This April, the tables were turned on the media's top restaurant critics, who laid down their pens and donned their chef whites to prepare an exclusive dinner judged by some of the UK's finest chefs and restaurateurs. The night raised £39,183 for Action Against Hunger's international work.
Action Against Hunger were thrilled to bring back this night of great fun, fundraising and food at the acclaimed Hawksmoor Guildhall.
Photos ©Samuel HauensteinSwan - http://sambronx.4ormat.com/too-many-critics
On Sunday 15th April, a team of top food critics led by Charles Campion (London Evening Standard) and Bill Knott (The FT) prepared a three course meal for 120 lucky guests at the acclaimed Hawksmoor Guildhall.
Welcomed to the venue with a Champagne Taittinger reception, our guests then enjoyed the fun as Nigel Barden (BBC) hosted a night of kitchen antics. The critics were watched on a live video feed as they preparee dishes for a room dotted with top chefs including Clare Smyth, Anna Hansen, Pierre Koffmann, Bruno Loubet, Masterchef winner and finalist Shelina Permalloo and Andrew Kojima and figures from accross the food industry.
The critics served delicious smoked eel from Severn and Wye Smokery, carved and 'Ginger Pig' roast beef at the tables whilst watched by our discerning guests. The piece de restistance was Fay Maschler's raspberry crumble with rhubarb custard, a Simon Hopkinson recipe. That's not all however; Charles, Bill, Tracey and Lucas went a step further, preparing additional special elements for the night.
Photos ©ACF, courtesy S.HaunsteinSwan & Jon Dunne
Nigel Barden is the food & drink presenter on the Simon Mayo Show on Radio 2, as he was for 4 years on the Sony Gold winning Chris Evans Show. He’s also on the Robert Elms Show on BBC London & the Shaun Keaveny Show on BBC 6 Music. Formerly Nigel was a Yorkshire based wine merchant, before heading to drama school in London in 1990, when he also started reviewing restaurants on GLR (Greater London Radio).
He hosted the Drinking Out Excellence Awards (2010 & 2009) & judged the Britvic Business Food & Drink Journalist Awards for the past 3 years. He compered the launch of Nintendo Super Mario, the Time Out Eating & Drinking Awards 2005-6, the Havana Club & Stolichnaya Cocktail Championships & presented a piece on the International Cocktail Grand Prix in Cuba, for BBC1. He fronted the Cuban Music Awards Concert in Battersea Park. He contributes to the BBC1 Inside Out programme & filmed a piece on Freegans, having lived as one & on Pop Up Restaurants earlier this year.
The fantastic participating critics were Charles Campion (London Evening Standard), Bill Knott (the FT), Richard Vines (Bloomberg), Fay Maschler (London Evening Standard), Tom Parker Bowles (The Mail on Sunday, Esquire) Giles Coren (The Times), Jay Rayner (The Guardian, The Observer), Tracey MacLeod (The Independent) and Lucas Hollweg (The Sunday Times).
Photo of Jay Rayner © Karen Robinson
Photo of Lucas Hollweg © Tara Fisher
Hawksmoor Guildhall opened in October last year, and has already proven itself a popular addition to the Hawksmoor clan. As with the Seven Dials restaurant, owners Will and Huw have spent an unhealthy amount of time working on menu and interior tweaks, and Hawksmoor Guildhall is already well on its way to becoming famous for its generously proportioned breakfasts.
With Hawksmoor’s Executive Chef Richard Turner in charge of the new kitchen, diners are able to take their pick from several new dishes alongside the famous steaks, burger and chips.
The interior was overseen by Macaulay Sinclair, and reflects some of the heritage and traditions of the City – the heart of Old London. Inspired touches include the use of reclaimed materials such as specimen cabinets from the Natural History Muesum.
"Quite simply the best steak I have ever eaten in this country." – Jay Rayner, The Observer
Champagne Taittinger has supported Action Against Hunger for over a decade, and will be continuing their support by sponsoring the Champagne Taittinger reception at Too Many Critics.
Champagne Taittinger is widely available at restaurants and on the high street at Waitrose, Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda, Oddbins, Threshers, Majestic, Harrods, Fortnum & Mason and many other independent specialists.
Bibendum is one of the UK’s leading independent wine merchants, supplying both trade and private customers from its base in Primrose Hill, London. Having begun life as a shop in 1982, Bibendum has evolved over the years to supply a wide range of customers across the UK and, more recently, Europe. Its success has been based on its stand out wine range but also on its innovative staff training programmes, award-winning trade marketing and industry-leading consumer insights. All of these are designed to help our customers sell more wine and drive higher profits. Find out more at www.bibendum-wine.co.uk
Caffé Musetti are long term Action Against Hunger supporters, who focus on providing exceptional speciality coffee products, backed by first-rate customer support - prompt and reliable deliveries, as well as excellent staff training - a step above the rest.
In the UK they are delighted to supply such hotels as: The Ritz, Claridges, The Dorchester, The Hilton Park Lane, The Connaught, The Savoy, The Hyatt and The Berkeley. As well as many upmarket cafes, restaurants and chains.
Severn and Wye Smokery are bespoke fish smokers located between the Rivers Severn and Wye. Both Rivers and the smokery have a long history connected to the local eel fishery.
The Eel supplied this evening will be the first farmed eel to have attained "The Sustainable Eel Standard". This a project that started over two years ago bringing together scientists, environmentalists fishermen farmers and processors committed to producing a sustainable fish that we are proud to be associated with.
There is no great secret to what the Ginger Pig do: they simply raise the best animals, in the happiest of circumstances, on the finest stretch of Yorkshire Moors they could find. Only by ensuring that their pigs, cattle and sheep receive the highest level of care can they be sure their customers will receive the quality they have come to expect. It's not a philosophy or mission statement. It's just what they do.
The Redemption Brewing Company began producing its fine craft ale in north London in January 2010. A contemporary urban vision is paired with traditional brewing methods, while only the finest hops and grains are used. The result is a range of six award winning beers offering subtle flavours like citrus, peach and chewy caramel. Redemption's newest offering ‘Fellowship Porter’ tickles the taste buds with hints of chocolate, liquorice and dark fruit. It was recently voted the ‘Best Porter or Stout’ in the Southeast of England by the Society of Independent Brewers.
The brewery has a strong social conscience and places great value on its role within the Tottenham community. Green energy is used for electricity while spent grain from the brewing process is donated locally for composting and animal feed.
Paul A Young is a ground breaking and inspirational chocolatier who is at the forefront of the British chocolate scene. Trained as a chef before moving into the world of chocolate, Paul’s passion for his craft and his cutting edge creativity have won him numerous awards and led to him being ranked amongst the world’s best chocolatiers. Paul now has three chocolateries in London including a flagship store on Wardour Street in Soho.
The key success of the night was a fantastic auction, contributed to by some fantastic donors. A huge thank you to:
The Redemption Brewing Company Ltd., The Broad Gallery, Chris Tarrant, Paul.a.Young, Oud Sluis, Hotel de Tuilereën, Jason Goodwin, RIB Voyages, The Saracens, Paintball UK, Cotswolds Wildlife Park, The Cinnamon Kitchen, Galvin Bistrot de Luxe, Bellaria, La Porte des Indes, Geronimo Inns, The Cuckoo Club, www.steakknives.co.uk, Spode, The Portmeirion Group, Southern Pursuits, Kololi, Phil Thompson, Auberge du Lac, Bistrot Bruno Loubet, Dock Kitchen, Vinoteca, Opera Tavern, The River Cafe, Ascot Park, La Cucina Caldesi, Alex Preston, Polpetto, ECB, Artballing Ltd., Selma Dabbagh, Simon Lelic, Stephen Kelman, Michelle Harrison, Esi Edugyan, Cat Clarke, Alex Preston, Sir Michael Parkinson, Ben Fogle & James Cracknell, and Arlington Enterprises.