If James Martin is one of your dream dinner party guests, look no further. The Kitchen at Chewton Glen, where Martin holds dinners once a month, offers 10 guests the chance to experience dinner with the former Saturday Kitchen star.
I was fortunate enough to be invited to experience both Martin’s cuisine and famous larger-than-life personality. The chef’s table setting immediately provided a sense of familiarity with the other guests as well as with Martin – it felt like having a dinner party at a friend’s house.
Beginning with deep fried aubergine, caramel miso and scallop, the sweetness of the starter was countered by the subtle spices of the impossibly creamy Thai lobster risotto that followed.
The seafood theme continued with langoustine tortellini, perfectly al dente, smothered in a luxurious crème de champagne sauce, with caviar & nasturtium.
After these relatively light bites, Martin served up a meaty main of roast salt aged duck breast with dauphinoise potatoes, garnished with apple & cherry to ensure those five a day.
Finishing off four distinct savoury courses was a gin and vanilla pannacotta with strawberries and monkey bread. The monkey bread, which looked terrible but tasted divine, was served piping hot from the oven and provided an indulgent end to the five-course feast.
Wine snobs will be delighted to know that each course is paired with a sommelier-matched wine, ranging from a light sparkling white to a dark and full-bodied red to satisfy the complete palette.
Hardcore fans will have plenty of opportunities to ask questions or request anecdotes over the three hour slot. The gourmet extravaganza is matched only by Martin’s dry banter with guests. Expect off-the-cuff jokes and outrageous stories – he is controversial, boisterous, and direct, but never boring.
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