Having once lagged behind in the culinary world, London has earned a reputation as one of the world’s top gastronomic destinations. Although it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what has made this happen, one of the reasons must be the formidably talented chefs working their magic here. It’s not just a passion for cooking that sets these individuals apart. Now, more than ever before, there’s a heightened consciousness around ethically, seasonally sourced produce, an emphasis on impeccable presentation and a respect for even the most seemingly banal ingredients.
Take the example of the humble vegetable. What was once regarded as an inferior accompaniment to meat and fish has now risen up the ranks to become just as important, if not more so, in various restaurants such as Bruno Loubet’s Grain Store in King’s Cross. Here, there is an emphasis on sustainable cooking, with vegetarian dishes the stars of the show. Taking a leaf out of Bruno’s book, Lee Westcott, head chef of Bethnal Green favourite Typing Room, has been praised for pushing Britain’s national cuisine in a new direction, by “building outrageously intricate dishes from local produce”, according to the food website Great British Chefs (yeasted cauliflower, raisins, capers and mint are a prime example).