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I don't know about you, but I find it intensely annoying when the "high class" chefs take a traditional foodstuff, tart it up, then look down their noses at the original food.
A perfect example this morning on Radio 2 when some fancy pants chef from a gastro pub was on promoting his Scotch Egg competition where various chefs present their twists on the egg, sausage meat, breadcrumbs classic.
Some have black pudding, which is OK, but the duck egg, chicken livers and pork belly abomination is not what anyone would recognise as a scotch egg. The ultimate insult was when the chef said these eggs are not like the rubbish you see wrapped in plastic in the supermarkets.
Sorry, but a scotch egg is a hens egg, sausage meat and mothers pride breadcrumbs, nothing else...
At the bottom of my 'scotch eggs' are ... two 'plates of meat'.
I started a thread quite a long time ago in this forum about celebrity chef's, and how they thought their world was extremely important because they had produced a supposed dish over and above expectations, with a price tag to match.
Its make very little sense to me to see a Chinese cook produce a very quick and enjoyable meal at a very favourable price. Then see a celebrity chef boasting about four hours to make some form of gravy or sauce, with a spoonful of meat and vegetables in a centre of a big plate or eating utensil, then call this a meal?.
We have a pub/eating house nearby that is always full, because of the large steaks, mixed grills and similar domestic consumer meals they provide. The doggy bag is always provided at the end of the meal, as is the very more than reasonable bill, with no tipping allowed.
I've eaten in many different establishments from a greasy spoon, to Chinese/Indonesian cooked in the open above a monsoon ditch in Singapore, to pubs, to standard restaurants, high class restaurants and ones with a celebrity chef. Ambience and service can make an enormous difference to a meal. There is no doubt that the same meal served on a tin tray tastes different to one on a warm plate with good service and different lighting.
Pubs can provide good meals but their servings are generally too large.
A meal in a high class restaurant will consist of several courses so it may take hours to produce the sauce but it adds to just one course. Then there is the wine to go with it (generally over priced).
Not all celebrity chefs are high priced and some are very reasonably priced. However Rick Stein's fish and chips in Falmouth are, in my opinion, over priced and not worth queuing for when just down the road is another fish and chip restaurant which serves just as good fish at a lower price.
BTW those eggs were not like the ones in the supermarket. Better? Debatable and depends on your taste.
I don't think that it would be very difficult to improve on the Supermarket Scotch Egg, it has become a parody of the original.
Just stick top the original concept, they are lovely.
Scotch eggs are delicious, but surely there's always room in cooking for a bit of improvisation?
My father used to love a slice of fruit cake with a wedge of cheddar cheese and some salt. He got me hooked on it too. It diesn't involve any cooking skills, but it's a good combination in my opinion.
I have no objection to a chef experimenting with tried and trusted favourites, as long as he or she diesn't try to claim that the result is 'better' than the original on which it's based.
Of course there's room for improvisation, but like you say in the last paragraph, the chef should not then sneer at the original...
I went out Saturday for a meal, nothing fancy or so I thought. Just ordered a nice rib eye steak with black pepper, well it turned up at the table in a black pepper sauce with garlic mixed in, I sent it back it was so bad.
That was a chef who thought his idea of food was better than mine, you could not even taste the steak for garlic.
Sometimes food is best when it is served plain, no "extra" flavour to enhance the food.
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