THE NEW WAVE IN DINING: THE RISE OF THE GUEST CHEF

From hotels, to restaurants, to rooftops, the concept of the guest chef is on the rise, and is turning the restaurant industry on its head…

In recent years, the traditional restaurant scene has taken a 360-degree turn. In many places, out are the formal white tablecloths and conventional service (although, of course, they still have their place), and in is a refreshing take on pop-up restaurants, supper clubs, innovative cooking, and, excitingly, the rise of the guest chef.

Swan Inn interiors – photos courtesy of The Swan Inn
Swan Inn interiors – photos courtesy of The Swan Inn

First up, just 20 minutes from London in Surrey’s leafy Esher, Michelin-starred French chef, Claude Bosi, took over The Swan Inn with his brother Cedric; they gave the place a complete overhaul, and opened up shop again in May 2016. This winter, they’ve invited a couple of brilliant guest chefs to join Claude Bosi in the kitchen. In October, the talented Dominic Chapman from The Beehive hosted a pop-up night in the flower-filled dining room; and on November 21st, Tom Kerridge from the Hand & Flowers will be showcasing a surprise tasting menu he’s created.

Magpie interiors
Magpie interiors

Over in central London, after its roaring success in Hackney with Michelin-starred Pidgin, founders James Ramsden and Sam Herlihy have opened Magpie in Heddon Street (just off Regent Street). This November, the team have invited some seriously talented chefs to join them and take the helm at the Secret Larder Supper Club – an idea that James once ran from his Holloway flat. On Sunday 12 November, there’ll be an all-star cast, alongside James and Sam, made up of Ravinder Bhogal, chef patron of Jikoni; Tom Oldroyd, founder of Oldroyd; and Dan Doherty, chef director at Duck & Waffle. Each of the chefs will be responsible for creating one dish for the four-course menu. Tickets are priced at £75, and all of the profits will be donated to the charity Shelterbox.

The Ethicurean
The Ethicurean – courtesy of the Ethicurean

It’s not just restaurants and hotels that are enjoying guest chefs, either – rooftops are getting in on the action, too. From now until Christmas Eve, the brilliant team of brothers – Matthew and Iain Pennington – will be bringing their cooking from their award-winning Somerset-based restaurant, The Ethicurean (owned and run by Matthew and Iain), to the festive rooftop of John Lewis on Oxford Street. They’ve created an exclusive menu with some of their favourite dishes: delicious Ethicurean welsh rarebit and sticky toffee apple cake, to name but a few… And combined with winter warming dishes, like tandoor-spiced cauliflower with a soft hen’s egg and a London stout pudding. The cocktail menu looks just as enticing, with a pumpkin punch, red sours and an eight-spices mulled negroni.

Food at the Ethicurean
Food at the Ethicurean

Chefs get to flex their culinary ideas on brand-new menus, and diners get a memorable, one-off experience – it’s a win-win situation.

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Sara D'Souza
Sara d'Souza is a travel content strategist on the MSN specials team, contributing editor to the Travel Edit and travel writer for ELLE, ELLEuk.com, Red Online, Sunday Times Travel, MSN Travel and Upward Curve inflight magazine, Visit London, Jetsetter and Virgin.