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Honey-Poached Pears with Crème Fraîche

Honey-Poached Pears with Crème Fraîche

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons whole star anise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 6 medium firm but ripe pears (about 21/2 pounds), peeled, quartered, cored
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream

Recipe Preparation

  • Combine 2 1/2 cups water, honey, star anise, lemon juice, and sea salt in large saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add pears; reduce heat and simmer until tender, turning occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes, depending on ripeness. Using slotted spoon, transfer pears to medium bowl. Boil liquid and star anise until reduced to 1 cup syrup, about 22 minutes. Pour syrup with star anise over pears. Cover and chill until cold, about 2 hours. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.

  • Remove star anise from syrup. Divide pears and syrup among 6 bowls. Top each with dollop of crème fraîche and serve.

Recipe by Sara Kate Gillingham Ryan

Nutritional Content

One serving contains: Calories (kcal) 296.5 %Calories from Fat 12.9 Fat (g) 4.2 Saturated Fat (g) 2.7 Cholesterol (mg) 15.9 Carbohydrates (g) 67.9 Dietary Fiber (g) 5.0 Total Sugars (g) 56.2 Net Carbs (g) 62.9 Protein (g) 1.6 Sodium (mg) 45.5Reviews Section

Our Recipes

Pre-heat oven at 180C. Grease the base and sides od a 23cm loose-bottomed cake tin.

Thinly slice 2 of the oranges. Sprinkle the base of the cake tin with demerara sugar, then arrange the orange slices over the base in a slightly overlapping layer.

Cream the butter and caster sugar until pale and fluffy, then beat in 3 heaped tablespoons of marmalade, followed by the eggs.

Fold in the flour, ground almonds and a pinch of sea salt. Finely grate in the zest from the remaining oranges, and squeeze in all the juice and fold through.

Carefully pour the cake batter into the tin. Place in the oven and bake for about 50 minutes, or until golden and firm to touch.

Remove from the oven and allow to stand for a few minutes. Very carefully, while it&rsquos still slightly warm, turn out the cake onto a serving plate.

Prick holes in the cake with a skewer. Make a glaze by warming the rest of the marmalade in a pan with a little water. Spoon this over the cake.

Serve warm or at room temperature with yoghurt, cream or ice cream.

Buy the products used in this recipe


How to Make Poached Pears?

The first thing to do is to start with the right pears. Soft pears like Bartlett may be delicious, but less suitable for poaching. These are more likely to fall apart while cooking. Anjou pears may work, but the best pears for poaching are Bosc pears. These bronze-skinned pears are firm enough to hold their shape while poaching. They have an elongated neck, which also makes for a pretty presentation.

The other important part is the poaching liquid. You can customize it according to your taste, from the base to the spices. You can use water as we have or red wine. There are different spices that one can use in this recipe. Cinnamon goes very well with pear. But do not hesitate to experiment with sharper flavors like ginger. Even the sugar can be swapped for honey.

Poached pears, a delicious dessert for the holidays. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Poached Pear Serving Ideas

Poached pears are delicious when served cold or warm with just their syrup. But there are many other ways you can serve this fruit dessert:


You’ll need:

  • 4 pears, ripe, yet firm
  • 4 C water
  • 1/2 C Miele Apiaries Wildflower honey
  • 4-inch piece fresh ginger, sliced
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • 8 oz mascarpone (or crème fraîche, or ice cream)

Peel pears and halve them vertically. Scoop out the core with a spoon.

Bring water to a boil in a pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the honey and a squeeze of lemon, then add the ginger, cloves, anise, and cinnamon. Add the pears, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until pears can easily be pierced with a fork.

Remove pears and set aside. Remove and discard the cloves, cinnamon stick, ginger, anise, and half of the poaching liquid.

Add vanilla to the remaining liquid and simmer 30 minutes, uncovered, until the liquid reduces to a syrupy consistency. Serve each pear with a dollop of mascarpone and a drizzle of the syrup or on top of porridge with a splash of cream.


Cardamom Cake with Honey Buttercream for EyeSwoon

I first has the pleasure of of salivating over Evan Kalman’s creations at a floral design workshop that friends Michael & Darroch of Putnam & Putnam were teaching. Evan oh-so-beautifully prepared the most decadent French macarons for the class. I was instantly smitten with the craft, skill, and precision of Evan’s baking. His obvious passion and creativity certainly comes through in his confections, but what truly fascinates me is his desire to understand his ingredients — to break down each recipe into its core components and learn how they work with one another. He is a bit of a self-taught scientist in the baking arena and through fastidious research, he not only hones in on elements like the connection and balance of ingredients, but also ratios and technique. Since our initial meeting, Evan and I also collaborated on one of my all-time favorite posts on ES, these swoony and sexy black macarons! And, today’s recipe is like a winter wonderland of flavors, as citrus and cardamom mingle with a honey buttercream in the perfect cold-weather celebratory cake.

Cardamom Cake with Honey Buttercream

Cardamom Cake

  • 227 g (1 cup) unsalted butter – room temperature
  • 396 g (2 cups) granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs + 2 large egg yolks – room temperature
  • 10 oz (1 and 1/4 cups) whole milk – room temperature
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 390 g (2 and 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Honey Buttercream

  • 396 g (2 cups) granulated sugar
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 454 g (2 cups) cold unsalted butter – cut into 1” cubes
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 30 ml (2 tablespoons) vanilla extract
  • 90 ml (6 tablespoons) raw buckwheat or clover honey

Poached Pears

  • 1 liter of water
  • 198 g (1 cup) sugar
  • 4 Bosc pears – peeled with stem intact
  • Optional: Vanilla extract, cinnamon sticks, peppercorns, cloves, star anise, slices of fresh ginger, orange peel

Steps

Bake the Cake: Bring the cold ingredients to room temperature. The butter should be soft where you can easily press your thumb into it, about 60°F.

Grease three 6” circular cake pans and line each with parchment paper. Grease the paper and dust lightly with flour. Tap the pans to dump out the excess flour.

Sift the flour, cardamom, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. Mix the milk, orange zest, and vanilla together in a large measuring cup.

Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream the butter and sugar on low until blended, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to medium and beat until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape the bowl down as needed.

Staying at medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating for a full minute after each addition. Scrape the bowl down after each addition.

With the mixer on low, alternate adding 1/3 of the flour mixture followed by 1/2 of the liquid mixture, beating until combined after each addition. Scrape the bowl with a spatula between additions.

Divide batter between cake pans and smooth with a spatula. Bake until golden and a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes.

Cool the cakes for 15 minutes and then carefully turn out on a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the Buttercream: Add the egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.

Bring the sugar and 1/3 cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Clip a candy thermometer to the side and cook until the temperature reaches 238°F.

While the syrup is cooking, whisk the egg whites at medium speed until soft peaks, about 2 minutes. Once the syrup reaches 238°F, quickly pour the syrup down the side of the bowl keeping the motor running. Whisk the meringue on medium-high until stiff peaks form and the bowl cools down, about 8 minutes.

Switch to the paddle attachment, and beat in each piece of butter one at a time until emulsified. Once all the butter is incorporated, beat on high until the meringue becomes smooth and fluffy, about 8 minutes. Mix in the vanilla extract and honey, about 1 minute more.

Level the Cake: Place the cake on a cake stand dome-side up. Using a serrated knife, move the knife back and forth in a sawing motion to remove the crown. Keep the knife level as you cut. Repeat with the other cakes.

Frost the Cake: Fill a large piping bag fitted with a 1-inch tip with buttercream.

Place the first layer on a cake stand cut side up. Create a dam of buttercream about 1/4-inch from the edge of the cake. Fill the circle with about 1/2 cup of frosting, and top with the second layer cut side up. Gently press down to ensure the cake stays level. Repeat and top with the final layer bottom side up.

Crumb coat the cake to “glue” any crumbs down. Start by thinning about 1/2 cup of buttercream with a teaspoon or two of water. Spread a thin layer of icing onto the cake, and let it firm up in the refrigerator, about 30 minutes.

When the buttercream is firm, pipe about 1/3 cup of frosting on the top of the cake. Next, fill in the gaps between the layers with buttercream. You want to pipe enough frosting so that the buttercream overflows a bit.

Using an offset spatula and slowly turning the cake stand, smooth the top working any extra buttercream onto the sides. To smooth the sides, hold the spatula in place positioned straight up and down against the cake at a 45-degree angle. Spin the cake stand to remove any excess buttercream and expose the sides of the cake. Continue to smooth as necessary.

Top with Poached Pears: In a large saucepan, heat the sugar and water over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add in any optional ingredients, if desired.

Place the pears so they stand up in the saucepan and cook at a simmer until a knife slides easily into the pears, about 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and let cool in the poaching liquid. Place on top of the frosted cake.


Sunny-side up eggs on mustard-creamed spinach with crispy crumbs (page 38)

From Bon Appétit Magazine, February 2011 Bon Appétit Magazine, February 2011

Are you sure you want to delete this recipe from your Bookshelf. Doing so will remove all the Bookmarks you have created for this recipe.

  • Categories: Egg dishes Quick / easy Breakfast / brunch Cooking for 1 or 2
  • Ingredients: breadcrumbs Dijon mustard mustard seeds spinach half and half cream thyme eggs


Honey-Poached Pears with Crème Fraîche - Recipes

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Fall Favorites

With crunchy leaves underfoot and a distinct nip in the air, the wonderful season of autumn is one of our favorites, especially thanks to the beautiful bounty of produce that is now coming in from the Bella Luna gardens and orchards.

Crisp-crunchy apples. Mellow-sweet pears. Vibrant squash, foraged mushrooms and hearty kale. These colorful fall staples are re-inspiring us to get back in the kitchen, as we have been spending more and more of our hours at the stove experimenting with new recipes and rediscovering old favorites. We’re busy taking notes, too, as we plan ahead for a new series of classes and workshops here at the farm (more info soon!), but in the meantime, we invite you to cozy up, put on an apron and also get cookin’ with this round-up of beloved seasonal recipes. To fall!

Starters, Snacks & Salads
Beet, Cheddar & Apple Tarts
Thinly-sliced beets add beautiful color to these appetizer-sized tarts from Martha Stewart.

Kale Salad with Root Vegetables & Apple
Packed with crisp carrots, rutabagas and kale, this super-healthy salad from Food & Wine is incredibly refreshing.

Blue Cheese-Stuffed Roasted Pears with Arugula
Roasted and topped with cranberries, hazelnuts and blue cheese, these pears from the Barefoot Contessa are incredibly flavorful.

Veg Out!
Brown Butter Kale
This Tom Douglas recipe combines quality ingredients to bring out the inherently nutty flavor of this protein-rich green.

Savory Roasted Squash, Two Ways
After roasting, this side is topped with either fresh thyme, honey and walnuts, or hazelnuts and blue cheese, for a spectacular finish.

Stars of the Show
Butternut Squash Bisque
Creamy and supremely satisfying, this butternut squash-based soup is spiced with cinnamon, cayenne and thyme.

Chanterelle Mushroom Risotto
Creamy and delicious, this recipe is a favorite here at the farm—just remember to stir!

Sweet Dreams
Honey-Poached Pears with Crème Fraîche
This lovely, light dessert from Bon Appetit uses honey to draw out the mellow sweetness of fall pears.

Maple-Spiced Apples
These fragrant apples are wonderful served on top of pancakes or waffles.

Preserving Summer

After a beautifully-sunny summer, the mornings are now sometimes dawning crisp and cool and the farm is bustling with activity as we pick, pluck and harvest the summer garden vegetables and berries, plus the earliest pears and apples.

Once off vine and tree, this bounty makes its way to the farm kitchen, where we spend days and evenings crafting them into jams and preserves. In addition to berry and fruit preserves, our ‘jam sessions’, so to speak, include pickling vegetables such as cucumbers, cauliflower and onions, as well as crafting savory relishes from beets and corn. We also can many a fruit chutney (peach is a favorite) and whip up small batches of our Nonna Pat’s famous tomato sauce with vine-ripened tomatoes plucked fresh from the garden. (Another use for those beautiful summer tomatoes? The roast tomato ketchup recipe below!)

In all, we will stow over a thousand jars, sure to be beautiful reminders of glorious, sun-kissed summer during the cold winter months that will arrive all too soon.

Roast Tomato Ketchup

Ingredients:
4½ pounds tomatoes
3 teaspoons sea salt
1 bunch fresh thyme, leaves stripped from stems
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon allspice berries
½ teaspoon whole cloves
½ teaspoon black peppercorns
1½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 cups cider vinegar

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 300°.

2. Cut the tomatoes in half and arrange cut-side up on a roasting pan. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of the salt and all the thyme leaves and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Roast in the oven for 1½ hours.

3. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add the onion, and sauté until golden, about 10 minutes.

4. Put the allspice, clove and peppercorns in a spice grinder and grind to a powder. (You can also do this with a very sharp knife or by using a mortar and pestle.) Add spices to the onion and cook for 1 minute. Add the roasted tomatoes, sugar, mustard powder, vinegar and remaining 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat to a steady low bowl and cook for 30 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.

5. Blend to a thick sauce using a food processor or handheld blender. Pour into sterilized bottles and seal. Ketchup will keep up to 1 year stored in a cool, dry place.

Recipes courtesy of Homegrown Harvest.

Time to Jam

Summer is fruit season here in the Northwest, a glorious moment in time when we start to (literally) enjoy the fruits of our labors as a wide range of luscious, juicy berries ripen—from the organic Tulameen raspberries grown in our gardens to wild blackberries and sweet blueberries.

Our berries are lovingly hand-picked each morning during this season. Some go straight into our mouths for a delightful snack, others are destined for fresh fruit crisps. But, without fail, we also tuck away a supply for our housemade jam, which captures the wonderful, fresh flavors of summer for months to come. This month, it’s the juicy and ripe Tulameen raspberries that are headed for our jars.

The process is simple, with just a few quality ingredients included in our ‘uncooked’ recipe: organic fruit, organic sugar and pectin. That’s it. A quick stir and into the freezer it goes—and believe us, nothing beats pulling out a dollop in deep, dark winter to brighten up morning toast or to serve alongside freshly-baked scones.

Bee Happy

With the arrival of beautiful blooms and warmer temperatures, our native pollinators—namely the Orchard Mason bees and honey bees—are now busy, busy, busy collecting pollen and nectar. Here at the farm we help foster these bee communities in two separate ways:

First up, Mason Bees make their homes in tiny holes in tree trunks, reeds, natural small nooks, or in man-made structures like our new specialized Orchard Mason bee houses which were installed by Dave and Beth Richards of Woodinville’s JohnnyAppleBeez in sunny, south-facing spots here at the farm to help with crop pollination. These handmade cedar houses are filled with reed tubes that mimic the bees’ natural nesting spots. These busy, non-stinging bees are considered nature’s ‘super’ pollinators – pollinating up to more than eighty times as many flowers as honeybees do as they can work in cooler temperatures and start flying earlier in the spring, and are a welcome addition to the farm!

Then, the honey bees in our dedicated apiary are also abuzz with activity this spring, traveling from flower to flower to make honey to feed the brood in the hives. Honey bees form large organized colonies, or hives, usually in hollow tree trunks in the wild, which can contain as many as seventy-five thousand bees. The wooden bee hives we keep in the apiary usually contain around forty- to fifty-thousand female worker bees, and a single queen who lays all of the eggs to produce the young. These hives would look mighty familiar, as they are the same wood boxes that we use for our weekly deliveries! Stacked on top of each other, each two-box hive holds ten frames hanging from the inside lip of the box. This is where the bees make wax comb, store honey and pollen, and raise their young. In the spring we add extra shallower boxes to the tops of the hives, called supers, which is where the bees will store extra honey for winter this is the honey that we can harvest from the hives.

Working from dawn to dusk, our honey bees are true ‘sun-seekers’, unable to fly in the rain, or if it’s too cold. However, on nice days, they might travel as far as five miles to collect food. Here in Western Washington their main food sources for pollen and nectar are Bigleaf maple flowers, dandelions and salmon berry flowers in the spring, and then fireweed and blackberries in late summer.

We love seeing the busy Mason and honey bees buzzing on by—they are vital to the life cycle of the gardens and orchard, and to the food they help produce!


Sacramento Digs Gardening

As much as I love to bake with seasonal fruit in fall, sometimes I want to enjoy it as simply prepared as possible. That's especially true with pears, which get crowded out of the fall limelight by apples and all that pumpkin spice whatever.

Easy and delicious: A poached pear.
Pears are picked when still hard, so buy them a few days before you plan to use them. They ripen from the inside out, so test the flesh right near the stem it should feel just slightly soft. Bartletts ripen fastest, I've found, followed by the d'Anjou variety. Bosc pears are a little drier and grittier, but hold together well, so they're good for a dish like this.

This recipe is adapted from one by the late great James Beard in his "American Cookery." This classic cookbook is the first place I go when I want to find a solid basic recipe. I used local honey instead of the 1 1/2 cups of white sugar the original calls for, and it's still plenty sweet. Adjust the spice to your preference I considered using nutmeg or cardamom instead of the cloves. Cinnamon would work too, of course.

Serve the pears alone, in their syrup, or with crème fraîche, heavy cream or crème anglaise.

Honey-poached pears
Serves 6

A melon ball cutter works well for coring the pears.
Ingredients:

6 ripe but still firm pears, such as Bosc or d'Anjou
2 cups water
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cloves (or nutmeg, cardamom or cinnamon)

Peel the pears, leaving them whole with the stem. Use a melon ball cutter or a paring knife to core the pears from the bottom.

The peeled pears are cooked in the honey-sweetened liquid.
Bring the water, honey, vanilla extract and cloves to a boil in a 4-quart nonstick pot. Add the pears upright. (They may fall over it's OK.) Reduce heat, cover the pot and cook gently for about 15 minutes, until the pears test done with the tip of a knife. If they've fallen over, roll the pears around so that all sides spend some time cooking in the liquid.

Remove the pot from the heat, and let the pears cool in the liquid with the lid on. Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled, plain or with desired accompaniment.


The 2019 competition

The National Chef of the Year is one of the most prestigious culinary competitions. Previous winners have included Gordon Ramsay, Alyn Williams and Mark Sargeant – clearly this competition is a sign of future success! And I was able to watch the competition, which took place at the beginning of this month at The Restaurant Show in London.

Ten chefs laboured over two hours to produce three courses. Their brief was to produce:

  • A starter: this had to be bouillabaisse-style in terms of flavour, using under-utilised fish
  • A main: cuts of suckling pig
  • A dessert: to incorporate the currently seasonal pear – to show ‘technical skill, balance, and maximum flavour impact’

All the above to be produced with sustainability and seasonality in mind.

It was surprising that at least five of the contestants for the National Chef of the Year awards used red mullet in their starter, a fish which the Marine Conservation Society tells us “There is no assessment or management of red mullet stocks. This is a cause for concern as the species is taken in both targeted fisheries and as bycatch.” In terms of sustainability it’s at the bottom of their range. The fish may have been one specified by the organisers.

This was the final heat in a fierce competition between 140 chefs, all at the top of their game, many with Michelin stars. Initial selection was from paper entry, and then ten regional semi-finals.

The winner of 2019’s National Chef of the Year Award was Steve Groves, Head Chef of The Roux at Parliament Square

The winner was Steve Groves, Head Chef of Roux at Parliament Square, and a previous winner of Masterchef: The Professionals. We shouldn’t be too surprised at his victory. Groves’ cooking was reviewed by the notoriously hard-to-please Guardian restaurant critic, Jay Rayner, in the following terms:

“A fat ravioli of crab is submerged beneath a light champagne velouté and dressed with a dribble of bisque so intense it speaks of the virtuous equation of fish shells multiplied by heat and time. This is enlightened classicism, a clear display of gastronomic literacy. The kitchen has read old recipes and knows how to turn them to the light.”

Groves’ starter for the competition was another winning fishy combination, this time of red mullet with a shellfish mousse, and a bouillabaisse sauce.

For his main course he added Jerusalem artichokes, quince, hazelnuts, and trompettes to the statutory suckling pig. This dish certainly made a big hit with Gary Jones, Head Chef at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, and lead judge. In an interview with Big Hospitality, Jones explained that Groves’ entry had impressed him thanks to the good, strong, clean flavours and a menu that was not overcomplicated. But, in particular, Jones commented, “he served up the best crackling in the room, and I was salivating just looking at it.”

But his pud was ‘sticky’ in more ways than one… he produced a calvados baba, with honey poached pears and a crème fraîche Chantilly… but he was unhappy with it, and was on the point of redoing it. “It was a bit of a bad Baba”, he commented alliteratively.

On his restaurant’s website, Groves describes his approach to cooking as classical with a modern approach. He finds inspiration everywhere – it could be “a fantastic ingredient, a piece of artwork, a childhood memory or the great people I’ve worked with.”

It would be interesting to know where his Baba beckoned from!

Second place in the competition was won by Derek Johnstone

Second place in the competition was won by Derek Johnstone, Head Chef at Borthwick Castle, near Edinburgh, a fabulous historic venue for hire.

Johnstone started with sea bream, following with a saddle of suckling pig, and finishing with a poire William. His career has much in common with Groves’ – he too is a winner of Masterchef: The Professionals, and he’s also worked for Michel Roux Jr (at The Gavroche). A couple of years ago he joined Borthwick Castle – a fabulous venue just outside Edinburgh.

Johnstone started his career at the bottom: at age 16 he began working as a part-time commis chef while still studying at catering college. Not really a wine drinker, he prefers a local gin, with a slimline tonic. And he has entrepreneurial interests too. He’d be very interested to visit a London pie and mash shop with Lord Sugar.

Johnstone has launched a dining club at Borthwick, which focuses on local and seasonal food. His latest event, Tastes of Autumn, taking place on 16 November must have been inspired by his competition menu. He’s offering: seared fillet of sea bream, Shetland mussel tartlet, confit leek, scallop and shellfish essence loin of saddleback pork, celeriac, pickled quince, cabbage and braised pig’s head and pear William Chiboust, which is a vanilla poached pear, almonds, clementine and Valrhona dark chocolate.

Derek Johnstone’s starter: seared fillet of sea bream, Shetland mussel tartlet, confit leek, scallop and shellfish essence.

Nick Smith, the Head Chef at Vacherin, took third place

Nick Smith, the Head Chef at Vacherin, took third place.

  • a bouillabaisse of gurnard and, like the winner, Groves, red mullet livened with a rouille
  • Smith accompanied his suckling pig with yeasted artichoke, Savoy cabbage, hazelnuts and mustard
  • his pud was a poire William pear with rye crumble, raisins and clotted cream custard

Like Johnstone, Smith doesn’t work for a traditional restaurant. Vacherin is an independent, London-based caterer, focussed mostly on the corporate environment.

Smith was encouraged to enter the competition by his Executive Chef, Alan Eggleston, who had himself competed previously and made it to the semi-finals.

Smith is passionate about sugarcraft, having spent a week with Colin Martin at his School of Sugar in the Yorkshire Dales, learning the art of blown and pulled sugar – an impressive craft.

Among the remaining seven contestants there was:

Fraser Bruce, Head Chef at The Halsetown Inn

Fraser Bruce was working as Head Chef at The Halsetown Inn, having previously held the post of Head Chef at The Tate Gallery in St Ives.

  • Bouillabaisse from the south-west
  • Rack and braised shoulder of suckling pig rack, and Waldorf tart with celeriac and grapes
  • Poire Belle Hélène

The Halsetown Inn is a small, unpretentious, independent country pub in Cornwall. It may be small, it may not be glitzily well-known, but its commitment to local sourcing and to the environment in general, is big, it’s wholehearted and genuine. It

  • uses low carbon electricity generated by schemes such as the hydroelectric power station at Trelubbas, Helston
  • sources thoughtfully from as many local and sustainable producers as possible, particularly aiming to keep the carbon footprint to an absolute minimum
  • recycles all cardboard, paper, plastic, glass
  • uses biodegradable cleaning products
  • sends waste oil to be converted into biodiesel
  • uses recycled paper in the office and for menus, files, pens etc
  • supports StreetSmart, a charity for the homeless
  • supports Surfers Against Sewage

That’s quite a list! The support for Surfers Against Sewage may have come from Bruce’s youth – when growing up he wanted to become a professional surfer. But one day he found himself washing up in a kitchen, and the next thing he knew he was learning how to cook….

Marc Billings, Prestwold Hall

Marc Billings is a sous chef at Prestwold Hall, near Loughborough. Like Borthwick Castle, this is another venue for hire, specialising in weddings and other events. Billings’ menu went as follows:

  • hake bouillabaisse with cuttlefish, clams and orange
  • suckling pig shoulder and faggot with barley, mushrooms, pickled grapes and hazelnuts
  • and a Williams pear with Speculaas, berries and spice, and crème fraîche

You can hear what he had to say about the 2019 National Chef of the Year Award in this clip:

If you want to learn more about the 2019 Restaurant Show, there are posts about various panels that I attended, including Train to Retain and a session about storytelling and branding. I also attended a low and no alcohol beer tasting, which led to some surprising conclusions!


A former pastry chef at Berkeley's famed Chez Panisse restaurant, David Lebovitz is renowned for his easy-to-prepare yet spectacular desserts, and his devotion to seasonal ingredients. This enticing collection of more than 100 recipes is both varied and distinctive. For home cooks who crave down-to-earth desserts with a kick, Lebovitz offers such favorites as Berry Cobbler and Apple Cranberry Crisp. For chocolate lovers, he provides such rich indulgences as a Chocolate Cream Cake with Wine-Poached Pears and Dark Chocolate Souffle with Orange Sorbet.

In keeping with his guiding philosophy that desserts should be based on honest, unfettered flavors rather than fancy techniques or showy presentation, all of the recipes are simple and uncomplicated to prepare, even for the novice cook. Lebovitz also offers helpful advice on finding and selecting the very best seasonal fruits and other ingredients, helping home cooks ensure that their desserts are successful every single time. Lebovitz is not just a talented and innovative pastry chef--he is a gifted teacher who will inspire every reader with his clarity, insight, and passion for great desserts.