Ever since Jamie Oliver clucked and giggled his way through those scrummy dinners a decade ago we seem to have got much more interested in cooking good food. So to replace the Generation Game and Blind Date we have Masterchef and the Hairy Bikers giving good tips on what to do with winter chanterelles.
With this tidal rise in capability and interest in cooking, many restaurants now look to recruit, informally, amateurs. Fully trained chefs, it appears, can threaten the head chef and be stuck in their ways, according to some we’ve talked to. However, the risk for those hopefuls is that they are unknowingly thrown into the lion’s den of the hot kitchen, working very long hours.
A place always loved for its different pat and balance of values is doing something that may fit all the bills. Coast Cafe des Artistes in Worthing, which has been known for its interesting day menu, has begun a monthly evening billing featuring food prepared by a Guest Head Chef for the Night.
Operating a little like a pop-up restaurant, the kitchen is used in the day to prep up for Coast’s limited inside covers (an exclusive 24). Previous Guest Head Chef events have seen Nikita Gulhaine (who has some experience with Madhur Chaudhry) serving up Keralan fish dishes, and Ferri Masrour dishing up some wonderful Iranian classics complete with a samovar for tea afterwards.
Coast’s 2014 diary already boasts a local who loves Hungarian cooking and a pop-up home chef who specialises in French food. Stefan Sykes, who runs Coast, would like to see many more people give it a go. “We love to look at new dishes and have always enjoyed doing something different for our evening diners, so this new form of ‘crowd sourcing’ skills and ideas is really exciting,” he explained.