You know when you start your business and you dream about where it might end up going?
Well, when I started making my range of desserts I used to look at those exquisite looking desserts online and on Instagram and think, "One day I'd like one of them to be mine" - well that day has finally arrived! A version of my Signature By M Chocolate Orange Dessert has been featured as a course of a delicious eight course plant-based tasting menu and immerse sound bath at The Tetley - #Grateful! Organic Chocolate ganache, with a layer of chocolate orange mousse on a biscuit base, infused with orange zest, cacao and orange oil!
When I started Abundance Foods all those years ago I never would have imagined that one day I would finally get to present one my desserts in this way...but dreams have a way of manifesting like that! So this is my review of:
An Evening at the Chef's Table, at The Tetley, Leeds.
Set in their art gallery, 'An evening at the Chef's Table' was billed as a delicious eight course tasting menu and immerse sound bath, prepared by their new Head Chef, Jade Crawley, and it really was a very special evening! Ordinarily as a caterer you would just supply products for an event, but as it'd been ages since I went to a tasting menu, this proved to be the perfect opportunity to give it another go. Being totally truthful, it was also an opportunity for me to meet and chat with people who are following a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle, or who are just curious about it, which nearly always proves to be a great source of inspiration and ideas for me.
On arrival we were warmly welcomed by Lizzie with a lovely complimentary drink, and a chance to mingle and soak in the beautiful art space and embrace the immersive sound experience. If you've never experienced an immersive sound experience, you could describe it as a deeply-immersive, full-body listening experience, that intentionally uses sound to see how it reacts with our perception of flavour. The event was held in their gallery on the first floor. A stunning space with lots of little rooms off it, full of period features, furnishings and artists' work. Watch the videos below to get a taste of what I'm on about.
Then the courses arrived. Every course was announced by the lovely Faye, and we were given a little info about the inspiration behind it and what to expect. You were also offered the option of six alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink pairings, carefully crafted by the bar team in collaboration with the head Chef for an extra cost, £35 for alcoholic, and £20 for non-alcoholic. We chose not to this time, but afterwards said when we do our next tasting menu, we will.
Course 1: Baby gem lettuce kimchi
The smallest 'course' I've ever had! Really fresh flavours, especially the herbs, many of which hit you later - really delicious...A case of less is more!
Course 2: Lemon, Almond Edamame steamed bun
A bit more substantial, and nice and doughy, which is how I like my steamed buns. Very, delicious and I particularly loved the edamame flavour and the way it balanced the acidity of the lemon.
Course 3: Edamame, Housemade tofu, Mint oil salad
This course particularly blew me away because I don't normally eat soya, but the tofu was cooked and seasoned to perfection!
There was a real explosion of flavours, and it worked with the mint.
Course 4: Dashi teapots, Dumpling, Aubergine rounds, fresh herbs
I really enjoyed this combo, and the beautiful way it was presented. It arrived without the broth, then the servers poured the broth into the plate from these little teapots - it was a pleasure to watch (see video below)!
The broth was really delicious and I loved the explosion of flavours from all the different textures. The stand out taste for me was the broth - really flavourful!
Course 5: Simmered mooli radish, Carrot & miso puree, MSG roasted carrot
I thought all the different textures of this course paired together really well in my mouth! The radish (or daikon) can be eaten raw or cooked, and I'd say the texture was somewhere in between. I really enjoyed the flavour of it though, especially when eaten with the other textures. The MSG roasted carrot was a very delicious surprise, and as Faye said in it's introduction, MSG can have a bit of a "bad food" rap. Used sparingly like this, it added a really tasty kick to the carrot. The carrot and miso puree was silky smooth and really tasty.
Course 6: Broccoli, Hazelnut Praline, pickled cherry tomato
I loved all the courses, but this was another huge favourite! That hazelnut praline - Oh My Days. It was just like a piece of silk had melted in your mouth, and was so delicious combined with the texture of the broccoli and the soft tomato.
Course 7: Forbidden rice, Housemade kidney bean miso, Coconut
Really loved this forbidden rice! So called because in Ancient China, black rice was reserved for the aristocracy. It had a really nutty flavour and wasn't what I expected at all. I loved how it was complimented by the crispy coconut. Carrot, beetroot, pomegranate seeds and a flurry of greens all just came together to create a really delicious taste explosion!
Course 8: Yuzu & grapefruit pre-dessert
This sorbet was another melt-in-the-mouth experience! It was so light and airy, and really refreshing - it was the perfect palate cleaner! The addition of some microgreen coriander leaf was a stroke of genius. Not a combo you would think would work, but it did - deliciously!
Course 9: Marcia's Chocolate Orange Dessert with Organic Orange syrup
The pièce de résistance in my opinion - not that I'm very biased, lol! I've tasted it myself so many times, I couldn't actually finish it, would you believe! I didn't tell the other guests that I'd made this dessert, and I wasn't planning to until after the meal ended. But the staff very kindly introduced my dessert and then me, and we were warmly invited over to one of the tables to sit with some of the other guests.
Thankfully, they really enjoyed it and there were no empty plates left, which is what I like to see. One of the guest was in fact a Chef, so what a compliment, eh! I even saw one guest running his finger over his plate - the ultimate compliment!
Flowering Jasmine Tea
As if all that wasn't enough, we were also treated to some delicious flowering Jasmine & green tea dragon pearls!
They start out looking like the picture on the left, then as they steep in water, they slowly expand almost like little sea urchins. The longer they're left the better, then the lovely flavour of aromatic jasmine flowers and green tea just dance around your mouth - A delicious post-meal digestif!
As a special dining out experience, I would highly recommend An evening at the Chef's Table! The beautiful and interesting venue, the immersive sound, the plant-based food, and the great company, it all came together to create a really memorable evening!
If you're thinking about adopting a plant-based/vegan/vegetarian lifestyle, then I think you would really enjoy it as a way to introducing you to this style of food. Many people are afraid of trying food without meat, fish, poultry etc. because they think it will be bland and not very filling. I can promise you that is not the case!
The clearly very talented Head Chef, Jade Crawley used her brilliant skill and experience to put on a feast that surprisingly wasn't heavy at all. We left feeling satisfied and like we'd been well fed, but not overfed. At £60 per head plus drinks, we felt it was incredibly good value for money, and can't wait to do it again. This event was the first of it's kind down at The Tetley, as is the appointment of a female Head Chef - you should watch out for Jade, I think she's definitely going places!
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