• Simon Mckenzie

It's Lights Dimmed and Away We Go...



OK, first off lets get the apologies out of the way. Apart from cooking and everything to do with food, my other passion is Formula 1. So I couldn't resist the reference in the title of the blog.


It may be that I am still on a high after my first pop-up event under my own brand. Finally it was everything the way I wanted and everything went off amazingly.


Its not that I need to have my own way and won't listen to anyone else's opinions unless I give them to them first - wow, I've just described almost every chef's personality - it's just nice to have final say after considering opinions.


Anyway, I'm moving far way from the article I'm writing so lets bench that argument (fact) for another time shall we/



British Game Dinner


The evening started with the usual glasses of fizz whilst everyone introduced themselves to each other and the standard huddles of conversation began.


Once everyone was at home, guests took their seats and it was time for me to stand completely out of my comfort zone.


Now, there has been many a time when I've stood up on a stage on Guernsey, in London, Brighton to name just a few, in front of large crowds and chatted away completely at ease. Last night was different. Why you ask, well there was no one comparing this time. There was no festival organiser or confident colleague to draw attention and start. All of a sudden it was me, out there on my own, all eyes burning into me waiting with expectations.


Now this is the crazy thing, all of a sudden I could just feel myself naturally slip into dialogue. Like all of the hosts I have worked with in the past, I naturally welcomed everyone to the event, explained the evening format, made some introductions and then got the ball rolling.


Now for all or any of you reading this you may well think to yourself, "what's the problem?", well all though in the kitchen I am the alpha of the pack - always. When I step out of my domain I have always felt awkward doing what I do naturally, until last night that is.


I even had the confidence at the end to pull all the team together with a glass of fizz and gain everyones attention to thank everyone for coming and also thank the team.


the point of bringing all of that up was really because I'm proud of myself and now know that any obstacle - no matter how awkward a moment - I can naturally and without thinking overcome.


So The Event


Once everyone had sat I introduced my friend Leon from he British Game Alliance who did a talk about British game and sustainability. Then the cooking demo.


I showed my guests how to prepare venison and partridge, explaining methods of cookery and times as well as some tips on garnishes.


I then taught everyone how to make a great venison sauce as well as a really hearty game broth.


Next I explained how to start a fermentation for sour dough and introduced them to my second child - Freddy.


Freddy was born around 6 days ago and is amazing. He has that new born slightly sweet/acidic smell. He's a little needy and requires a good feed at night and a warm area to snooze away while he bubbles and does his thing getting ever more gassy.


We then went on to make sour dough and explain all about bread and flours and all sorts of things no one had any idea about when it comes to the bread industry.


After a mid way g&t everyone was happily taking notes, asking questions and getting tips. finally it was time to wrap up and after a little top up of fizz, time to take seats for dinner.



First course was Partridge with a smokey bacon chop croute, a partridge boudin I made with the livers from the partridge, a shallot lyonnaise, chicken mousse, partridge jus, flaked braised partridge legs and a splash of sherry vinegar.


Main course was loin of venison, celeriac e'spuma, pomme puree, buttered Savoy cabbage, root vegetables and venison jus


Dessert was a honeycomb parfait, espresso chocolate mousse, black cherry ice cream and praline.


I was super happy with all of the food and the comments back were amazing. I was so proud of what we achieved and the professionalism of how we pulled it off which if I'm honest is down to sourcing the amazing team members we did. Everyone in the team were committed to making the evening a success and using their own personal areas of expertise made everything run like clockwork and attention to detail outstanding - something I 9no one) could do single handedly.


To round off - in case you've missed the underlying theme here - I'm so massively proud and happy and can't wait for next Saturday at Drifters coffee shop where I try and pull off (and will) a 4 course tasting menu with Prosecco on arrival without a professional (or domestic) kitchen to use - hope to see you there.





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