Across my Table

Across My Table - Mark Poynton of Michelin starred Alimentum

Saturday, July 23, 2016Me! In words

There are several things I love about my job, the most important being the ability to interact with a diverse range of people. With food and beverage being a niche I work on a lot, I have had the pleasure of meeting and interacting with some of the great culinary magicians of the world, right here in Namma Bengaluru. When you hear that Michelin-star chef is in town for a few days and you will have the opportunity to interview him, then you do not pass that up at all. 

Chef Mark Poynton, the Chef Patron of Alimentum in Cambridge UK is in Bengaluru at the ITC Windsor till the 24th of July as part of the 'Taste of Britain' promotion that is currently underway in association with Curry Life magazine. Alimentum is a single star Michelin restaurant which specializes in modern European food with a focus on slow cooking techniques. 

Chef Mark has a very interesting a la carte menu that is being showcased at Dublin till the 24th of July. Unfortunately circumstances were such that I wasn't able to sample this brilliant meal, but two good friends did and you can click on images indicated below to read entire experiences of the meal.
Chef Mark Poynton in a lighter vein - Click on the picture above to read Natasha's experience of the
meal served at Dublin

The Taste of Britain Festival was launched with an interesting evening of cocktails earlier in the week, that was followed by two play snippets from Shakespeare performed by the Christ University students. The event was being graced by the British Deputy High Commissioner, His Excellency Dominic McAllister. The Festival brings together four highly lauded chefs, the star, of course being Chef Mark who has presided over all of the similar festivals organized. Speaking at the formal address at the launch, Chef Mark said that the idea was to dispel the notion that British food is bland. "What it is, is light. We think of provenance a lot because we want each ingredient to taste the way it should. Acidity, sweetness, salt... it all comes together for a well balanced dish".

Taking the conversation with Chef Mark forward, I asked him a few more questions. Read on to know his thoughts!

The inaugural of the Taste of Britain promotion had Shakespeare's plays enacted by the students of Christ College. Research shows that the Indian understanding of Shakespeare stands at 83% and that of Britain at 58%!

Let's start with the food you are showcasing here at Dublin. What can guests expect?
I will be showing how chefs in the UK try to showcase each individual ingredient for its best possible flavour. I like each element of a dish to taste of its own flavour which sounds quite simple and basic, but quite, often gets lost in a lot of cookery across the world.

Considering that the inspiration comes from the Indian subcontinent, how is the British curry faring today on the culinary scene. Does it stand substantially different from the interpretations of Indian food you find in Britain?Well! first of all we see 'Curry' as an experience in dining out, not just what the Indian word for curry means (gravy) so when we say Curry it could be Biryani or tandoori kebab not just tikka masala etc. Chefs in England see it slightly different and we are also trying to make the food lighter, moving away from ghee and fats, and replacing them with lighter oils such as coconut, while also making the individual spicing more prominent so you can taste them all in each dish.
A look at some of the spread showcasing the festival at the inaugural
You have been in the restaurant business for a while now. How has the modern diner evolved?
20 years and it's been a whirlwind, in the U.K. We are very lucky, as we have probably the most diverse culture in the world. Customers in the UK are very into provenance and animal welfare, but with this in mind, people are eating out more than ever which means we as chefs and restauranteurs can carry on investing and pushing boundaries in food and service

What kind of a chef are you in the kitchen - a Marco Pierre White or a Gordon Ramsay?
In my younger days definitely a Gordon, but as you get older you realise staff retention and training is more important, because without good staff you are no one.

What kind of food do you personally enjoy?I really enjoy Japanese at the moment. So light in the touch but, so flavoursome and fresh.

What would you whip up for an impromptu meal at your home?
Nice bit of roasted chicken, garlic roasted potatoes and rich red wine gravy

What is your cooking style?
Great produce cooked with love and served in a modern style

 Roast Breast of Chicken, Mushroom, Peas, Asparagus & Madeira Sauce
served up at Dublin
Chef Mark says that when you savour the food of this festival, try and observe each of the ingredients used, and their taste and understand how the chefs have treated it. Click on the image above to read Nitin's experience of the Taste of Curry festival and Chef Mark's menu at Dublin

The dinner buffet at Raj Pavilion is priced at Rs. 1800++ . The a la carte meal by Chef Mark at Dublin is approximately Rs. 2000++ per head. The promotion is on only till the 24th of July. 

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