Paul Prinsloo, Elissa Abou Mug, Marcus Gericke and Callan Austin have brought out their own cookbook that offers a lot of inspiration and encouragement to try new techniques – the S.Pellegrino Young Chef cookbook.
This cookbook contains 41 recipes specially compiled by the regional finalists of the S. Pellegrino Young Chef Edition 2019-2021. It was launched to keep the young chefs connected, engagement and visibility when the grand finale, which was supposed to take place last year, was postponed due to the pandemic. Their challenge was to create a personal recipe from simple local ingredients that home cooks can recreate in a normal kitchen. This has made it a fascinating read. Each recipe is presented in an easy to understand format with great tips and step-by-step photos that illustrate the whole process.
Below, the four finalists in the Africa & Middle East region share the stories behind their recipes as well as some additional tips.
Elissa Abou mug won the Acqua Panna Award for Connection in Gastronomy. The cookbook recipe from Abou mug, Explosion of Beirut, takes a traditional Lebanese rice and meat stuffed cabbage dish flavored with pomegranate molasses and takes it to new heights. In her recipe, she recalls the explosion of the grain silos in Beirut last year and symbolically uses broken wheat instead of rice in the bowl. Abou Mug gives detailed instructions on how to prepare veal tongue, an affordable and tasty cut that many home cooks are no longer able to use.
“We don’t always have to buy expensive products. I take humble products and respect them to prepare an upscale meal. ”Instead of using the complex techniques she would use in a restaurant, she turned to the home cooking of the past. The finished dish is beautiful: “I made it as if my grandma was cooking it and I was serving,” she says.
Paul Prinsloo is the 2019 S.Pellegrino Young Chef winner for the Africa & Middle East region. Prinsloo’s cookbook recipe is a homely yet creative take on the traditional Sunday roast he grew up with. He hangs a rack of lamb in a chimney to cook slowly and soak up the smoky flavor, confiscates potatoes and purees vegetables for a nice but oversimplified version of his usual cooking style.
“The challenge was to make it in a home kitchen that didn’t have all of the tools I’m used to at work. Without the Thermomix, I had to try to get the texture of the puree with a home mixer, which was both fun and challenging, ”said Prinsloo.
If you don’t have a suitable chimney, he recommends cooking the lamb in a Weber or Big Green Egg over low heat to preserve the smoky flavor. Otherwise, Prinsloo recommends caramelizing the fat briefly in a pan before slowly simmering it in an oven at 100 ° C. He leaves the choice of the spice mixture up to you, but loves to use a Moroccan Ras el Hanout Spice mix that, in his opinion, goes perfectly with the lamb.
Franschhoek Valley Green
Callan Austin won the S.Pellegrino Award for Social Responsibility. Austin’s cookbook recipe was inspired by the spring ingredients he found around him in the Franschhoek Valley, trout, wild herbs and vegetables that are beautifully served in three dishes. It’s simplified from his usual restaurant techniques, allowing home cooks to purchase ready-made kewpie mayonnaise and yuzu caviar that Callan would normally make from scratch.
“The herbal emulsion has also been simplified by using mayonnaise as the base to mix all of the fresh herbs. In the kitchen I would have made a coconut cream reduction or a buttermilk emulsion with a lot more aromatics and tedious cooking techniques, ”he said.
Austin gives simple instructions on curing and smoking the trout and suggests smoking the trout scraps in a weaver if you don’t have a smoking tray.
“If people don’t have access to nature to collect various herbs, I would suggest replacing the wild herbs with fresh fennel, dill fronds, store-bought edible flowers or garnishes, coriander sprouts or leaves, small basil leaves, and deep-fried curry leaves for texture”, he added.
Marcus Gericke is the winner of the Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought award. For his recipe, Gericke has reinterpreted the salad bowl as the festival of summer. He said he wanted to prepare a dish that embodied a healthy lifestyle and offer something different for a party or barbecue. Something that goes well with smoky, strong flavors.
“The addition of goat cheese makes this salad itself a filling main course. With fried tomatoes, fried eggplants, pea yogurt and pea chimichurri dressing, it’s a veritable showcase of summer ingredients, but it can be customized by using all of the seasonal produce, ”said Gericke.
“The change with the seasons and the time shows development and growth in a dish. The recipe name leaves it open to interpretation and allows for seasonal twists and personal tastes, ”he added.
The cookbook is now available as a free download when you subscribe to the Fine dining lovers Website.