British Superbike Champion at L'ortolan
PUBLISHED: 11:49 25 September 2012 | UPDATED: 21:56 20 February 2013
Tommy Hill prepares lunch at L'ortolan with Executive Chef Alan Murchison
Renowned chef and sporting enthusiast Alan Murchison invited reigning British Superbike Champion and 2012 Championship leader Tommy Hill to discover what really happens behind the scenes in the Michelin starred kitchen of Lortolan restaurant near Reading, Berkshire.
With a keen interest in cooking at home as part of his rigorous training regime, Tommy swapped his helmet and leathers for an apron and a paring knife to experience the atmosphere of one of the UKs top kitchens under the guidance of Alan, who was a judge & mentor on the BBCs Great British Menu in 2011.
Alan, himself a top class sportsman who is competing at the end of September in the ITU World Duathalon Championships in Nancy, France, was keen that Tommy, like attendees at the Lortolan Chef Experience events, should pick up more than a few tricks of the trade from the Michelin starred kitchen.
After a short briefing, Tommy assisted Alan and his team with the preparation of the lunch service covering various sections of the kitchen and even attending at the Pass. The first task involved Tommy learning the skill of removing all the bones from a quail in order to prepare the starter of stuffed ballotine of quail, with ras el hanout granola and pomegranate.
His culinary preference for fish was more than satisfied with his main course of pan fried escalope of brill with crispy chicken wings, curried lentils, coconut puree and vegetable pickle. Moving into the pastry kitchen to prepare a dessert of hot chocolate tart, caramelised banana and coconut wrapped ice-cream, Tommy was more than impressed with not only the results but also the calm professionalism of Alan and his team.
These guys operate at quite a pace and yet they make it make it look so calm and easy, said Tommy, who struggled to keep up with Alan and Ian Swainson when preparing the quail. Alan and his team produced a string of perfect dishes during lunch, even with the distraction of teaching me in this pressured environment.
Tommy picked the techniques up very quickly and was very impressed with the results, said Alan Murchison. It just goes to show, if you bring the best ingredients together and use the right techniques properly, relative beginners can produce top quality food, even under the pressure of working for the first time during a lunch service in a top restaurant.
Chef Experiences with Alan Murchison and his team are available at Lortolan near Reading. For more information visit: www.lortolan.com.
For those seeking more high speed adventure on two wheels, Tommy Hill, in association with ClubMSV, offers a Track and Race Academy at circuits around the country. For more information, visit: www.trackandraceacademy.co.uk or www.tommyracer.com