Sunday, 30 November 2008

T is for team

It has been nine weeks since opening and having received some really positive reviews, especially about the food, I have a humbling admission to make to myself. There is no ‘I’ in LanTana.

While I may be the chirpy proprietor steering the ship, below deck there is a formidable team beavering away in the kitchen and propelling us forward.

All of the awesome food we serve at our stunning café, from the properly scrambled eggs, the super salads and sunny breakfasts offerings, to the irresistible home baking is made at Lantana by a small dedicated team who arrive in the dark early hours of the morning and leave in the dark hours of the late afternoon, rarely surfacing from the basement kitchen to see daylight.

There’s Lisa, our calm, unflappable head chef from Newcastle Australia who handles a squeeze bottle like a sheriff handles a pistol;

Pete, our sous chef, who left the poorly paid, shallow world of advertising to pursue a more glamorous life as a chef, knowing he looked his best in white;

Slimane, our multilingual French Moroccan kitchen assistant who never loses his cool or his sense of humour, no matter how high the dirty dishes stack;

and Becky our part time chef, who is to vegetables what Gok Wan is to women- the makeover queen.
They spend their days sating the appetites of people they don’t know and rarely even see, so if they could have any meal prepared for them, what would it be and who would they want it prepared by?

For Lisa it’s a Lebanese feast with homemade chapattis, tabouleh, hummus and kibbeh made by her flatmate Candy. Pete requested roast swan or peacock prepared (posthumously) by Auguste Escoffier the grand-pere of French cuisine. Slimane misses the cous cous that only his mother can make, and Becky wants to re-experience the 14 course vegetarian dinner she had in a 12 seater restaurant in Japan, made by a chef called Mr Michi.

For me, it would be roast chicken made by my dad....but this is not about me.

Lisa, Pete, Becky and Slimane, thank you - from the bottom of my stomach.


Caitlin said...

Here here!!! or should that be Hear Hear!!! I've never written it down, just drunkenly chorused it - one for google. Anyway, what I want to say is - I agree - amazingly fab team - thank you from Mick and I, as well. Not only are you bringing in the amazing reviews, feeding our customers with love and passion, putting up with our children's annoying requests ... but we get to eat your food all the time as well - an unexpected bonus as owners of the best cafe in London. x

Anonymous said...

A really good review on the restaurant:

Keep up the good work guys!

Mowie said...

Great post Shelagh! The team downstairs are the best - not only is the food delicious, but it's always perfectly presented!

Shame you were so worked off your feet last Saturday, we never got a moment to chat!

Thanks for linking back to my blog! I've added a little update to my post because as you know, I've now tried almost everything on the menu :-)

Anonymous said...

Wow, that is such an awesome post. I come and visit this blog often (almost once a day) and I have to say it is awesome to see such a transformation =)

If I ever get a chance to go to London, I'll be sure to come and visit you guys.

Daniel from Australia =)

Anonymous said...

Hi Shelagh

I have a very quick question to ask - would you mind getting in touch if you have a moment, would really appreciate it.

All the best to you and Lantana


willbrierley at gmail dot com

Shelagh Ryan said...

Thanks Mowie. I really appreciate you making the trek each Saturday. If I had to score you as a customer, you'd get a 10.

Caitlin Ryan said...

From Wikipedia: Hear, hear is an expression used as a short repeated form of hear ye and hear him. It represents a listener's agreement with the point being made by a speaker.
It was originally an imperative for directing attention to speakers, and has since been used, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, as "the regular form of cheering in the House of Commons", with many purposes depending on the intonation of its user.[1] It is often incorrectly spelled "here here", especially on websites.[2]
The phrase hear him, hear him! was used in Parliament since the late 1600s, and had been reduced to hear! or hear, hear! by the late 1700s. The verb hear had earlier been used in the King James Bible as a command for others to listen.[1]
Other phrases have been derived from hear, hear, such as a hear, hear (a cheer), to hear-hear (to shout the expression), and hear-hearer (a person who does the same).[1]

Geoff said...

I like the chefs, they cook yummy food and are also really good FOH

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