This piece is for all you boujee foodies out there, a rundown of a luxury tasting menu created by Manchester’s best chefs for charity ‘Action Against Hunger’. If you recoil at the thought of tiny intricate food portions for lots of money – look away.
On Tuesday the 1st October, Action Against Hunger came to Manchester to raise money for it’s plight against reducing global malnourishment. During the months of September and October, some of Manchester’s finest food establishments supported the charity by adding a discretionary £1 to every bill, which, considering the likes of Hawksmoor, TAST Catala, Fazenda, and many others, raises a hefty sum alone.
The pinnacle of the charity’s collaboration with Manchester’s hospitality scene came on October 1st with it’s Auction Against Hunger evening. Hosted by TAST Catala, Action for Hunger brought together the six Manchester Food and Drink Award Nominees for Best Chef to create a bespoke menu. The six course menu was available to a select number of paying guests (£90 a head) with drink pairings from J. J. Whitley and Boutinot wines. Luckily for me, working in TAST’s front of house team presented me with the opportunity to give The Mancunion’s Food Section an exclusive insight into this bespoke evening.
The menu began with Sam Buckley’s provision of snacks: Brassicas (cruciferous veg) from Stockport’s Where the Light Gets in farm. Following this, Restaurant MCR’s Aiden Byrne created the first course: Ribblesdale goat’s cheese flan, Mangalica ham and onions and sourdough bread with roasted onion butter. It’s good to note here that Aiden Byrne was the youngest chef to ever receive a Michelin star at the age of 22… Impressive.
The fish course was presented by Umezushi’s Omar Rodriguez Marrero, a steamed marinated cod in a Dashi broth. I can tell you, the smell that this course created in the kitchen was like no other – the sweet, cleansing yet umami smell of the Japanese-seasoned broth with the perfectly flaking white fish was an emotional experience.
Following Umezushi’s offering came TAST’s own Miquel Villacrosa with his Autumn rice dish. This rice, flavoured with an assortment of wild mushrooms, chestnut and truffle was plated spectacularly. The visual simplicity of the rice was accompanied by a plated garnish of chestnut and truffle puree, fried cep mushrooms, fresh figs, green empress leaves, mushroom caviar and spherified goat’s cheese.
With the meat course, Mana’s Noma-trained Simon Martin plated a Udale salt aged duck. The duck was hung over burning charcoal with bread sauce, which again looked and smelled absolutely incredible. A salt aged duck is something I need in my life.
The final offering was Adam Reid’s ‘Easy Peeler’ dessert, a blown sugar easy-peeler of sea buckthorn sorbet and white chocolate.
This event was not only a beautiful showcase of Manchester’s culinary finest but also an amazing opportunity to take advantage of paying foodies for a tremendous cause. It was a one off to have so many different kitchen teams work in one kitchen, and a pleasure to witness! If you want to look at more ways that Action Against Hunger are helping fight the global issue, head to their website.