Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Toque d'Or Eighteen talented students joined us on Sunday and took over the running of L’Ortolan as the last challenge of the Toque d’Or Grand Final.

The students were in teams of three from Westminster Kingsway College,
Glasgow City College, The City of Liverpool College, Gloucestershire College, Royal Forest of Dean Campus, Ayrshire – Ayr Campus and Bradford College.

The event went really well.  The students delivered a great product and coped well with the pressure of a busy service.  It was a pleasure to work with such an enthusiastic group of young chefs. – Alan Murchison, Executive Chef

In Toque d’Or tradition the students only found out that they would be spending the day with us on the journey to L’Ortolan from Nestlé’s business centre, Rashleighs, near Maidenhead. With half of the students under the expert guidance of Alan Murchison in the kitchen and the other half with Ania Jezusek in Front of House the students produced a very impressive dinner that was thoroughly enjoyed by the 40 guests who attended.


 It was an intensive day and a very successful evening overall.  The students didn’t have an easy job and this was the first time that anyone in the grand final of the Toque d’Or had taken over a Michelin starred restaurant.  Everyone should be proud for achieving such a high standard and creating the theatre of a fine dining restaurant.-  Ania Jezusek, Operations Director


 Champagne & canapés

Mushroom velouté

Spinach and soft egg ravioli, Jerusalem artichoke purée,
globe artichoke slices, a
rtichoke crisps with truffle

Pouilly Fumé, 2012

Sous-vide duck breast, sweet charred pineapple, boulangére potato, braised pak choi

La Croix Bonis, 2009

Walnut whip

Chocolate coated Caramac bon bon, deconstructed chocolate Rolo,
Smartie ice cream, Toffee Crisp layer


Coffee & petit fours

We won’t find out who the winning team is until the awards dinner at The Dorchester Hotel on Wednesday 2nd April.  Until then here are a few snaps that we took on the day and a few words from one of our guests on the evening ….

toque d'or pics

I was very impressed by the whole evening.  Given that it had been put together by the students themselves, with no prior notice, I thought that their efforts were outstanding and would pay good money to eat their food again!  Under Alan’s watchful eye, the selection of food that our team presented to us was not only artistic, but absolutely delicious too – and yes, I did facebook out a picture of my dessert (still totally in awe that an entire range of chocolate bars can be recreated from scratch with the textures and flavours not differing from the originals.  Pure genius! Hellen Shaw, Pink Tomato

For more information on the competition please visit


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Mark Apsey Demonstration - Wokingham Food Festival

Photo courtesy of Rich Voysey

Sous Chef Mark Apsey wows the crowd at Wokingham Food Fesitval

Mark first worked at L’Ortolan in 2005 as Alan Murchison’s first apprentice at the age of 15. He left in 2007 to broaden his Michelin experience working with Nathan Outlaw in Cornwall then with John Campbell as part of the opening team at Cowarth Park. Mark’s ambition and enthusiasm earned him the position of Sous Chef at L’Ortolan aged just 23. He believes in using the best ingredients available, locally sourced where possible, and is an expert forager making the best use of traceable ingredients from the surrounding countryside. As a natural teacher Mark is keen to share his knowledge and passion with people who enjoy great food and want to learn more.

Last week Mark Apsey took to the demonstration stage at the Wokingham Food Festival, captivating the audience with his classical to contemporary cuisine as part of the three-day event promoting the best in local food and drink. Mark’s Lemon and Chocolate Tart was a clear favourite amongst the foodie festival goers, so we asked Mark to share the secret behind his delicious dessert recipe.


Lemon and Chocolate Tart Recipe

1 Egg Yolk
125g Plain Flour
50g Icing Sugar
75g Butter

Beat the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolk, and then fold in the flour gently. Rest for 1 hour before rolling out to 3mm thickness and cook on 180°C.

75g Lemon Juice
2.6g MSK Hy-Foamer
150g Sugar
30g Water

Whisk the lemon juice and Hy-Foamer until forming stiff peaks. Boil the sugar and water until 121°C and pour onto the stiff peaks. Whisk mixture until cold.

100g Cacao Barry Altosol Chocolate
90g Cherry Purée
30g Cream

Boil the cherry purée and pour onto the chocolate. Mix together until fully smooth and glossy.

Poached Cherries:
100g Stoneless Cherries
100g Cherry Purée
50g Red Wine
50g Sugar

Bring the purée, wine and sugar to the boil and add the cherries. Return to the boil and then remove from the heat.

Lemon and Chocolate Tarte

Photo courtesy of Rich Voysey


L’Ortolan Cookery Demonstration Programme

Wednesday 4th Sep – Art of Home Smoking
The art of producing your own smoked foods at home and how to make your own small smoker.

Wednesday 18th Sep – Bread at Home
The home baker. Machine vs hand made, yeast vs natural leaven. How to make perfect breads to suit even the least experienced baker.

Wednesday 2nd Oct – Simple Vegetarian Cookery
Michelin starred vegetarian dishes to suit all budgets.

Wednesday 16th Oct – Sunday Lunch
The perfect Sunday roast – with all the trimmings!

Wednesday 30th Oct – Sweet Tooth
A handful of Michelin starred desserts you can create at home to add the perfect finish to your dinner parties.

Wednesday 13th Nov – 3 Course Dinner
Michelin inspired 3 course dinner party to cook at home.

To book your L’Ortolan demonstration please call 01189 888 500 or email info@lortolan.com.

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L'Ortolan Demo Studio

In 2008 Alan Murchison wanted a new demonstration kitchen at L’Ortolan that would both match the quality of the restaurant and be practical to cook in. He turned to bulthaup Winchester who were able to translate Alan’s vision into a reality. Ever since, the L’Ortolan butlhaup demonstration kitchen has played home to a number of cookery demonstrations and masterclasses run by Sous Chef, Mark Apsey. As a natural teacher Mark is keen to share his knowledge and passion with people who enjoy great food and want to learn more, indulging their culinary passion and teaching them to cook food with Michelin flair.

With Mark’s love for locally sourced ingredients and his passion for foraging, last week’s demonstration topic ‘Summer Kitchen Garden’ was the perfect masterclass for any aspiring Chef. Looking at ingredients that grow locally in gardens and footpaths throughout Summer, Mark showed his willing students an exciting selection of dishes from a beautiful summer berry Mille-Feuille to a fresh tomato Gazpacho. After tasting Mark’s Gazpacho we asked him the secret to creating such a delicious Spanish summer soup.


Tomato Gazpacho Recipe


3kg Ripe Plum Vine Tomatoes, roughly chopped
600g Cucumber, peeled deseeded and chopped
1.5kg Red Peppers, diced
130g Onions, finely chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped
12 Basil Leaves
50ml White Wine Vinegar
25g Salt
70g Sugar


1. Mix all of the ingredients together and place in a refrigerator overnight
2. Place the ingredietns in a food processor and blend until smooth
3. Pass the mixture through a coarse sieve to remove any skin and seeds
4. Season to taste

Tomato Gazpacho


Mark’s tomato Gazpacho is now available every lunchtime at L’Ortolan on our Menu du Jour.

Two courses £28.00

Three courses £31.50

Call us on 0118  988 8500 to make your reservation or click here to book online.

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Tour De France Signature Menu

Tour de France, 1960

Le Tour de France’ is one of the world’s biggest annual sporting events. Held in France every year, the multiple stage bicycle race was first organised in 1903 to increase sales of the French newspaper L’Auto. As the Tour de France gained popularity the race was lengthened and riders from all over the world began to participate in the race each year.

100 years on and currently run by the Amaury Sport Organisation, the Tour de France is made up of 21 day stages, covering a total distance of around 3,500 kilometres. This year, for the first time since 1988 the tour will be completed only on French soil, with riders traditionally finishing on the Champs-Élysées at dusk on Sunday 21st July.

To celebrate the 100th edition of the Tour de France Alan has created a seasonal signature menu, offering a modern take on great classical dishes of France, served in true L’Ortolan style. Join us in July as we take you on a culinary tour of France, recreating some of the country’s most traditional dishes.


Tour De France Menu

Tour De France Signature Menu

Available Tuesday to Thursday evenings

Terrine ‘Cassoulet’

Duck confit, Morteau sausage & oak smoked duck, white beans & Dijon mustard dressing


Marinated red mullet & dorade, fennel and orange salad, bouillabaisse jus

‘Coq au Vin’

Braised poulet lande in red wine, wild mushrooms, tarragon and Alsace bacon


Lime & pineapple parfait, coconut sorbet, passion fruit and mango salsa

‘Peche Melba’

Poached peach in Sauternes, vanilla cream & fresh raspberries

£55.00 per person
£85.00 with a flight of complimentary wines

Must be booked in advance.
Please call 01189 888 500 or book online quoting ‘Tour De France’

 Tuesday to Thursday evenings from 2nd to 18th July. Max 6 people per booking.


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St James Hotel and Club

Just a stroll away from Mayfair, Buckingham Palace and St. James’s Palace, St James’s Hotel and Club is one of London’s most desirable addresses. With its perfect location, long history, stylish and elegant interiors and a Michelin starred restaurant, St James’s Hotel has built its well deserved reputation with a formidable clientele of film stars, celebrities, authors and diplomats.

With fabulous suites and some of the best guest room terraces in London, the hotel boasts stylish, contemporary, yet elegant interiors finished with handmade silk wallpaper, black lacquered furniture, handcrafted Murano glass chandeliers and polished natural stone bathrooms.

St James’s Hotel and Club is also home to Seven Park Place, the deliciously small, but perfectly formed Michelin-starred restaurant by well known English Chef William Drabble who also oversees William’s Bar & Bistro. A comfortable, unhurried and sophisticated atmosphere, the Bistro is perfect for light lunches, pre and post theatre dinners or for supper, while the chic bar offers an extensive selection of cocktails and an impressive choice of wine and spirits.

St. James's Hotel 7 Park Place

Renowned for their exciting range of contemporary and classic cocktails, St James’s Hotel has created a special cocktail menu to celebrate the Chelsea Flower Show. Made with edible flowers this year’s floral concoctions include ‘Jasmine Buttercup’, ‘Elderflower & Basil Spray’, ‘Flower of Scotland’ and ‘Rose & Lychee Martini’.

We spoke to St James’s Hotel to find out exactly what goes into their floral cocktails – Why not have a go at creating the Rose & Lychee Martini yourself..?


Rose & Lychee Martini

50 ml Vodka

25 ml  Lychee Juice

10 ml  Monin Rose Syrup

1 Dash of Peychaud’s Bitter

1 Rose Petal to garnish


The Rose & Lychee Martini will available for guests to taste a week before the Chelsea Flower Show at our Day of Excellence on Friday 17th May 2013.

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L'ortolan Macaroons

Yesterday our demo studio came to life with an afternoon tea inspired Patisserie Demonstration from L’Ortolan Pastry Chef Samantha Rain. Our demonstration guests arrived to a beautifully sunny L’Ortolan and introductions were made over tea and coffee in the bar. Afterwards the guests took their seats in the studio to learn how to produce a stunning selection of pastries both appealing to the eye and delicious – the perfect accompaniment for afternoon tea!

Macaroonier Sam demonstrated her perfect Liquorice Macaroons; a small light biscuit, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, made with ground almonds, sugar and egg whites. Macaroons are one of our favourite current sweet crazes so we asked our very own L’Ortolan Pastry Chef for a lesson in baking the popular French confection.

Liquorice Macaroons


300g Icing Sugar
300g Ground Almonds
10g Liquorice Powder
115g Egg Whites
80g Water
300g Sugar


1. Blitz together 300g icing sugar, 300g ground almonds and 10g liquorice powder and pass
2. Whisk 115 egg whites to stiff peaks
3. Boil 300g sugar and 80g water to 118°c and pour onto egg whites
4. Whisk egg whites until fluffy and add to dry mix
5. Once the Italian Meringue is cold, combine all the elements into a smooth paste
6. Pipe the mixture and leave to form a skin
7. Bake at 150°c for 6-8 minutes

Liquorice Pastry Cream Filling


250g Milk
1 Vanilla Pod
60g Sugar
4 Egg Yolks
22g Cornflour


1. Boil 250g milk, 30g sugar and vanilla
2. Pour milk onto egg yolks and whisk, then place mixture back into the pan and cook out
3. Combine 30g sugar and 22g cornflour
4. Add Liquorice compound to taste

Liquorice Macaroons_______________________________________________________________

L’Ortolan Cookery Demonstration Programme

9th April – 3 Course Dinner Party – Bring a little Michelin star flair to your dinner party at home with some ideas and inspiration from the L’Ortolan kitchen.

23rd April – Chocolate Heaven – The perfect indulgent treat for serious chocoholics. During this masterclass you will be introduced to a variety of different chocolates including some of the world’s finest single estate chocolate.

14th May – Shellfish Masterclass – Delicious ways to prepare and cook shellfish – include a selection from lobster, oysters, clams, mussels, crab and razor clams depending on availability.

11th June – 3 Course Fish Supper – How to select and prepare the ‘catch of the day’ and cook your fish to perfection.

18th June – Summer Barbecue with the Big Green Egg – The Big Green Egg can be used to smoke, bake and slow cook as well as a barbecue. Join chef on the terrace and discover some new techniques and recipes.

To book your L’Ortolan demonstration please call 01189 888 500 or email info@lortolan.com

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Alan and Gerard L'ortolan

It’s a rare occasion indeed when Alan Murchison and Gerard Basset combine talents to deliver an evening of spectacular food, astonishing wines and conviviality.  Both masters in their respective fields, Alan and Gerard will be sharing their knowledge of food and wine and regaling guests with anecdotes from their years in the trade.

About our hosts…

Michelin Starred Chef, Alan Murchison, has held a Michelin star at L’Ortolan for 11 years and is the inspiration behind the 10in8 Fine Dining group of restaurants. Prior to taking up his position as Executive Chef at L’Ortolan, Alan trained with Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons.  Alan has appeared several times on BBC2’s Great British Menu as both competitor and mentor and his recipes are regularly featured in the national media.

Gerard Basset is arguably one of the greatest wine professionals of his generation, the reigning World Champion Sommelier and the only person ever to simultaneously hold the Master of Wine, Master Sommelier and MBA Wine honours. Gerard co-founded the hugely successful Hotel du Vin Group and latterly the award winning, New Forest boutique wine hotel, Hotel TerraVina.

Alan and Gerard are business partners and have been friends for more than 10 years.

L'ortolan Prestige Menu

About the evening …

Alan and Gerard invite you to join them for a very exclusive evening at L’Ortolan.  Aperitifs and canapés precede a sensational seven course menu devised by Alan with wines selected by Gerard.  Of course, during dinner Alan will comment on the food and Gerard the wines, but more than that, they will talk about their careers with some behind the scenes stories.  There will be plenty of opportunity to ask them both questions during this relaxed and informal evening.

For further details please visit our website or call 01189 888 500 

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