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London Hosts $1,000-A-Head Dinner

The New York event at Gotham Hall in 2012
© Diner des Grands Chefs | The New York event at Gotham Hall in 2012
Gold-plated dinner draws 50 international chefs to London.

The renaissance of young, bold British cuisine will be celebrated in London next week when 50 top chefs from 17 countries cook at a posh dinner that will turn a former fish market into a culinary theater.

Luxury hotel group Relais & Châteaux will be bringing its splashy Dîner des Grands Chefs event to Old Billingsgate Market on April 22. The visiting chefs will cook to the theme of “The World’s Kitchen by the Thames,” to create a glamorous event that comes with a price tag of 650 pounds ($1,000).

At the first opulent Dîner des Grands Chefs in 2011, 60 grand masters cooked for 600 guests in the gilded halls of the Château de Versailles in France. An American version was staged in New York last year, and London was chosen for the next stop to mark the fact that it is “rapidly becoming one of the world’s most attractive destinations for fine dining.”

In addition to London's “exciting mélange of cultures,” the hotel group says the British capital’s dining landscape is a hotbed of chef talent. It also boasts a strong sustainability culture that places importance on local, traceable and green produce.

At the Relais & Châteaux version of a kitchen stadium, the grand chefs will be divided into teams of three, who will prepare five-course meals in a show of gastronomic theater, live in front of their guests.

And the epicurean star of the show this year? British seafood: dishes made with locally sourced lobster from Cornwall and Jersey; crab from Devonshire; diver-harvested Scottish scallops; Cornish oysters; and Welsh cockles.

Accompaniments will include "under-appreciated sea vegetables" such as samphire, seabeet and sea purslane.

Pommery's Louise Champagne will be poured at the London dinner where Raymond Blanc will be among the team of chefs
© Wine-Searcher/Diner des Grands Chefs/AFP | Pommery's Louise Champagne will be poured at the London dinner where Raymond Blanc will be among the team of chefs

The menu is as follows: 

  • Second appetizer: Gigha halibut or Scottish scallops (diver caught) + Champagne Pommery Cuvée Louise Rosé 1990
  • Main course: Aberdeen Angus beef or Denbighshire chicken + Château Pavie 2002 or Champagne Pommery Cuvée Louise Rosé 1990.

The cheese course will be served with a Porto Rozes Dom Rozes that is more than 40 years old.

Dessert will be paired with Champagne Pommery Cuvée Louise 1999.

Participating chefs will include Raymond Blanc of Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons near Oxford, Emmanuel Renaut of Flocons de Sel in Megève, Hiroshi Yamaguchi of the Kobe Kitano Hotel in Japan, and Hélène Darroze of Restaurant Hélène Darroze, who has eateries in Paris, London and Moscow.

The evening will also feature live and silent auctions, with the proceeds going to Action Against Hunger, an international humanitarian organization that works to overcome child hunger.

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