Monday, September 18, 2017

Born Again




20th June 2017

Shock horror. I am living the last few days of a life which has come to the sad conclusion that it needs dramatic changes.
A kind of mild mid-life crisis: A crisis without the tattoos; the piercing; the Harley-Davidson; A new lover; crazy sex chem; hair transplant or hours at the gym.
I have my age symptoms- I suffer from the single most common question everyone spent its entire life wondering: Why am I here for?
Philosophy, religious studies or just not giving a damn about it have not helped me giving an ounce of answer to this fundamental question.
I have come to the conclusion that there is probably nothing worth living for, if it is just to wait for a normal death at the probable age of 83 (average frenchman)
I have done what I was supposed to do: given life (my kids) and love (as many people as possible hopefully) all good to go then? Not really. I need to repair something:
I have massively impacted the earth with my job as a chef and my relation with the other living creatures which I have ordered their deaths; which I have cooked their meat and which I am still selling their dead flesh for profit.
I am becoming Vegan.

Not for me but for them, the other living creatures I share the earth with.
I shall say that I have read Emeric Caron's Antispeciste book and it has had a major impact on me. Such an impact that I have promised myself to never ever again feed myself with anything which has lived and died. Life is too short for that.




24th June 2017



Today is my 44th birthday. I am giving birth to a new me.
1st morning:
I haven't eaten anything for more than 12 hours and have organised a home blood test with ....
I just want to check what my blood looks like on day 1 and compare it with a check in 3 month time.
I repeat, this is not a health decision BUT in case someone need different motives to give up eating dead animals, perhaps an healthier blood results might kind of convince them to start doing it.

Day one of my new diet:
Breakfast of 2 toasts without butter (bit strange) and some jam. Haven't had toast without butter for ever; seems like something is clearly missing. Never mind.
Lunch:
Tomato salad with toasted bread.
A full bowl of very cold caponata (which I made 3 days before) delicious, except for the celery which is undercooked and contrasts too much with the mushy aubergine.
A flat peach for dessert plus 3 biscuits (I have checked. No butter)
Dinner:
More tomatoes (I have prepared them in the morning- plenty of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and in the fridge). They have released their water and it has nicely mixed with the olive oil and vinegar. Dipping thick bread in this tomato juice is better than a lot of things I have recently eaten
I serve myself a small glass of Tavel rose and I don't even feel guilty about it. Vegan wine of course.
One more peach for pudding.

Boring. I need to do something about it.

1st July 2017

My blood result is back.
My LDL (Bad) Cholesterol is raised above the limit.
Cholesterol overall is also high- it has always been for the past 10 years actually. It has never gone down despite me trying to be as careful as possible.
My ALT is above normal; apparently my fatty liver is still there.
I am told to continue the quality of my diet and to exercise 3 times a week.
Exactly what I have been doing for years without any clear improvement in my blood result- especially my cholesterol one.
Lets see in 3 months if not eating dead animals and dairy has an impact.


24th July 2017

Despite my new diet, I do not feel any crave to go back to meat, fish or diary at all. The fact that I have just spent 2 weeks away in South of France might have helped.
Taboulé, wild rocket, grilled aubergines, fresh melon: a few of the starters I have had indulged on.
I spent a few mornings at Vintimille amazing' fruits and vegetables market. This would turn any reticent meat eater into a, at least, vegetarian. Serious. I have found the antidote to carnivorism.








1st August 2017

I crave chickpea cooked with a madras spicy mix. 
I am falling in love with Indian food and my taste bud have never been so open up. 
I don't miss meat or fish. Not even milk. 
Turning vegan is much easier than having to stop drinking wine .
I have also lost 5kg without having felt hungry. Strange. 


Tuesday, May 09, 2017

The mysterious secret dining rooms of 19th Century Paris



During my college years, I became very interested in the work of Guy de Maupassant; more than often his Parisian elite protagonists would meet in one of the many small private dining rooms that Parisian restaurants were made of at the end of the 19th Century. 

Maupassant had the art to describe those mysterious rooms, heavily decorated, filled with crystal and silver and where aspiring politicians would meet and seduce whoever they needed to progress amongst the Parisian elite. 

I had vivid images of those hidden rooms where waiters had to knock at their doors; where silver cloches were lifted; where boiseries were covered of picture frames made of different type and colours. 

So when I was planning to open my restaurant and first visited 21 Romilly street in Soho, it suddenly reminded me of Maupassant’s description. 

It was then very easy for me to decide as to how this restaurant should look like; how the rooms should be decorated of and how the overall image of the restaurant should be. 
 
Gauthier Soho is to me the most intimate and unique succession of small dining rooms in Soho. Somewhere Bel Ami would have felt at ease to persuade Newspaper editors and seduce their partners!



 
If you've never considered Gauthier Soho for your private event, do get in touch, even if you're only sketching up some ideas. 
Please call Samuel on 0207 494 3111 or email him at s.aiglon@gauthiersoho.co.uk.
We'd love to bring your plans to life.

Alexis Gauthier

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Wine knowledge for the rest of us - Dino Joannides

In a series of 'wine knowledge for the rest of us' interviews with industry friends and colleagues, we've asked Italian food expert and restaurant lover Dino Joannides to share a few tips based on his personal wine tastes.


Dino Joannides


There is an awful lot of wine out there. Where do you start when thinking about what to drink?

For me wine should always be drunk with food so what you are going to eat is the starting point. Old world wines are generally easier to match with food especially European food as generally they have less alcohol and more acidity.

People often talk about feeling daunted about huge extensive wine lists in restaurants. Any tips for making a decent choice in this situation?

It is a good idea to do some homework many wine lists are on restaurant web sites, booking sites or apps so you can view them before going for your meal.

As you’ve got older, what’s changed in your tastes?

I prefer to drink lighter more complex reds like great Burgundy now and more top German Rieslings , the latter are wonderful with spicier cuisines like Chinese, Thai, Malaysian and Indian.

Any wines you avoid?

I avoid very oaky Chardonnay and over extracted reds from both old and new world.

An often cited gripe for restaurant customers is feeling the sommelier is forcing his own agenda on the customer, regardless of the customer’s wishes. As a customer, how would you get round this?

If you do engage with a Sommelier it helps if you are clear about your preferences especially regarding how much you are willing to spend and the style of wine you like as well as what you will be eating - a good Sommelier should be able to take these points on board and hopefully provide you advice that will lead to a a great wine experience. 

Good wine service is one of the key factors in ensuring a customer considers returning over and over again.

You must have had some high points over the years and tasted some special bottles. Any particular stories?

I have been very fortunate to have sampled some really outstanding wines all over the world.  Special bottles include Chateau Latour 1961 ,Vieux Chateau Certan 2006, Corton Charlemagne Coche Dury 2005, Isola e Olena Cepparello 2007, Ridge Montebello 1998, Domaine Economou Oikonomoy, Sita 1999, Salon Cuvee "S' Clos Le Mesnil, Blanc de Blancs 1996.

Dino Joannides is Author of Italian food bible Semplice, and Director of wine assistant app Corkscrew - www.getcorkscrew.co.uk

Gauthier wines is offering a superb Italian baby Super Tuscan - Mirapiana Maremma Toscana 2014

Friday, April 07, 2017

Wine knowledge for the rest of us: Oisin Rogers

In a series of 'wine knowledge for the rest of us' interviews with industry friends and colleagues, we've asked legendary London landlord Oisin Rogers to share a few tips based on his personal wine tastes.

Image credit: Hot Dinners


GW: There is an awful lot of wine out there. Where do you start when thinking about what to drink?

O.R.: Although I do know a fair amount about wine I'll readily admit my knowledge is very far from extensive. There is so much to know before becoming any way competent in wine. For me though, as my palette is not amazing, wine is about stories, about memories of places I've been and dreams of where I'd like to go. When a friend or staff member takes me a bottle from their travels or I see a great bottle from a journey I've done, that's something I'll enjoy drinking, and I look out for bottles I've enjoyed before.

As you’ve got older, what’s changed in your tastes?

There's no doubt that exposure to great wine at work has affected everything I think about wine. Having the chance to taste top wines and vintages allows me to take a view on what I'll drink when I'm out or if I'm cooking at home. I enjoy full-bodied punchy reds a lot more than I used to and lots of adventures in Northern Italy , Austria and Spain has given me a love of the wines from those bits of Europe.

Any wines you avoid?

I avoid everything natural or orange. They all taste like cheap cider to me and I've witnessed a good friend unexpectedly jump over a wall and disappear after having had a feed of some vile orange artisan crap.

An often cited gripe for restaurant customers is feeling the sommelier is forcing his own agenda on the customer, regardless of the customer’s wishes. As a customer, how would you get round this?

Stick to your price point and have an idea what wine you'd like to drink with your food choice. If it's not on the list any decent somm should be able to suggest something similar. I've never been upsold to something I didn't want to pay for and suspect this is a myth

You must have had some high points over the years and tasted some special bottles. Any particular stories?

My friend Paul found a case of mixed 1960s wine in his father's garage. Among it was a 1968 chateau Latour. I was born in that year so he took it to the pub and opened it on my birthday. It was an extraordinary wine made all the more excellent by the generosity and fellowship of my friend.

I also love amarone, having visited Allegrini and Masi on my travels. It's hard to match it with food because it's so rich and distinctive. The unique grape-drying process is extraordinary. I like to have a bottle between main and cheese to share on special occasions.

Oisin Rogers is Landlord of The Guinea Grill, Mayfair.
From its wine list, Gauthier Wines is offering the superb Chateau de Parenchere Bordeaux Superieur.