Friday, 9 May 2008

A chef for all seasons: interview with Oliver Rowe

In the spirit of furthering my knowledge about seasonal, locally grown produce I recently ate at a restaurant in Kings Cross called Konstam which tries to source all of its ingredients from within the London area.

The thing that strikes you when you first walk into Konstam is the visibility of the kitchen which is integrated into the dining space. Our table was so close to the prep counter I had to stop my hungry brother eating the mise en place.

It feels like you are eating in owner/head chef Oliver Rowe’s home kitchen, chatting to him while he cooks, asking him about ingredients and giving him our opinion (which he asked for) on who had ordered the best main- a difficult verdict arrived at through the time honoured practice of ‘a bite for a bite’. Perhaps we were a little conscious of the immediacy of our feedback but we each told him that our own meal was the winner - mine was slow roasted shoulder of lamb with apple and blackcurrant compote.

I often wonder if chefs and restaurants that make ambitious and worthy promises about their food sourcing policy manage to stay committed to their vision or whether they live to regret their absolute proclamations when the margins get skinny and the customers lose interest and move onto the next fad.

Oliver seemed like such an affable chap that I went back a couple of weeks later to record an interview with him about his food sourcing philosophy and whether consumers really care.

It’s about 8 minutes long and a large file so you may want to go and make yourself a cup of tea while it downloads.

1 comment:

The gen Y mmv-er said...

Hey Shels, have you heard about Melbourne's own food miles eatery? It's called the 100 Mile Cafe, and the premise is that all ingredients (including their wine list) must come from within 100 miles (or 160kms) of the cafe's location in Melb Central. Lucky we have Yarra Vally and the Tassie sea nearby! =)

I've yet to eat there, but Pia's been, and from memory, she said the food's quite decent.