Great Britain

What have Michelin star chefs been eating during lockdown?

Rachel Humphrey, executive chef of La Gavroche

Rachel Humphrey has worked at Michel Roux Jr’s prestigious two-star Michelin restaurant Le Gavroche in London’s Mayfair for most of her career, having started as an apprentice in 1996. During lockdown, the restaurant has launched its eShop for books and kitchen accessories, leaving Humphrey to spend the time with her family.

“Lockdown has been OK but it’s so different from my normal routine. I try to keep reasonably busy and bake bread for the family every day,” she says. “I like this dish because it’s comforting and simple to make. I use great smoked salmon that comes from Smokin’ Brothers.”

Leek and smoked salmon pasta with horseradish

Sweat the shallots and leek in a wide pan with the butter over a medium heat. Cook for 5-6 minutes until well softened and lightly coloured.

Add the white wine and reduce. Add the cream. Reduce slightly. Peel the horseradish and grate a 1cm piece into the sauce.

Cut the smoked salmon into small pieces, about 1-2cm.

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water, drain and add to the sauce with a spoon or two of the cooking water.

Stir in the smoked salmon and add little lemon juice. Season with salt and plenty of black pepper.

Serve in deep bowls with some more fresh grated horseradish on top.

Atul Kochhar, who runs five Indian restaurants, needed to make use of some three-bean salad tins

Atul Kochhar, chef-owner of Hawkyns in Amersham, Sindhu and Vaasu in Marlow; Indian Essence in Petts Wood, Kent, and Kanishka on Maddox Street, London

Originally from Jamshedpur in east India, Atul Kochhar’s innovative cuisine has changed the way British people perceive and experience Indian food, winning two Michelin stars in the process. During lockdown, three of his five restaurants have been offering dishes for home delivery or collection: Hawkyns, Vaasu and Indian Essence.

At home over the last year, Kochhar has often cooked a simple recipe with beans. He says: “This was my favourite recipe during the lockdown in 2020. While we were at home, restricted, not being able to do much, with little groceries and limited access to the food stores, we all were cooking recipes and exploring ingredients in our pantries. I had a few tins of three-bean salad and I wanted to make good use of it.”

Heat oil in a large flat pan (one with a lid), sauté the spices for two minutes or until fragrant.  Add garlic, celery and onions together for 3-4 minutes or until translucent. 

Add the three-bean salad followed by tomatoes. Cook for further 5 minutes until tomatoes are soft. 

Add all the powdered spices and salt to taste.  Mix and cook for 3-4 minutes to allow the spices to infuse. Add tomato passata and mix well. 

Make small indents with the back of the spoon and open and drop the eggs one by one. Keep the pan on a low heat and put the lid on. Cook gently for 4-5 minutes until the egg white is coagulated but the yolk is still soft. 

Tear the cheese into smaller pieces and place them on top of the eggs and place the lid back again. Cook for 2-3 minutes and remove.  Serve hot, sprinkled with chopped coriander. 

Culhane has fond memories of growing up in southwest Ireland, and recommends a traditional roast

Kenneth Culhane, head chef at The Dysart Petersham

Irish-born chef Kenneth Culhane has worked all over the world, including stints in France’s Loire Valley, Sydney and New York, and won the prestigious Roux Scholarship in 2010. In 2011 he joined the family-run restaurant The Dysart in Petersham overlooking Richmond Park. He won his first Michelin star in the 2020 guide, retaining it in 2021, which rewards his innovative cuisine that draws on influences from around the world.

During lockdown, The Dysart has pivoted to offer an online shop selling home-cook recipe parcels, freshly baked goods from the kitchen, fine meats and ingredients, as well as an interesting selection of drinks. However it is a recipe that reminds him of his upbringing in southwest Ireland. He says: “Roast guinea fowl or chicken is a wonderfully traditional way to cook and eat together, one I remember fondly growing up in the countryside and the family loves it when we do this at home.”

Though it isn’t a combination many people would think of, Culhane adds: “Using a herbed marzipan is somewhat unusual when roasting but gives amazing roasted caramelised flavours to the dish. We use seasonal herbs and flowers from our garden at The Dysart Petersham, such as orange-scented thyme, rosemary and chive flowers, chervil, tarragon and oregano.”

Herb and garden flowers marzipan roast chicken or guinea fowl

To make the marzipan, blend the almond powder, icing sugar and egg white in a food processor until it forms a paste. Remove from the food processor and place in a bowl with the herbs, salt and pepper and knead them together so the herbs are throughout the dough. Leave this to rest in the fridge for an hour.

Next, place the marzipan under the skin on both sides of the crown of the chicken or guinea fowl, using your fingers to spread it evenly. Leave to come to room temperature.

Season the bird with salt and pepper and rub some butter over the crown.  Roast in the traditional manner, basting the bird every 6-8 minutes during the cooking process.

Serve with buttered Jersey royal potatoes and English asparagus.

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