Chef collaborations and restaurant residencies are definitely a bit of a thing at the moment. Whether it be for a specific dish, a one-off menu or even a few week’s residency, chefs sharing their kitchens and ideas is becoming more and more common as restaurants and restaurateurs up their game to keep customers attention and drive extra revenue.
Given the current challenging landscape for restaurants due to issues including Brexit-related economic uncertainty, the growing impact of home delivery services on eating out, and ever-rising rents and rates, restaurants and chefs alike are increasingly offering something extra in order to attract diners, and these collaborations do just that.
At the same time diners are also tiring of mediocre ‘cookie cutter’ concepts (just look at how high street chains have been suffering of late) and are instead looking for innovation, authenticity and diversity in the food they pay to eat. There’s also a distinct lack of loyalty among current diners, with so much choice these days when it comes to eating out (and in), but these special events provide an ever-changing point of interest for a restaurant and so help maintain loyalty and keep customers interest.
In all it’s a win win situation for everyone. Collaborations not only keep things fresh in the kitchen and help to upskill chefs, but they also create publicity and drive that all-important social media activity alongside giving diners a chance to sample unique menus and new flavour combinations.
Here are some of the more interesting London-centric chef collaborations we’ve come across recently:
Morty & Bob’s vs Hix
Morty & Bob’s café and bar in Coal Drops Yard, Kings Cross has stared a monthly grilled cheese toasted sandwich special in collaboration with guest chefs. The current offering, from Mark Hix, is a toasted sourdough sandwich stuffed with black pudding, apple sauce, Neal’s Yard Dairy cheddar.
Maria Elia Smashing Plates residency at the Great Guns Social Club
Chef, cookery writer and broadcaster Maria Ella is currently running a pop-up in the kitchen at the Great Guns Social Club. This runs until the 21st June 2019.
Elizabeth Haigh at Mortimer House Kitchen
Chef Elizabeth Haigh (who was awarded a Michelin Star at her previous post as head chef for Pidgin) is part way through her two month residency at Mortimer House – a member’s club and workspace in Fitzrovia, London.
Duck Duck Goose at Mortimer House
Chef Oli Brown’s Duck Duck Goose has now finished its residency at Pop Brixton, but this July Brown will be the next kitchen guest at the aforementioned Mortimer House where he will be cooking his modern Cantonese canteen-fare on Friday and Saturday nights.
Chet Sharma at Carousel, London
The latest chef in the kitchen at Carousel, which has an ever-changing roster of residencies, is Chet Sharma, the development chef for JKS Restaurants. He’ll be trialling dishes planned for a new restaurant of his own. The next chef scheduled for the Carousel kitchen is Tokyo-based chef Yuji Tani.
Quo Vadis holds regular, one-off ‘& Friends’ events. The next one, on 10th July 2019 is with Anna Jones who will be cooking a plant-based feast. Other forthcoming events will feature Brett Graham and The Ledbury, the Marksman pub and Coombeshead Farm.
Pit Magazine at The Ace Hotel
Pit Magazine – a publication dedicated to the art of the barbecue is holding a series of Sunday food and fire feasts over the coming summer at Ace Hotel, Shoreditch. The first chef is Elizabeth Haigh.
Bodega Rita’s Meal Deal Series
Bodega Rita’s offers a Meal Deal, in which a rotating roster of guest chefs create the sandwich at the heart of the deal. The current sandwich, ‘the Oliver Brown’ is created by Oliver Brown of Duck Duck Goose – a pork and prawn patty coated in sesame seeds, shallow fried in a soft bap with curly endive, pickled kohlrabi dressed kewpie mayo, tonkatsu sauce and bonito flakes on a soft roll. The rest of the meal deal comprises salt and pepper crisps and homemade twice iced tea.
AngloThai x Counter Culture
Counter Culture is the little brother to Clapham’s much acclaimed The Dairy and it’s currently hosting a kitchen takeover from chef John Chantarasak and his wife Desiree West. The Anglo Thai menu, as the name suggest, features traditional Thai recipes and flavours filtered through a British lens with modern techniques and local produce, and it’s recently received a glowing review from Marina O’Loughlin in The SundayTimes. Chantarasak and West have also been running weekly Sunday dinners called ‘AngloThai with Friends’ next-door in The Dairy, featuring a different guest chef and sommelier each week.
Chinese Laundry at 10 Coulgate St
Peiran Gong and Tongtong Ren’s Chinese Laundry stared life as a restaurant in Islington, which has now closed. But they continue to operate under the same name and now have a 3 month residency 10 Coulgate St in Lewisham. They are there until 4th Aug 2019.
Sambal Shiok vs The Hampstead Kitchen
Malaysian laksa house Sambal Shiok is joining forces with Saima Khan of The Hampstead Kitchen for a one-off Eid al Fitr Malaysian Pakistani banquet on Sunday 16th June 2019.
Lewis de Haas at The Winemakers
Lewis de Haas, head chef at Petersham Nurseries is cooking at Deptford’s The Winemakers wine bar for three nights 20th to 22nd June 2019.
Alex Davies at Rochelle Canteen ICAFrom Gatherings restaurant in Christchurch, NZ, Davies was a guest chef on Tues 4th June at the Rochelle Canteen ICA.