoset 7: Black Face Suffolk Lamp Rump with pea shoots, pea purée, braised salsify, Girolles, roasted shallots and a mustard and mint dressing.

Course / Photoset 8: ‘Cheese brûlée’ of Camembert, cherries, hazelnut, almond and pan d’épices and a Sour Cherry Pannacotta with dehydrated grapes.

Course / Photoset 9: My cheese selection - Munster, Bleu de Basque, Taupiniere, Époisses de Bourgogne and Camembert Calvados and, knowing it’s my favourite, James squeezed a little wedge of Livarot on the slate too. To go with the fairly typical quality cheese selection at Fraiche I particularly enjoyed the new condiment on the menu of Pickled Blueberries made with blueberry vinegar and thyme.

Course / Photoset 10: After Eight with chocolate and mint textures – snow, soil, granita, sorbet and shards of meringue and tempered chocolate and Vanilla Rice Pudding with fresh mango, mango sorbet, topped with a nutty wafer.

Course / Photoset 11: As usual, I ended the meal with a fresh mint tea and a selection of petit fours including a bit of table theatre with an espuma gun and a dewar of liquid nitrogen.

‘Three is a crowd’ but my wife, my camera and me will be at Fraiche on Valentine’s Night. My wife and I will be sharing our love for each other and a love for Fraiche and Marc’s food. Afterwards, I’ll be sharing my love for Marc’s food with you! 

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