“Service!” One simple word shouted across the busy kitchen to patiently posed waiting staff finally means that Sean Burbidge, head chef at Gordon Ramsay’s Michelin-starred restaurant Pétrus, has finished studying the individual components of a dish and proclaimed it worthy of the refined diners on the floor above. The previous dish, an elegant-looking shell fish linguini garnished with an artful smear of lobster and tomato bisque was poured over, prodded and poked before being sent back for even more refinement. Nothing gets past the pass unless it’s perfect.
Once, you could only experience this kind of detail by tuning into TV restaurant shows like Masterchef and Hell’s Kitchen, but such has been the demand to observe life behind the scenes that savvy restaurants are starting to offer glimpses of life on the other side of the closed doors of the kitchen. Gordon Ramsay, ever on the lookout for new ideas, has taken the concept to a whole new level and placed a fully laid out table right in the heart of the action. Not only does The Chef’s Table overlook the pass, but lucky diners who sign up to Pétrus’ recently launched Chef’s Table Master Class can get stuck in, prepping and cooking their own meals. But, as I experienced one cold morning in February, don’t sign up expecting a gentle introduction to the workings of a top-class kitchen, this is straight into the fire from the off.