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A Fun Evening at Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube Summer Party

Donal Skehan and Jamie Oliver at Foodtube live on Tuesday

Donal Skehan and Jamie Oliver at Foodtube live on Tuesday

I popped along to the filming of Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube Summer Party, his live youtube show filmed in London. Irish food blogger, author & TV bod Donal Skehan was in town to cook on it, and there were some other Youtube characters involved too. I have to announce my ignorance here, I had no idea who any of the others were, save Donal and Crumbs & Doilies (I had a neighbouring food stall to them in Covent Garden some years ago). The Youtube food landscape is completely different to the blogosphere, and I am only beginning to explore it. It was a really fun evening, and also an education.

Filming Food Tube, behind the scenes

Filming Food Tube, behind the scenes

I have been talking about starting a Youtube channel for – oh – three years now, so my curiosity spurred me along. I love video. It is lively, engaging, fun and a great way of sharing stories of people and places. With food & travel, and travelling as much as I do, there is so much that I could do here, and I feel sad when I think back to trips to amazing places like Bangkok and Tokyo, and how much I could have done there. My problem is time, and lack of kit and technology. I am working on it and hope to launch soon.

Back to Food Tube. Jamie’s team had an alleyway decked out with bunting and cooking islands. I spotted Donal straight away, and behind him was DJ BBQ, in a superb branded spandex catsuit brandishing tongs near his smoker. Cheerful young twins from London sat nearby, these turned out to be JacksGap, their Youtube channel has over 2 million subscribers. They had quite a few superfans waiting outside for hours for an opportunity to have a photo taken with them after. Gennaro Contaldo was dressed as a pepper (or tomato? not sure!). Also in place were Pixie Woo, and the Chiappa Sisters.

The live video is gone now, but there are lots of videos from some of the above on the Food Tube Youtube channel so be sure to take a look.

Jamie Oliver's Food Tube Summer Party - 442

Crumbs & Doilies cupcakes. I love the 99 one.

Crumbs & Doilies cupcakes. I love the 99 one.

Jamie's Greek salad

Jamie’s Greek salad

Donal's lamb kebabs

Donal’s lamb kebabs

Donal's lamb kebabs

Donal’s lamb kebabs

Donal & Danny from Food Urchin

Donal & Danny from Food Urchin

DJ BBQ and his supersoaker full of apple juice to spray on the BBQ shoulder to moisten it

DJ BBQ and his supersoaker full of apple juice to spray on the BBQ shoulder to moisten it

Gennaro's Puttanesca

Gennaro’s Puttanesca

Some neighbours watch on overhead

Some neighbours watch on overhead

Regula, aka Miss Food Wise, samples Gennaro's pasta

Regula, aka Miss Food Wise, samples Gennaro’s pasta

DJ BBQ's carnitas

DJ BBQ’s carnitas

Jack's Gap sample Donal's lamb kebab

JacksGap sample Donal’s lamb kebab

Jamie Oliver's Food Tube Summer Party - 388

Filming Food Tube

Filming Food Tube

Gennaro, Jamie & DJ BBQ

Gennaro, Jamie & DJ BBQ

Donal is feeling it :)

Donal is feeling it :)

JacksGap & Jamie eating chillies and maybe regretting it

JacksGap & Jamie eating chillies and maybe regretting it

Definitely regretting it!

Definitely regretting it!

DJ BBQ - fantastic! Awesome spandex outfit and he can cook too :)

DJ BBQ

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Preview: Food Fight Club from Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty Tomorrow (I am on it :)

There are so may things that I do that are a lot of fun. I know I am lucky. Earlier this year, I did some filming for Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty’s new series, Food Fight Club.

Exciting, eh?

There were 8 of us bloggers gathered around a table. We knew we were eating offal,and most of us were comfortable with that. The offal we consumed though, at one point, took almost all of us by surprise.

Jamie & Jimmy’s Food Fight Club begins on Channel 4 at 9pm on Thursday 6th December, and we are in the first episode. Tune in to see it. You can watch the preview now too below. How to eat well on camera? I have yet to crack it.

ADVANCE NOTICE: it was a very hot day and was filmed in a hot kitchen. My Irish constitution and pale face resulted in a big red face for most of it. At least I matched my lipstick to it, eh?!

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A Weekend in Watergate Bay: Dinner at Fifteen Cornwall

Watergate Bay, Cornwall

Fifteen is a very impressive place. Another one of Jamie Oliver’s socially enterprising projects, Fifteen started in London, a restaurant established with two purposes: serving good Italian food and training kids with difficult
backgrounds and limited hope for the future, as chefs.

This presents many problems. Lots of these kids are quite traumatised and struggle with routine and authority. It has been very successful despite this, and on the back of that first TV show and book, there are now many troubled kids that have become trained chefs and work in the industry. Lots of chefs with potential that we may hear more about in the future. The London restaurant is also successful (although it gets mixed reviews, some love it, some not so much) and is now an international brand and charity with restaurants/academies in Cornwall, Melbourne and Amsterdam.

Dinner at Fifteen, Cornwall

I find this interesting for many reasons. It’s a lovely twist on using food to nurture, not only providing diners with food, Fifteen provides the trainees with direction, focus, and a passion for and knowledge of food. Some of the kids that train there have limited skills and little exposure to food, certainly of the standard served in most restaurants.

The selection process is thorough, they ensure that they choose kids with potential, they ask them to taste food and describe it, and those that pass this, are sent on an overnight boot camp to ensure that they can work as part of a team and deal with the stresses that will come their way in the kitchen. No small thing then, this all happens before they ever pick up a knife and learn to chop, produce a stock, their first dish, it’s a long process.

I paid a visit to Fifteen Cornwall, which is socially enterprising as it’s London sibling is, but it takes it to another level. It takes in kids from all over Cornwall (a big county – the kids travel to Fifteen from all over daily at the expense of the charity) but also ensures that it sources 80% of it’s produce from Cornwall. That includes salt & pepper, everything. They encourage local producers to provide produce that the restaurant requires, be it duck, herbs, charcuterie, coffee, and durum wheat for pasta and as a result or in partnership with, Cornwall has a fantastic and thriving local food culture. They are a veritable force for good at a time when farmers and small producers are struggling against the commercial might of the supermarkets.

But, what of the food? The social enterprise nature of the restaurant is very important, but it is a restaurant, and customers pay for the pleasure. How do they maintain consistency and ensure that the food that comes out of that kitchen is good and worth the price ? For every trainee chef, there is one training chef, and not only is there a head chef, but there is also a head training and development chef, ensuring that along with the training, food of a high standard is sent out, as each trainee chef has a trainer accomplice. Makes sense.

Dinner at Fifteen, Cornwall

The restaurant is set on the beach and walled with windows, a stunning location. We were seated in the corner while the sunset and it was absolutely beautiful, it would be difficult to match the setting. We started with some prosecco and a natter, soaking it all in, before turning our attention to the menu. The menu changes daily, and depends on what food is available.

I was invited to try the tasting menu on my visit there. We didn’t match the wines in this instance, although I will do that on my next visit. Overall impressions of the food were that this is well executed Italian food. It doesn’t have the robust simplicity of The River Café, where Jamie cut his teeth, it’s more intricate and detailed, and on the evening that I ate there, very good indeed.

Dinner at Fifteen, Cornwall

We started with porcini mushroom and thyme arancini, crispy little risotto balls and roasted butternut squash with St Allen goats cheese. These were a lovely appetiser with some prosecco (Cartizze from the other Bisol family in Venice it turns out). I really liked both of these, nice little bites, the arancini were crispy and intensely savoury and the sweet roast butternut squash was lovely with the more tart Cornish goats cheese.

Dinner at Fifteen, Cornwall

The insalata course offered insalata of mozzarella di bufala with Italian blood orange, candied walnuts and Buttervilla’s micro herbs or Cornish Deli Farm coppa with beautifully dressed ruby beets, wild rocket and horseradish. I wanted both (greedy girl that I am) but forced with a choice, I really wanted to taste the coppa from Deli Farm Charcuterie in Cornwall. Luckily, one of my dining companions offered to share hers too, so we had half and half. The mozarella with blood orange was stunning, and very pretty with the bold walnuts providing a lovely bite, and the microherbs I loved for texture as well as flavour. Overall it was lovely. The coppa was delicious, hats off to Deli Farm, I adore beetroot and these were treated well, but the insalata was my favourite of the two for the dish as a whole.

Dinner at Fifteen, Cornwall

We’re now at Primi and I am getting full already as I have had an enormous lunch (call me a bad planner or a glutton, both work equally well). We had a choice of squid ink angel hair with Falmouth bay mussels Looe day boat squid and pangratatto or gnudi verdi (the lightest ricotta and spinach dumplings) with a lemon and sage butter sauce. I couldn’t resist the local fish, and was delighted that I had chosen it, it was delicate and very well composed tasting elegantly of the sea. The squid ink angel hair was remniscent of seaweed, and despite my appetite waning I wanted more.

Dinner at Fifteen, Cornwall

There were four options for secondi, and I won’t go through all of them here, but will tell you about the two I spent 5 minutes agonising over. The crispy fillet of line caught sea bass with winter vignole of borlotti beans, kale, violet artichokes, prosciutto di San Daniele and salmoriglio or pot roasted Primrose Herd balsamic pork shoulder with sage polenta, savoy cabbage and pan juices. I’d already had fish, and adore pork shoulder, and this balsamic treatment of it was interesting to say the least. But my appetite was waning, so I thought the lighter fish option might be better. The dish arrived with lovely crispy artichokes lying on top, as if a funeral for the fish. They did that fish proud, it was lovely, the borlottis and the kale providing savoury meatiness. I didn’t much notice the proscitto, but the fish was lovely and wonderfull fresh. Another well executed and pleasant dish.

Dinner at Fifteen, Cornwall

I needed something light for dessert so went with Amalfi lemon semi freddo, Champagne rhubarb and Clare’s lovely macaroon. It was a spritely dessert, RHUBARB again (I must be turning pink!), and the semi-freddo was lovely. It was a large dessert, but I did my best to finish it.

Dinner at Fifteen, Cornwall

We finished with coffee and petits fours, the petits fours were fine, but nothing really special, however I was really full at this point, and it would have taken something stellar to revive my palate.

Dinner at Fifteen, Cornwall

Wines? We had Nebbiolo D’Alba, 2007 from Ascheri a lovely light red that would be perfect for summer or with Italian food like here, and Les Fleurs d’Alsace Hugel, 2006, both recommended by the sommelier. I really liked them both and found them great matches for my light dishes. I found myself hogging the Hugel wine though. It’s delicious and creamy, but quite bright and lively, one of those lovely white wines full of personality and also elegant from the Alsace.

The overall experience was one of a lovely pleasant relaxed evening, eating delicious food by the sea. It was relaxing, despite the restaurant being busy, and the food felt delicious and healthy. A lovely break from a Londoner, I am going back this June and doing it all again, and all on my own dollar. Highly recommended.

Fifteen Offer for readers of Eat Like a Girl: From the 19th – 30th April enjoy a new season’s asparagus course free with each booking. I only wish I was closer to indulge!

Disclosure: I ate at Fifteen Cornwall as a guest and stayed in Cornwall courtesy of Beach Retreats and The Hotel Watergate Bay.