Spent a few fabulous days riding around the Sussex countryside in an old MG Midget with my new antique expert, Charles. We were on the hunt for bargains that we were going to put into auction. It was all for Children in Need and we were in direct competition with John Torode in a convertible Beetle with his expert, Charlie. I can’t tell you the outcome but the 3 days we spent were some of the most fun I have had in a long while. You’ll have to watch, I beg you to watch, it was hilarious.
I’ll be down at Gregg’s Table in Bermondsey next week, just hope we get some sunshine so we can sit outside. I love it when it’s sunny down there. It just becomes a huge Bermondsey party.
I’m very much looking forward to having supper cooked by the legendary Tom Kitchin soon. An incredible dining cube has been constructed on the roof of the Festival Hall. It seats no more than 12 diners and I really honestly cannot wait. What a brilliant chef and this promises to be a truly unforgettable experience. Sometimes I have to pinch myself, I am so lucky.
I hope to be attending the Duke of Essex Polo Match put on by my good mates and Essex Boys, Media 10 although I am filming that day, unfortunately. Well, I say unfortunately, I am cooking my recipes for the Great British Food Revival, it’s just unfortunate that the dates clash. I am hoping to dash up to the polo as soon as I can. It’s a truly glamorous event, the champagne flows, the music swings, the celebrities mingle and many young women wander around in what seems like a state of undress! And every now and again, a polo match breaks out.
I really enjoyed my trip to Scotland. Visiting growers around Edinburgh and Dundee for the Great British Food Revival. Later on today, I’ll be trying out the recipes, I think you’ll have to wait until October to see it.
I have been to the Pictures with my brother, Biffo to see Prometheus, I really enjoyed it. I thought visually bits of it were stunning and it was also quite thoughtful. No visit to the Cinema at Bluewater is complete without a Mexican feast at Wahaca. Clever old Tommy. I love all that taco and spice.
I expect to be down at Gregg’s Table in Bermondsey quite a bit over the next 2 weeks and I am looking forward to a menu change.
I continue to work on my autobiography and did a talk, Q&A and cake tasting at Amazon’s head office last week. Well done ladies, great cakes!
I was surprised to find myself in The Sun Newspaper, Gregg has date with girl, seems such an unlikely headline. Followed by, “Gregg over dunks biscuit which collapses in tea”! Hot on the heels of, “Gregg foregoes bacon sandwich for healthier yoghurt option”!
Coming up is a charity inspired Antique Hunt with my mate, John Torode. I am so looking forward to that, time away with a hairy Aussie and a bit of competition thrown in as well. On your TV soon.
I had the most amazing time in Glasgow, I love the Glaswegians, an unrivalled sense of humour and fun, the best place to have a night out. And the Corinthian club, champagne bar, music venue, piano bar, restaurant and casino has got to be one of the most incredible venues I have ever had the good fortune to spend the evening in. I was there working at The Ideal Home Show which I am pleased to say, was yet again, a big success. I cannot wait to get back up to Glasgow again soon. All invitations readily received.
Next weekend sees me at one of the biggest food shows of the culinary year. The BBC Good Food Show at the NEC Birmingham. I’ll be on stage with my good friend Torode, preparing lunch, he’s going to do the big main course, I’m going to do an easy starter and a rather jolly dessert. We’ll be joined up there by previous Masterchef winners and as always, it promises to be a big hoot!
I’ve had very good suppers lately at Le Caprice, The Ivy and Bistro Bruno. I’m growing up now or getting old. My tastes are getting more conservative. I like a little comfort with my dinner. This week I’m very much looking forward to sampling the food of Jeremy Lee at Quo Vadis. Haven’t tasted his food since the Blue Print Café, I’ll also be filling myself fit to burst at Le Gavroche, still my favourite.
In terms of my own restaurants, I think I need to explain I have got 2 and the difference between them. Many people tell me on Twitter that they are visiting London and want to eat at my restaurant. There are 2, Wallace & Co which is in Putney, very close to my flat and is a big, bustling all day café. Breakfasts, lunches, afternoon teas and easy suppers. Gregg’s Table is on the ground floor of the Bermondsey Square Hotel, just south of Tower and London Bridge. It has a sophisticated menu with a very Spanish feel as the chef and my new best mate, Jordi is Catalan. I like working with this guy and watching the menu evolve. Catalan meets Gregg’s South East London is proving to be a fascinating journey.
At Gregg’s Table we have seats for 80 people and the terrace outside. On a warm evening, the place quickly descends into one great big party and I love it.
Last word, I am happy to say I am soon to be filming an episode of a brand new series of Great British Food Revival. Such a well made programme. Such a pleasure to work on. I really enjoy cooking my food on Telly, something hardly anybody ever sees.
The highlight of the past couple of weeks has got to have been every single quality chef in the country attending a function at Number 10. It was amazing, I just went from mate to mate with various glasses of wine, doing catch up chats and food talk and oh, yes, a quick chat with Sophie Dahl!
We celebrated my mum’s 68th birthday at the Crab & Winkle in Whitstable Harbour. All 3 of her boys were there, me (obviously the most important one, seeing as I’m on the telly) and my brothers, Biffo and Adam, their wives and my Tom and Libby. Big family gathering, many cockles and glasses of wine. Love my mum.
I got to become an Ambassador for Wahaca, the restaurant owned by Thomasina, winner of Masterchef. This means I get to eat all that Mexican food FOC, I actually can’t resist it, I felt guilty at first, but I don’t anymore, I just have to e-mail back about my experience, they actually want me to do it, so last Saturday, I actually ended up going to Bluewater Shopping Centre not once but twice! Once for lunch with Tom and once for dinner with Libby, where we sat in an adapted Volkswagen Camper, such good fun.
I managed to have a lovely chilled out weekend in the Lake District. Found a fantastic cosy hotel, called Holbeck Ghyll with incredible views over Windermere. The restaurant has a star and the lounges are log fires and bay windows. I played croquet, ate and drank and went on nice walks across streams and over walls down to the lake and back, taking care to avoid the gangs of delinquent sheep which plague the area.
I also attended and enjoyed a party hosted by my friends at Waitrose. Live music, flowing champagne and of course, great nibbles which I unfortunately, due to my spell check, posted as “nipples” on Twitter.
This week I will be attending the Budgens Award Ceremony, the Good Housekeeping Awards Dinner and a charity walk with my mate, Matt Hampson from Richmond to Twickenham on behalf of the Hambro Foundation. With much talk of rugby and much sipping of beer.
Speak to you soon.
What a fantastic evening we had celebrating the best of the spring produce. It was a sell out and more importantly it was great fun. We tasted loads of food, managed to hold a bit of a quiz in the middle and consumed a fair amount of wine along the way. It kind of had the feeling of being at a wedding, we will certainly be looking to host more events like this. Watch this space.
Great, asparagus is on the menu, I’m now looking forward to broad beans, Jerseys and raspberries, may have to convince chef to put on a cranachan. Cranachan is right up there alongside rhubarb crumble as my all time fave pud. Actually as a passionate Englishman it hurts me to say the best raspberries in the world are from Scotland, contrary to popular belief raspberries do not like red hot summers. If you look closely at a raspberry you will see it has many fine white hairs, that’s how it gets its name, raspy, meaning hairy.
That’s your biology lesson over, enjoy the café, enjoy the food, enjoy the sunshine.
It’s great that the sun’s come out, it means we can sit outside, nothing better as far as I’m concerned, eating al fresco with a bottle of chilled. Do you know how al fresco translates? In the fresh, I like that.
There’s obviously a lot of spring produce on its way and I’m personally looking forward to working with chef to highlight the best of the crop.
But at time of writing I’m stuck in Tenerife, not a bad place to be stuck I suppose. I’ve got Heidi and the kids here with me, but stuck we are, unable to get a flight. As soon as we do I’ll be back at the cafe, wandering from table to table with a glass in my hand, see you soon.
I’ve been away, you don’t want to hear that I’m sure, the last thing you want to know as you struggle through the British winter is the thought of some fat bloke slobbing about on a beach in the Caribbean.
Still, that’s where I’ve been, sorry.
Now I’m back I’ve noticed that the sun is shining here as well, as far as I’m concerned that means one thing, spring is on its way, I could almost hear the plump cuckoos.
With spring comes fantastic produce from the farm, beautiful little leaves, lots of crunchy baby vegetables and of course asparagus. It’s been difficult to showcase great veg in the middle of winter, it always is, but now the weather seems to have broken, it can’t be long till we fill the café to brimming with a bumper spring harvest.
Do expect to find the management team in the café with large glasses of white wine, new menu planning is no easy job. See ya Wednesday night.
I am really enjoying myself at the café right now, we’ve still got a bit of work to do, sure, but I really believe we’re starting to find our feet. I get really nervous every time I walk in, I think, “is everything ok? Are people enjoying it?” and then what always happens as I sit there, is loads of people come in and start eating and I mean loads.
I managed to get down three times last week, I’m in for at least one lunch this week, I think Wednesday. I like the layout of the new menu and I really like the piles of vegetables outside.
I had a tremendous supper on Thursday night with an old mate from the BBC. We ate chorizo quiche, Scotch egg, gravalax and a ham terrine and that was starters! Then, good lamb chops with dauphinoise. Me and Tim argue about mint sauce, I was brought up with lamb and mint, Tim doesn’t approve. I made my point by offering my mint sauce to the chap next to me eating lamb, “oh yes please” he said. See Tim.
I’d eaten so much food I ended up giving my knickerbocker glory away to two ladies sitting opposite. I enjoy myself down there, I enjoy chatting to the customers, see you soon, I’m always up for a chat.
Our chef and my old mate Tim is coming into his own. We’ve been open a couple of weeks and the food is getting better and better, now we’ve got the hang of things, Tim is going to start to put new dishes on the menu. I came down for lunch on Thursday and found a cracking cock a leekie bubbling away on the counter.
I want some lamb chops on, with a bit of mint sauce, but then I’m such a square old traditionalist. Actually wouldn’t mind seeing a bit of fish and chips, we’ll see, it’s all developing nicely. When you’re in and you see me, give me your menu ideas.
Our challenge now is to give the front of the café more of a bar feel in the evening, Tim’s going to knock up some bar snacks. I know we have good food, but we’ve got really good affordable wines on as well. I want to see people having a drink and enjoying a nibble, maybe I’ll pop down, open a crate and see if anybody wants to join me.