by Louisa Walters
Being a food blogger means that the odd ‘can’t possibly say no’ invitation may come your way, and this week I was lucky enough to be invited to a very special lunch by a very special team at a very special venue. Food Story, the UK’s newest and finest caterer that just happens to be kosher, hosted a tasting event at Claridge’s hotel to showcase some of their new dishes. So it was off with the workday tracksuit and trainers, on with the dress and heels and out the door to London’s premier hotel. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it.
Being at this iconic hotel on a random weekday afternoon is a treat in itself, but what Food Story laid on took ‘treat’ to a whole new level. Perfectly chilled champagne and summery lemon & sumac non-alcoholic cocktails accompanied a beautifully presented and truly innovative range of canapes: zucchini rolls with crushed edamame and mint, duck latkes with blood orange gel, beef carpaccio with truffle, a miniature steak sandwich with mustard mayonnaise and, my favourite, ‘fruit pastel’ skewers with lemon balm and violet fragments – a literal explosion of sweetness in the mouth.
Fifty journalists and bloggers were seated at an on-trend long table (round tables are so last year) beautifully dressed with contemporary woven linen and decorated with tasteful summer flowers by resident Claridge’s florist McQueens. And then we were walked through four ‘Acts’ of the most refined kosher cooking I have ever experienced. Course after course of beautiful, refined flavours and artistic presentation, finished with a seriously pretty (on the palate as well as the plate) dessert. A light, soft sole with sauce vierge and basil, accompanied by matchstick fries (pictured above); tender lamb with a hint of smokiness from blackened aubergine nicely balanced with a creamy tahini; sea bass with Israeli couscous and lemon puree (above right) and then, to finish, s’mores (above left) with banana puree and marshmallow – seriously tasty fun!
The dream team behind Food Story comprises chef David Swann, formerly of Gordon Ramsay and the Fat Duck and Managing Director Matt Rickard, formerly of the Mandarin Oriental. With this level of expertise behind it, it’s no wonder that Food Story is reinventing kosher cuisine.