Young, talented, Spanish and holders of a Michelin star, I’m shocked I’ve not heard about Peter and Jonray Sanchez-Iglesias who hail from Westbury-on-Trym. Then again, living in the capital I’m spoilt for choice, but having met them and tasted their food at The Chef’s Table at The Big Feastival a herd of wild horses won’t stop me from visiting.
I’m meant to be eating, not doing any grilling of my own but I’m fascinated by these two chefs, and I’m sat right next to the pass, so can’t help myself. An intimate group are guests of the Swedish household and professional appliances company Electrolux, who also happen to be the headline sponsor of The Big Feastival and we’re told a great support to these two young chefs.
So it’s payback time which is lucky for us. The boys worked in their parents’ Italian trattoria when they were kids. Peter attends catering college, Jonray studies graphic design. They both come together and decide a brotherly business partnership is the way forward and take over the running of the family business. So good is the food, the restaurant is given a Michelin star. With food inspired by their childhood, we’re taken on family picnics, indulged in Italian summers and given a reminder of the best of the seasonal British larder in a whistlestop-tasting-tour.
We start with what’s billed on the menu as ‘Quiche Lorraine’, probably one of the best I’ve ever eaten. The chefs aren’t over-enthusiastic with their words to describe their dishes and three, maybe four words feature on both this menu and their menu at Casamia. It’s all part of the experience and more importantly the surprise element. These boys want you to use all your senses to make the most of what they’re conjuring up in their kitchen. We’re told that this is a quintessential beach favourite of the Sanchez-Iglesias family and I have to agree was one of ours. Of course, the ease of preparation, simple ingredients and its immediate portability makes it a total picnic winner. An incredibly crispy cocktail-sized pastry case, is filled with a Keen’s Cheddar-rich foam and finished with Serrano ham and snipped chives. Nothing like any picnic Lorraine’s I’ve experienced and no sand in sight, or more importantly in my mouth.
This comes in a picnic basket filled with hay.
We’re introduced to Jon Sebastien the sommelier who’s been spared from Casamia for the day to make sure that the food is well paired and he’s chosen wines from the Chilean producer Concha y Toro.
The ‘Mozzarella, tomatoes’ are a bowl of beauty, crowned with a bright slice of sunshine , an air-dried tomato, cut razor-thin and as transparent and as a beautiful as a stained glass window. The mozzarella wasn’t a ball as I’d expected but had been re-invented, passed through a foam gun (the boys are fans of Heston B). Heritage tomatoes were dressed with an intense tomato gravy, dehydrated olive ‘gravel’ and British basil.
Finished off with basil oil the juice left in the bowl had the makings of a Jackson Pollack.
With our taste buds popping we’re treated to ‘Duck, Carrot, Fennel’ what arrives are slices of Creedy Carver duck, glazed in honey, rolled in fennel seeds and with delicately peeled yellow and orange Heritage carrots, with an intense carrot puree, shaved fennel bulb and a jus reduction.
Obviously, it’s all about the finite detail with these chefs and I’ve just had a snapshot of what’s on offer, turn up one of their plates or bowls and you’ll see a local potter realised their canteen design.
‘Peaches and Cream’ arrive in a small lidded bowl with a layers of delicious peach granita, unctuous thyme-infused custard and a raspberry coulis.
We learn about the Electrolux Chef Academy and meet the three winners from this year’s competition. They’ll spend a year in a fully-funded work placement in three of the country’s top Michelin star restaurants. Viktorija Bernataviciute from Northampton College, Jonah Kellar from City College Plymouth and Giuseppe Giorgio Finocchio from Westminster Kingsway College will work with Tom Kitchin, Simon Hulstone and Jonray and Peter, on a rotational basis.
It was a great opportunity to try some fantastic food and learn more about the work Electrolux do to nurture and promote young talent.