Will Chambers, a fresher studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics, was first to host The Mancunion’s Come Have Dinner With Me. The night included one tipsy host and his intriguing dance video. We’ll upload it once we’ve bullied it out of Will.
The starter was to be a pea and lemon risotto, the main an Italian-style beef stew, and the pudding a raspberry sorbet fizz. We asked the guests what kind of person they thought would serve this menu. Rachel, a Music student, thought risotto was impressive fare – ‘he’s probably been on a cooking course gap year if he can cook risotto’. Well, Rachel, risotto isn’t that hard. But Ollie, Economics student, was impressed too – ‘what kind of fresher can cook risotto; what kind of fresher wants to cook risotto?’ Linguistics student Catherine said ‘he must be quite a sophisticated guy’.
Will welcomed everyone in, an open bow tie slung casually around his neck as his notion towards fine dining. The table was set, food prepped, nibbles at the ready (Asda Smartprice peanuts; surprisingly tasty) and it wasn’t long before the soothing, mellow sounds of Jack Johnson were flowing through Will’s kitchen. Looking up at a makeshift screen fashioned from a duvet cover and gaffa tape to conceal the kitchen from the dining area, Ollie remarked ‘you’ve thought of everything’.
A pre-dinner game melted the ice, the first of three stages in a name-guessing competition. Will then reheated the risotto that he had made earlier, stirred in some Parmesan along with some suspect black olives that were supposed to have gone in the beef stew, and served it up to some ravenous guests. We noticed Catherine gingerly pick out her olives. We also spotted leftovers from Rachel; it soon transpired that this small mound was also riddled with olives. Ollie, who ate it all, admitted ‘I’ve never been a big risotto man, but then I found I was quite enjoying it. I shocked myself’.
The Italian beef stew with ciabatta had mixed reviews. Whilst Catherine proudly said ‘I don’t like peppers and I ate them all’, Ollie confessed that ‘it lacked a compliment and it was semi-flavourless -but it was quite nice! Will recognised the seasoning problem and ran to get the salt and pepper, but it was too late’. Oh the woes of under-seasoning. They all questioned the Italian authenticity of the dish and wanted something else on the side, suggesting ‘mashed potato or green beans, even a salad’. We asked if the bread (which was slightly singed under the grill in an overzealous attempt to crisp it up) was nice and Catherine said, ‘Well, Asda did a great job’.
Raspberry sorbet fizz comprised a wine glass filled with mixed berries nestled under a spoonful of bought raspberry sorbet, topped up with sparkling elderflower pressé. Ollie was happy – ‘there’s a party in my mouth and everyone’s invited’. Whilst the dessert complimented the richness of the starter and main, Catherine pointed out that not much skill was involved in putting it together.
Overall opinion: The food was nice, but not perhaps as nice as it sounded on the menu. The atmosphere was relaxed and Will was very good at entertaining, despite suffering the throes of a mild fresher’s flu and feeling pretty tipsy after just two glasses of wine.
Scores will be announced when everyone has had a chance at hosting!
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