Johnny’s Diary #1: When Johnny met Fabien

I love to cook and I love to entertain and give people a great time. Combining both of those passions into a career has been an amazing experience. Over 40 years ago, I started working in “catering” – as it was known then – first in a bar, then learning to cook, then working in restaurants and hotels around the world.

Fast-forward to now and I still get to do the things I love; not so often and not so complicated, but I still get to do it. I would like to tell you a little bit about a very special experience which I had about two months ago while away on a business trip to Cannes in the south of France. The real estate exhibition MIPIM was taking place and we organized a private dinner for our partners.

Fabien and I, together we delivered a memorable evening for our guests.

Our chef for the evening was Fabien Morreale, and with a small team of assistants, he created and, together, we delivered a memorable evening for our guests. We were, like always, a little playful. The champagne on arrival was, in fact, a traditional French champagne and an “imposter” from England. As we all know, méthode champenoise wines are available throughout the world, but this 2013 Blanc de Blancs from Harrow and Hope from Marlow, England, achieved huge praise on the evening, arguably matching, or even beating, the quality of the Deutz NV champagne on offer.

Our chef Fabien created an amazing menu.

We were also treated to some show cooking by Fabien on the terrace, where he prepared a pan-fried red mullet, with red mullet butter and grated bottarga (the dried roe of the gray mullet). A true piece of food theater under the evening sky.

After our guests sat down, we served an incredible fresh vegetable salad with a soft fried egg, in an amazing crust. A real mix of textures and tastes that delighted our guests. This was followed by a bowl of delicate pasta caviar with a smooth yellow wine emulsion.

After some show cooking on the terrace, Fabien and his team served this incredible fresh vegetable salad.

After a short break for speeches, we served a main course of fillet of beef, baked in puff pastry to medium rare, accompanied by fresh asparagus and truffle juice.

Finally, dessert proved to be another amazing experience with a strawberry and thyme macaroon with the strawberries cleverly macerated in olive oil. Again, the textures and flavors delighted. Fabien has a genius talent for finding really simple, flavourful ingredients and combining them in unique ways.

This amazing dessert-combination out of a strawberry and thyme macaroon was the delightful last course of the evening.

It was a huge honour to spend the evening with Fabien and his team, who delivered all of this amazing food with a domestic kitchen, one electric oven, and a hob, as you would find in any apartment. The secret, as we always say in the kitchen, is in the preparation. Fabien has been cooking since he was 20 years old, including his time in Michelin star restaurants and with Marco Pierre White. He now runs his restaurant Le Garage and his passion is for all things seasonal and fresh. I learned from him how important local produce is and how he is determined not to get too famous!

So, that is it. Johnny met Fabien. An Englishman met a Frenchman and it worked. We share the same passions and I am sure we will remain friends for years to come. That’s why #WELOVEFOOD at #ECE.

About Jonathan Doughty

Jonathan DoughtyJonathan Doughty became known in 1993 as founder and Global Managing Director of Coverpoint Foodservice Consultants based in the UK. One of Jonathan Doughty's outstanding abilities is to design new dining areas and food courts for new and existing shopping centers. He and his team will analyze the potential of ECE's around 150 portfolio centers for new and refurbishment food projects and implement them.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *