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Beat the Chef! - Carrots

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Beat the Chef! - Carrot Cake

We have been appealing to the public for someone who thinks they can go up against our chefs with their recipe.

But who will be the winner? Can they beat our chef!?

There is only one rule, we will give both viewer and chef an ingredient that they need to include in their recipe, for example , If we give them chocolate, they can cook or bake any chocolate dish they like.

The ingredient for today is carrots!

Today we have selected Tom Walton from Kilkenny to go up against our chef Richie Wilson. Tom thinks his carrot cake will beat Richie's.

This theme will run every Wednesday until the end of November

Note: No chef has been beaten yet!

Who are The Guests?

Richie Wilson - Head Chef at the Morrison
In November 2006, the Morrison appointed Richie Wilson as Executive Head Chef in its newly restyled Halo restaurant.

Richie has a wealth of experience and has worked in a number of Irelands's top restaurants and hotels. Richie's love for the kitchen began in The Gresham Hotel and was followed by Jobs in Chez Hugo's and the renowned McGrattain's Restaurant before attending college in Athlone I.T. After graduating as Ireland's Young Professional Chef of the Year, Richie received a scholarship to Johnson and Whales Culinary Arts University in Rhode Island. On his return he took up a position in The Hibernian Hotel before taking a position in Paul Flynn's Tannery Restaurant and after 3 years with Paul he spent 3 years with the 2 Michelin Starred, Kevin Thornton in Thornton's Restaurant. The Westin Hotel was the next stop and most recently Richie was responsible for opening the food operations at the new Hilton Hotel Dublin Airport.

Richie serves up a fusion of modern European cuisine using Irish produce wherever possible. He ensures that all produce used is of the highest quality and he believes that the secret to good food is having an excellent relationship with your supplier. Richie believes in carefully selecting his suppliers and he prefers to deal with small suppliers who take great pride in their produce.

The menu in Halo offers a range of styles to suit every palate and the emphasis is on rounded tastes that are artfully presented. The White Asparagus Mousse starter is a wonderful example of this. Here Richie provides art on a plate with wild asparagus, white and green asparagus, gentle twists of white asparagus mousse and edible flowers including blue salvia and daisies for a pretty and fresh look.

When asked who Richie's influences are he reveals that his grandmother was his first influence. He remembers watching her deftly make pastry from a very young age and he claims she made the best pastry in Ireland - due to her cold hands, but warm heart. His second influence is Delia Smith who according to Richie brought basic cookery skills to the masses and was the Nigella Lawson of the 80's in terms of sexy housewife appeal.

Richie believes in using traditional menu items as his inspiration and then bringing them back to life with new flavours and twists. His Coffee Break dessert is a great example of this. Richie remembers queuing at the counter of a Café with his mum who would take a tray and order a cup of coffee with a slice of cake, dollop of cream and a fork on the side of the plate. His Coffee Break replicates that idea. The plate is the tray, the dried raspberry wafer coulis is the plate, the coffee, chocolate and crème brulee flavoured mini slice of cake sits on top of that with a swirl of fresh cream to the side. He even recreates the cup of coffee with a miniature chocolate cup on a wafer saucer filled with coffee flavoured fondant. The finishing touch is the chocolate dusted fork on the side of the plate.

So how does Richie run his kitchen? "No shouting. I have worked in kitchens over the years where you got roared at and it never made me cook any better. This is a stressful game with long and unsociable hours but it is passionate and I love it. My team are super and I want to keep them and show them what I have learned. I just don't see the point of abusing your own team members to the point where they break down, it's a stressful enough game but I couldn't ever imagine doing anything else."

Tom Walton - Competitor
Tom is 23 and from Kilkenny but works with children in special needs school in Dublin.

Tom works one on one with a little boy named Liam Donnegan who has autism and Liam actually appeared on our show last year for the national autism day. Tom is single and some of his hobbies are cooking, He's in a book club and practices Bikram yoga. He loves to keep fit and did the Connemara Marathon last March, and will do it again next year! He plays a little bit of piano as well.

Tom is a big fan of the show and cooking and baking are a big hobby of his, one of his favourite recipes to cook is chocolate chip cookies. He thinks his are good enough to beat our chefs anyday.

Tom's favourite celebrity chefs are Nigella Lawson and Rachel Allen, particularly Rachel as he loves baking. He thinks he got his love for cooking from his mum.

Richie's dish:

Carrot and Orange Sorbet, Carrot and Ginger Tuiles & Carrot and Bourbon Cocktail Mousse

(10 portions)


. 300ml Carrot Juice
. 250ml Orange Juice
. 20ml Lemon Juice
. 500ml Water
. 250g Caster Sugar
. Cinnamon Stick
. Cloves


. 3 Shots Carrot Juice
. 1 Shot Orange Juice
. 1 Shot Sugar Syrup (take a little from the sorbet mix)
. 0.5 Shot Amaretto
. 1 Shot Bourbon
. 1 dash Ginger Juice
. 2 Gelatin Leaves


. 100g Caster Sugar
. 100g Plain Flour
. 100g Soft Unsalted Butter
. 100g Egg Whites
. 10g Very finely grated Carrot
. 1pinch Ground Ginger
. Zest of Orange

Sorbet Method:
1. Place the water, sugar, cinnamon stick and cloves into a saucepan.
2. Bring to a simmer for no more than 3-4 minutes.
3. Set a aside to cool.
4. Once the syrup has cooled add the Carrot, Orange and Lemon juice.
5. Now taste your mix and if it needs a little freshening up add a little more lemon juice.
6. To make this mix into a sorbet pour it into an ice cream maker and follow the direction described with the machine.
7. If you have no Ice cream maker it is still possible to make what is known as a "Granita". To do this, simply pour the cool mix into a large deep tray and place in the freezer. Return to the freezer about every 30 minutes and stir well with a strong metal spoon to break up the ice.
8. After about 3-4 hours of this the mix should be frozen into a sort of slushy granular texture.
9. It's a good idea to separate it into portions on the tray at this stage before it becomes too frozen.

Cocktail Method:

The Cocktail can be made in 2 different ways.

This method is to make the cocktail for drinking.
1. Begin by crush the orange and ginger in a cocktail mixer and add the Bourbon, Amaretto and Juices along with plenty of crushed ice.
2. Give your cocktail a good shake before straining into a glass.

This method is to make the cocktail into a mousse for the top of the sorbet.
1. 5 shots of the mix you have prepared for sorbet and add the bourbon and Amaretto. Now ad
2. d the ginger. Soak the gelatin leaves for about 5 minutes in cool water before straining and melting in a small pot over a low heat.
3. Add the gelatin to the cocktail mix and leave this in the fridge to set.
4. Now place the jelly in a cream charger gun and add the gas.
5. Shake well before using.

Tuile Method:

A tuile is basically a very thin crisp biscuit.

1. Add all the ingredients except the egg white to a food mixer with the blade attachment in.
2. Turn on the mixer until the mix takes on a sandy texture.
3. Now continue to mix while pouring in the egg whites through the top of the mixture. Once a smooth paste is formed remove from the mixer and allow to set in the fridge for a few hours.
4. To bake the biscuits place a sheet of grease proof paper onto a baking sheet
5. If you have a fan assisted oven you should place a couple of spoons or knives around the edge of the paper to prevent it blowing in the oven. Just take care not to touch them once they have come out of the oven!
6. Using a teaspoon or pallet knife spread small quantities of the mix well apart from each other on the tray.
7. You can also use a template to shape the mix onto the tray in shapes like triangles or feathers etc.
8. Bake at 180 degrees for about 4 minutes or until they turn golden brown.
9. While the biscuits are still hot from the oven it is possible to take them from the tray and shape them over a rolling pin or in a cup to take on the desired shape.
10. You need to work fast as once the cool they set hard.

To Present

1. Use a Martini Glass to serve the sorbet.
2. Place a ball in the centre of the glass.
3. If you have used a cream charger squeeze a little of mousse over the top and arrange one or two tuiles in the glass.
4. If you have not used a charger simply pour a little of the cocktail mix over the top before adding your tuile biscuits.
5. A nice addition to the presentation is a little popping candy in each glass which just adds a little fun to the dish!
6. You could also make a really good Daiquiri by placing some of the sorbet in a food mixer and adding the cocktail, blend and pour into a glass along with a straw or two, Enjoy!!

Tom's Dish:

Carrot Cake:

. 200g soft brown sugar
. 140ml vegetable oil
. 300g grated carrot
. 2 eggs
. 80g chopped walnuts
. 180g self-raising flour
. Pinch of salt
. 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
. 1/2 tsp mixed spice
. 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
. 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Lemon Icing:

. 250g cream cheese
. 50g softened butter
. 1tsp vanilla extract
. 200g icing sugar
. Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
. 1 tbsp lemon juice

1. Preheat the oven to 150degrees Celsius, or Gas Mark 2.
2. Oil a loaf tin and line with parchment paper.
3. Beat the eggs in a large bowl, mix in the vegetable oil, then the sugar, then the carrots and walnuts.
4. Sift in the dry ingredients and mix together well.
5. Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and bake in the oven for about 1hour- 1hour 15minutes or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.
6. Leave to sit in the loaf tin for a few minutes before removing.
7. Set aside to cool completely before adding the icing.
8. For the icing, beat together the butter and cream cheese using an electric mixer until smooth.
9. Add the vanilla extract, lemon zest, lemon juice and stir.
10. Then add the icing sugar and combine until smooth and thick.
11. Spread icing over the cooled carrot cake and serve.

Richie Wilson