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Beat the Chef - Pasta

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Beat the chef is back!

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!?

Our crew and an official judge will be tasting the dishes!

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 pasta!

Today we have selected Francis Foley from Cork to go up against our chef Richie Wilson. Francis thinks his pasta dish will beat Richie's!

This theme will run every Thursday for the next 4 weeks

Note: Only one chef has been beaten this year so far!

. Richie Wilson - Head Chef at the Morrison
. Francis Foley

Richie Wilson:

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."

Francis Foley

Francis loves to cook pasta, stews, steak and loves having barbeques. He has many many cook books, his favourite being from Jamie Oliver and Darina Allen. His Favourite tv chef is Gordon Ramsey.

Richie's dish:

Squid Ink Pasta With Shellfish Cream, Wilted Spinach And Seared Sea Trout

Serve 4

. 4 x 200g Sea Trout Fillets
. 460g Squid Ink Tagliatelle (115g per person)
. 200g Fresh Mussels
. 200g Fresh Clams
. 200ml White Wine
. 400ml Cream
. 2each Shallots
. 300g Baby Spinach
. 1 pinch Nutmeg
. 2 tsp Chopped thyme
. 2 clove Crushed Garlic
. 200 g Grated Parmesan
. 1 each Lemon
. Olive Oil
. Seasoning

1. Begin by bringing a pot of salted water to the boil and add a drop of olive. Now add your fresh pasta and cook for 3-4 minutes before straining, seasoning and setting to one side.
2. Heat a wide base pan (ensure you have a lid to fit) and drizzle a little olive oil over it. Now add the shallots, half the garlic and thyme followed by the white wine. Bring the wine to the boil and add the mussels and clams. Place a lid on top and continue to boil for 2-3 minutes or until they begin to open.
3. Now strain the liquid through a fine sieve into a clean pot. Return the pot with the shellfish stock in it to the heat and continue to boil until reduced by half. Add the cream to the stock and continue simmering until the cream begins to thicken. Now add the parmesan cheese a little squeeze of lemon and season.
4. Pick the meat clam and mussels from the shells and add to the cream sauce. Add the pre cooked pasta to this pot now and turn it well in order to get the sauce all the way through the pasta.
5. To cook the Trout simply drizzle a little olive oil on each side and season on each side. Place on a hot pan. A 200g fillet will only take 2-3 minutes each side to cook.
6. To cook the spinach, heat a wide based pot with a little olive oil, add the remaining garlic and spinach. Turn quickly over a high heat and season with a little nutmeg
7. To present this dish, curl the pasta with a fork and place to one side of the plate and spoon a little more of the sauce and shellfish over. Place the spinach on the opposite side with the trout on top. Garnish with a little shaved parmesan.
8. Enjoy!

Francis's dish:

Conchigliette all'Arrabiatta with Pancetta and Chorizo

Serve 2

. 100g Pancetta or Smoked Bacon
. 100g Chorizo
. 400g Passata or Crushed Tomatoes
. 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
. 2 Finely Chopped Medium Onions
. 2 Finely Chopped Garlic Cloves
. ½ Finely Chopped Red Chilli
. ½ Finely Chopped Green Chilli
. 1 Tbsp Tomato Puree
. 1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
. 1 Tbsp Rich Soy Sauce
. 1 Tbsp Worcester Sauce
. Fresh Ground Black Pepper
. Salt
. 25g Parmesan Cheese
. 10 Fresh Basil Leaves
. 250g Conchigliette or Penne

1. Add Conghigliette to boiling salted water, cook according to directions around 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile sauté the Onions, Garlic, Chilli and Black Pepper over a medium heat in the oil until soft.
3. Increase the heat and add the Pancetta and Chorizo and cook for around 3 minutes.
4. Add the Tomato Puree and cook for 30 seconds or so.
5. Add the Passata and bring to the boil then, turn down the heat and add the Balsamic Vinegar, Soy and Worcester Sauces and half of the Parmesan and cook for a further minute or so.
6. Finely chop most of the Basil, add some to the sauce and keep the rest and some sprigs for garnish, check the seasoning.
7. Strain the pasta, put back into saucepan and mix in the hot sauce.
8. Serve in warm bowls garnished with chopped Basil, Parmesan Shavings and Basil Sprigs.