The best way to develop award-winning dishes is to start with a list of proposed ingredients then think about what to do with them for several weeks, if not months.
That is what Marcus Wareing, chef proprietor of one-Michelin-starred Pétrus in London, will tell delegates at this year's Caterer & Hotelkeeper Chef Conference, run in association with British Meat and being held at London's Dorchester hotel on 19 March.
Wareing, who is taking one of the afternoon workshops at the conference, plans to reveal how he formulates new dishes and composes his menu. "I will advise people not to rush anything when they're working on a new dish," he told Chef last week.
"I think about dishes for ages and ages before actually introducing them," he said. "I'll jot six or seven ingredients that I'd like to use on a piece of paper, and work from there. I might think about them for as long as four or five weeks and think about the flavour I want to produce before starting to cook."
Wareing will be demonstrating a starter and a main course at the conference, both of which will be new dishes on his menu. "When I do demonstrations," he explained, "I like to do dishes that are exciting and surprising, not only for the audience but for me, too."
At another workshop, Jason Atherton, chef-proprietor of L'Anis in Kensington, London, will reveal how his travels to Spain, France, Australia and the USA have inspired him and given him ideas for dishes and presentation. "I'll be encouraging other young chefs to do the same as I did and to travel as much as possible to experience food elsewhere," he said. "If they want to be successful, then that's absolutely paramount."
A range of other workshops will also be taking place at the conference. For a full programme or to book a place, contact Sarah Sutton on 020 8652 8349.