AUTHOR: Alexandra Chaden, Segment Producer, The Mind of a Chef
EPISODE: BRIT CLASSICS
CHEF: APRIL BLOOMFIELD
British food used to get a very bad rap, but what’s so bad about Sunday roasts, fry-ups, meat pies, bangers and mash, fish and chips, and toffee-based desserts?
Nothing. Nothing at all. One of April’s trademarks is paying homage to the foods that her countrymen grew up on, but making slightly more refined versions. She got to sample some of her favorites while back across the pond for part of the shoot, and then to make her versions of the classics stateside.
April and her bff, London chef Pete Begg, sample fish & chips from one of Pete’s favorite chip shops. Judging by their ecstatic child-like faces, I’d assume that what a perfect cheeseburger is to Americans, this paper-wrapped meal is to Brits.
One cannot think of British food and not think of fish & chips. April’s chips are on a whole other level — the three-pronged cooking approach does wonders for the humble potato. Deep fried goodness, salt, fish and fries — all the important food groups in one meal.
Banoffee Pie consists of perfect pastry crust, fresh ripe bananas, dulce de leche, lightly sweetened whipped cream, and shaved chocolate. It is crazy easy and entirely crack-tastic.
April makes faggots from what was typically considered the scraps of an animal — liver, cheeks — mixed with grain and wrapped in caul fat (that’s the lining from the animal’s stomach … yum?) and cabbage leaves before being oven-braised. The individual ingredients may not sound all that appealing, but some magic happens in the oven, and the final flavor is greater than the sum of the parts. Trust me.
April and our executive producer/director Michael snack on faggots with their fingers. On more than one occasion customers have come in to The Spotted Pig and ordered, complete with French accent, “fah-jzsoh.”
The finished product is so elegant-looking — hard to believe that it’s got such an awkward-sounding name.