Leisure Marketing

Jun 29, 2012

UK Michelin Cannon Ball Run Support

Badoit Charity CannonBall Run 2012 for Hospitality ActionA recent gourmet tour of Britain, The Cannonball Run was organised by industry specialist Visionary Dining, the brainchild of it's MD Gordon Cartwright,   to help raise much needed funds for the industry Charity Hospitality Action, which helps industry employees who have had accidents at work, or suffered hardships, get back on track through their support.

Each of the participating restaurants created up to 4 tasting dishes from their menus, and presented the teams with them, where each was tasted, and rated by the participants, and pictures taken (see photo stream at the end of this article) and chef videos were taken which will be posted on the website www.gourmet-lifestyle.co.uk.

The event was to raise awareness for the charity and celebrate the diversity of Michelin Cuisine in the UK -  James Day MD of Midlands based www.leisuremarketingltd.co.uk who promote the regions chefs and restaurants was invited to join this gourmet-extravaganza, “It was a real challenge” comments James “It may sound like an easy couple of days, but the logistics and the endurance of not sleeping in order to get around our own teams 20 Michelin venues was quite demanding – The event started in the Lake district, and we went through Wales visiting Tyddyn Llan in Clwyd, set deep in the Welsh countryside and home of chef patron Bryn Webb, and his lovely wife Susan, who created us some wonderful hearty dishes using Welsh lamb, seabsss and of course lava bread, then on to The Checkers, Powys, with another warm welcome from French Chef Stéphane Borie, 'The farmers Dughters' Susan and Kathryn, ably assisted by the delighted Ffi, who created us dishes using Welsh Beef, Shropshire Pork, Seabass and a delightful dessert of chocolate & strawberries. Next over the border to WIll Hollands La Becasse in Ludlow, then The Stagg Inn, Titley for some more hearty dishes comprising of Scallops; Herefordshire snails, black pudding and belly pork. Dipping back in to Wales visiting a relaxed and enchanting Shaun Hill at The Walnut Tree . Much of the border cuisine was hearty, and very much traditional, with the exception of Chef Will Hollands which was more experimental and aspirational. We then travelled across through the Cotswolds, visiting Lords of the Manor, which was an incredible surreal experience in their wine cellars, around midnight, then the first day culminating at Le Manoir Aux Quat' Saisons - The two Michelin Star food Mecca that is Chef Raymond Blancs flagship, set in sumptuous surroundings of lavender strewn gardens, with the accomplished kitchens  headed by Chef Gary Jones, who has been by Chef Raymonds side since 1999 - another incredible experience, eating wonderfully refreshing beetroot terrine and horseradish sorbet off the pass in the kitchen - all laid out for service with linen, silverware, and some wonderfully matched wines.

Badoit Charity CannonBall Run 2012 for Hospitality ActionDay two started early with a 'breakfast' never to forget at (now crowned two star Michelin Chef) Michael Wignalls Latymer set within Penny Hill Park, in Surrey - an incredible venue, and an incredible Chef. Experimental and aspirational amongst other chefs. A welcomed relaxing dish at Drakes in Woking, with a pot of refreshing tea, and a chat to the happy brigade, before we headed North, to The Nut Tree in Oxfordshire for one of the best Belly Pork dishes I have ever had the pleasure of, created by Chef Mike North. Then to the Sir Charles Napier, just down the road - wonderfully relaxing, and friendly, owned by understated Julie Griffiths, who was rewarded with her star only last year, after 40 years trading, with accomplished Chef Chris Godfrey. We then headed South ones again, to the stunning Danesfield House at Marlow - a fairytale Gothic style setting - overlooking the Thames - Chef Adam Simmonds again wowed our senses with his understated, but complex creations - focusing in flavours, textures and the seasons - Hot footing form Marlow to Mallory Court in Warwickshire, where the brigade offered us warm hospitality on the terrace watching sunset, and enjoying lobster, mackerel, and wonderful desserts. Simpsons of Birmingham were calling, and arriving right in the middle of service, we enjoyed Chef Adam Bennetts Bocuse D'or influenced dishes, using flowers, and marrying of flavours to lift any weary travellers, his strawberry granita was a refreshing revelation.

Hot footing to Loves in Birmingham, a much respected and accomplished chef Steve Love for a quick Amuse and a dessert at his private dining chefs kitchen table, then to Purnell's - a late arrival in the schedule but well worth the detour - Chef Glynn entertained us in his kitchen, performing with his brigade who created a selection of dishes to wow and wonder and re-awake our taste buds, including his cucumber foam, and 'Glynn style' Chocolate delight! Last but not least was Chef Richard Turner of Turners Restaurant in the suburb of Harborne - Chef Richard presenting a fitting finale, of a chefs table OUTSIDE his restaurant kitchen, located in the car park, lit by the Iceland supermarket sign - but the dishes emanated Richards own style, and panache, with a  3 course creation - beetroot amuse to clear the previous 78 dishes, then scallops, followed by rabbit, and a Summer fruit dessert. Just enough time for a pre-midnight dessert at the New Hotel La Tour, Head Chef Alex Penhaligon served us a dish inspired by Executive Chef Marcus Wareing - deconstructed Jaffa Cake - a fitting end to a perfect 48 hours.

Team 4, which consisted of Chef Jim Key, Chef Phil Cubin of Gilpin Lodge in the Lake District, and Chef Lecturer Richard Axford of Kendal College, and James Day MD of Leisure Marketing Midlands LTD - Hospitality Marketing Specialists. Over 900 miles was covered in all by team 4 consuming 76 dishes in 20 restaurants, but in total the whole event covered over 4,000 miles, and 82 Michelin restaurants, with over 100 stars between them, alongside awareness and funding through donations for  Hospitality  Action.

James Day commented "It was a privileged to be asked to take part in this prestigious and worthy event. The range of venues, dishes, and the passions and dedication of the Chefs that created them was a real inspiration for us, and I hope many other aspiring chefs in the UK - the standards of our cuisine in this county is not only diverse but second to non" adding "Proud to culminate the tour in our very city of Birmingham – Being the food capital of the UK, then there is no better place to conclude such an event”


James who’s Leisure Marketing business consults and advises on marketing for many of the restaurants added “The receptions we received from the venues was incredible, many of them staying open late to feed us, preparing special dishes, and even Raymond Blanc’s brigade stated up until 1am to ensure we were fed and watered, laying out a full table setting on the pass in the kitchens, and literally clapping us as we arrived and left, it was an incredible experience. Then to have the opportunity to dine in five high end restaurant including three Michelin Starred Chefs in one City, within 3 hours was amazing, and reflects the quality of the City’s chefs. The quality and range of the dishes served was incredible. The ultimate conclusion was the last venue in the run, Turners of Harborne where Chef Richard Turner laid out a full chefs table, at the back of the kitchen, in the car park – providing us with an incredible 3 course meal to conclude, that was surreal.”


Letter of thanks and congratulations from Chef Raymond Blanc. On James’ return to his office he was delighted to receive a letter from one of the UK’s most respected Chefs, Monsieur Raymond Blanc OBE of twin Michelin-starred Oxfordshire restaurant, Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons, sent him a letter of support and thanks for a gift of a Relish Midlands Cook Book, which James recently joint published which celebrates some of the regions finest chefs stating he  ‘Looks forward to delving into it and seeing how the chefs of the Heart of England can inspire me”
The event was a great success. The final count within 48 hours was 82 Restaurants visited, 91 Stars and just over 4000 miles between 4 teams, consuming approx. 250 Michelin dishes! The target is to raise over £10,000 for Hospitality Action over the coming months through an on-line auction of restaurant experiences.

Gordon Cartwright, creator of the Michelin Cannonball Run and MD of Visionary Dining Hospitality specialists added "This was a fantastic celebration and exploration of great uk cuisine, passion and flair in the UK culinary industry "

Many of the participating venues are offering savings for members of the Lifestyle Dining Club Gourmet-life.co.uk – you can register for their newsletter here

See videos of each of the CannonBall Run Chefs describing their creations on the YoutTube Channel Here

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