Those involved in hospitality, are supposed to keep quiet about politics, but at the end of the day, I think we need to stand up for those few things that we strongly believe in. There is a body of opinion in the UK, which perceives no benefit from the country being part of Europe. I disagree. For young people, particularly those engaged in the hospitality industry, Europe is their training ground.
Two chefs who worked at Geranium in Copenhagen, are now respectively Head Chef and Development Chef at Simon Rogan’s 2* L’Enclume in Cartmel, in the English Lake District. The dissemination of a natural approach to food and wine around the kitchens and cellars of Europe, is facilitated by freedom of movement. On a recent visit to the newly re-opened Fife Arms in Braemar Scotland, we met a Swedish chef working in the kitchen, teaching the other chefs how to cook on an open range. An Italian sommelier working in the cocktail bar, was there to gain experience about whisky, before moving back to Italy, where he planned to open a Whisky Tasting Bar. What better way to spread an appreciation of Scotland’s most important export?
I was born in Wales, and for most of my career, I worked in Manchester as a disputes lawyer. However in 2010, my wife Jolanta, who is Polish, moved to France, and restored a dilapidated old winery in Gevrey Chambertin, turning it into hotel ‘Les Deux Chevres’, ‘The Two Goats’. Within two years of opening, thanks to Jolanta’s unstinting hard work and design skills, we were at or near the top of Trip Advisor for recommended hotels in Dijon and Burgundy, and our ‘retirement project’, was up and running.
Chefs like Rene Redzepe at Noma and Rasmus Kofoed of Geranium, are teaching an appreciation and respect for natural ingredients and processes; a respect which substantially disappeared with the arrival of supermarkets, the introduction of chemical treatments to enhance production, and the farming of animals and vegetables as industrial products. Food fermentation, using healthy bacteria to produce exciting new flavours, foraging for herbs and wild plants, and re-introducing ingredients that disappeared from europe’s kitchens at least two generations ago, are the hallmarks of their natural cuisine for the future.
Our Head Chef Kevin Roehrig is French. He also worked at Geranium for three years alongside Rasmus, and the experience he gained is now applied for the benefit of our friends and guests in Gevrey Chambertin. The Purple Mustard Club has developed from a desire to communicate the positive aspects of Europe, its food, wines and fascinating history, to a wider audience than simply the guests of our hotel.