This week over 60 of the regions’ top chefs, foodies and restaurateurs came together to celebrate the launch of a unique cookbook – the Relish guide to the North West and Cheshire.
Representing the top 20 restaurants across the region; the book features a starter, mains and pudding from each establishment’s head chef. The book serves two purposes: a glossy, stylish cookbook for the more adventurous home cook who wants to turn out restaurant inspired dishes AND a great guide of what’s great/where to eat across the region.
To celebrate the launch we were treated to a three course meal from three of the featured chefs’ dishes from the book (a course each no less), plus some wonderful wines supplied by Boutinot.
First up was the North West’s poster boy; Andrew Nutter, who has been involved with the North West’s dining scene since the tender age of 21 and now heads up the family run Nutters in Rochdale. Andrew’s starter of brill with roast pepper crust, seared scallops and black pudding ticked all the boxes for me. The fish (supplied by Neve) was light and fell apart, the sweet scallops expertly seared and caramelised around the edges, with thin slices of black pudding adding a delicate but earthy porcine element that brought the whole dish together.
The main dish highlighted not only the exceptional cooking of Chris Holland from the Alderly Edge Restaurant, but fabulous local produce supplied by W.H.Frost Butchers of Chorlton (the lamb sourced from Cheshire). Chris presented his dish; tasting of lamb, hot tomato terrine and basil croquette, beautifully. The lamb was succulent; small nuggets of cannon sitting alongside a salty, deeply savoury shoulder confit and a crispy sweetbread to mix it up in the areas of both taste and texture. A real love song to a sheep this dish and something chef Holland can be very, very proud of.
Pudding was a deconstructed brulee flavoured with maunka honey, with burnt sugar jelly and delightful, crunchy honeycomb; all exceptionally cooked and presented by Stuart Thompson, Head Chef at Harvey Nichols’ Second Floor Restaurant. The ingenious addition of bitter grapefruit segments cut through the almost cloying sweetness of the rest of the dish and the honeycomb added a welcome crunch.
The event was a great opportunity to meet some of the North West’s top chefs and suppliers; including the creative seasonality of Robert Owen Brown from the Mark Addy and the wonderful Ed Cross of Boutinot Wines. I had a great chat with ROB about his commitment to seasonality and spoke to the chefs at Chester Racecourse’s 1539; whilst trying to turn down the many glasses of wine passed my way by the ever sociable Andrew Nutter (I failed miserably, thanks Andrew!).
Relish Greater Manchester and Cheshire is a glossy and well presented testament to the creativity and volume of aptitude the North West has to offer and is worth seeking out even if you don’t attempt to create alginate water so you can create spheres of fish stock for your tasting of langoustine; it’s just lovely to see North West talent being given the platform it deserves (and of course helping me choose where my next meal is coming from!).
Relish Northwest and Cheshire is available at Harvey Nichols Manchester, Amazon, bookshops across the region and through the restaurants/hotels featured for the reasonable price of £17.50. It can also be purchased direct from Relish here. And don’t fear those in other regions, as Relish produces a book for each of you too!