CHEF CONCIERGE • January 2020
With a new year comes a new appetite for dining, and we’re not the only ones eager to push culinary frontiers. From Tokyo to Tel Aviv, The Club chats to some of the world’s most innovative chefs to find out which restaurants they’ll make a trip to in the year ahead
Says who: Daniel Clifford, chef patron at Midsummer House
I have always admired Alain Ducasse. The one restaurant of his I really want to visit is Le Louis XV - Alain Ducasse à l'Hôtel de Paris in Monaco. The hotel is in Monte Carlo’s Casino Square and allows diners to eat in one of the capital’s finest settings. I hear the menu is diverse, exciting and experimental, and I’m always looking for new ideas and inspirations, so this seems like the perfect fit.
Says who: Miles Kirby, co-founder of Caravan Restaurants
In 2019, Peter Gordon, a great friend and mentor of mine, closed his London restaurant, The Providores and Tapa Room. This December I’ll be in New Zealand to see family and friends for Christmas, and while I’m there I will visit Peter’s The Sugar Club in Auckland, where I can order some of his old and new classics that have influenced so much of my own cooking.
Says who: Hélène Darroze, chef patron of Hélène Darroze at The Connaught
My choice would be Mirazur, on the French-Italian border in Menton. Mauro Colagreco is a chef I have long respected, especially now with his double distinction in 2019: three Michelin stars and voted number one by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. I love Mauro’s approach to local ingredients; he cooks with a lot of respect to taste, but also uses creativity that appears deceptively simple.
Says who: Anne-Sophie Pic, chef patron at Maison Pic
The choice is so difficult! If I had to choose, I think my first choice would be Frantzén, Stockholm. Chef Björn Frantzén’s cuisine is rooted in a northern land, but influenced by his travels, especially in Asia. As a restaurateur he pays as much attention to what he puts on the plate as to his customers’ overall experience.
Says who: James Lowe, head chef at Lyle's
I'm most looking forward to travelling to Tel Aviv later this year. I’m cooking at a four-day food event – a really good opportunity to tap into local food culture. A couple of friends of mine have visited in the past year or two and they loved the vibrant mix of grilled food, vegetables, herbs and freshly baked breads. One restaurant I want to go to is HaBasta, to try the famous cherry salad with fried brains and sumac.
Says who: José Pizarro, chef owner of José Pizarro restaurants
In 2020 I really want to return to El Meson de Doña Filo in Colmenar del Arroyo, Madrid. I worked there when I was younger and learnt under Julio Reoyo and his wife Inma Redondo. The food is very personal to them and the restaurant’s atmosphere is so charming and familiar. It has a traditional base but is very creative. I’m taken off guard by the flavours and execution of the dishes, so I want to see what new things they’ll be doing next.
Says who: Tomos Parry, head chef and owner, Brat
If I could go anywhere in the world, I’d head straight to SingleThread Farm in Healdsburg, California. I spent a couple of weeks there before opening Brat and it was so inspirational. Founders Kyle and Katina Connaughton have struck a great balance, as it has fine-dining elements but still feels organic, relaxed and rustic. Everything is very seasonal; most produce comes from their farm and is served to you pretty much straight away.
Says who: Russell Norman, founder of Polpo
The restaurant at the top of my hit list is Trattoria Cammillo in Florence. It’s old school and traditional, and tends to be frequented by locals, regulars and Florentine aristocracy rather than tourists. I have a trip booked in February and it definitely fits the bill as it tends towards the generous and comforting, perfect for warming up those chilled bones. I intend to leave the choice of dishes to the restaurant. To drink, it has to be a Campari and soda followed by a local Chianti Classico.
Says who: Eddie Pellicano, executive chef at Maõs
It has to be INUA, Tokyo, whose menu applies a Scandinavian approach to seasonal Japanese ingredients. I came across their cooking recently at a dinner in London. I love what they are doing and was blown away by their creative use of flavours and techniques. One of the stand-out dishes was a dessert of blackened koji ice cream with cherrywood oil and pine cones preserved in honey.
Says who: Richard Corrigan, chef patron of Corrigan's Mayfair and Daffodil Mulligan
Top of the list is Aimsir in Kildare, Ireland. They received two Michelin stars after just four months of opening – which is mind-blowing. It’s run by husband and wife team, Jordan and Majken Bech Baily, who are good friends of mine and share my passion for homegrown ingredients.