Saturday, 26 September 2009


Met my friends at this beautiful bakery on Wardour St. Princi is vibrant to say the least. The decor is modern and city-chic with a nice water feature that runs through the length of the cafe. The staff look cute in their baker-boy outfits too. Delicious tasters are shifted out to customers who have to hover over those sitting in order to ensure a seat. Finally after getting a few death-stares from those seated we managed to bag a table. I ate a couple of salads and shared a aubergine dish which was ok, not amazing. The deserts however were a different kettle of fish. Yummy amaretto and chocolate slice was amazing. An enjoyable visit to this trendy spot but next time I will go purely for afternoon tea and cake which they do so well while missing the lunch hustle and bustle.

Friday, 25 September 2009

The Swiss are coming

I come from a food-obsessed family. Me and mum do all the cooking while my dad and two sisters are the critics. Despite this my dad insists on telling all guests that he is head-chef at the O'Connell household. My sister Sarah is the harshest critics we have while Sinead [the middle-child] prefers not to rock the boat so insists all our dishes are wonderful. When guests announce their future arrival me and mum feel the heat. We spend the week flicking through our archive of recipe books, watching playbacks of Nigel Slater, and of course the weekend supplements which we gather in folders for future reference. The prospect of my swiss cousin arriving next week has already created chaos in my mum's mind and every time we finish eating dinner the dining table is transformed into a board-meeting as to what to cook for their upcoming arrival. Once this weekend is over we should have a better idea, all I know at this stage is that Betti Bossi [an old-fashioned swiss chef] may be on the cards. Or perhaps we will do a Jamie- the swiss are crazy for the naked chef you see.

The Mayonnaise Queen

On my trial shift at my new work the head chef tested me with various tasks throughout the day. The most complicated of which was mayonnaise. A difficult feat for anyone especially under the supervision of this ex-michellin star and future boss. It started off ok, mixing two yolks with half a crushed garlic, a little dijon mustard and some lemon. Then the pomace oil was poured in a continuous stream little by little. Here came the challenge. A shaky hand would be the killer. It was- three half-cloves of garlic and ten 'sorry this doesn't happen when me and my mum do it at home''s later and I was feeling the heat in the kitchen to say the least. Seeing Mayonnaise split has never been so heart-wrenching. I desperately wanted the job and wasn't going to let a couple of egg-yolks get in my way. I gathered my strength, desperately tried to keep a steady hand and finally I could see a thick creamy texture form- I knew my my goal was in sight.
I am two weeks into the job now and I distinctly remember the phrase 'Mayonnaise Queen' being used just the other day as I conquered a Coriander and Lemon Mayonnaise, and even a Saffron Aioli by that very same Michellin Starred Chef whose stare had once felt capable of turning me to stone.
Mission accomplished.

Entering the world of catering

My name is Clare O'Connell and I am a bonafide foodie and have been ever since I can remember. I was off track for a while studying Latin at University but have fallen on my feet on arriving back at home in London. A cool catering company in South London decided to take me on as their junior chef and I am thrilled to be working in a kitchen professionally. Anyways so I am here to write about my experiences in the events catering world while also displaying a few of my own creations and inspirations on this beautiful blogspot!

ps- opposite are some very fiddly but beautiful salmon and beetroot parcels we make at work!