Laoise Casey is Chef de Partie at Paradise Garage and is taking over the reins at the Manor with Eloise Dawes for their next Homegrown Supper Club - we asked her to tell us more...
Robin Gill (creator of The Dairy, The Manor, Paradise Garage, Counter Culture) set up the Homegrown series earlier this year to support new talent in the hospitality industry. Held on the first Sunday of each month at The Manor, Clapham, it showcases the menus of different chefs.
For a while now, Eloise Dawes and myself (Paradise Garage) have been watching from the side-lines. We’ve eaten the food, and we’ve loved it. The nights out afterwards weren’t too bad either. And now we’re delighted to let you know that our own Homegrown, The Perfect Nightmare Before Christmas, will take place on Sunday 4 December.
This is an opportunity for us to do what we love while having fun. Perhaps that’s one of the ways to describe what working in restaurants is like. You see, I never planned to end up in restaurants but then once I did, I realised that the people you meet are what make the long hours worthwhile.
These are the people who teach you how to cook. They inspire you to create recipes, and share the little tips and techniques that are hard to write down - like how many ways there actually are to zest a lemon properly. They remind you that after a 16-hour shift it probably is a good idea to go out, because sometimes you just need to relax even though you’re going to be up again four hours later. They make Sunday deep-clean far less painful than it should be. Above all else, they keep you laughing and happy that you get to do this job.
Eloise is one of the people who does this. Formerly of Arbutus and Bentley’s she now works at Paradise Garage. This is someone who loves cooking for the pure joy of it, and that is the type of person I want to cook with. Perhaps one of the dishes that illustrates this is her strawberry and jelly dessert which was on the menu at Paradise Garage this summer. Do you remember eating jelly and ice cream when you were a kid and how life was so much simpler then? Eating this brings you back to that time ‐ it reminds you of jelly and ice cream while yet being something so much more. She made a smoked buttermilk sorbet with strawberry jellyand mousse with caramelised strawberry popcorn that cracks as you bite into it.
So now we’re in the kitchen together to bring you The Perfect Nightmare Before Christmas. On the night we’ll be supported by the front of house teams from Paradise Garage and The Manor. There will be chicken, and scones too. Mackerel, its shiny blue and silver striped skin, with cranberries and marshmallow. Mulled wine barbecue beef brisket. Rumour has it that a type of Christmas pudding shall appear too. But we’re also keeping some of the menu all wrapped up. Afterall, it’s (nearly) Christmas ‐we wouldn’t like to spoil the surprise. If you’d like to have all your cake and eat it then come along, and let us cook for you. We can’t wait.
Laoise is a chef de partie at Paradise Garage in Bethnal Green. She is also a freelance food stylist and writes regular columns for The Independent and Evening Standard. Follow her on Twitter @laoisecooks and Instagram @laoisecooks.
Strawberry & Jelly photo by Majella O'Connell, Pavlova and Cream Photography.