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n BY JOHN WRIGHT
Flavor Bites: 2-Acetyl pyrrole
Exhibiting an interesting caramel characteristic, this
material offers a pleasant authenticity to many brown and
savory flavors, even berries.
The first truly original dish that I remember was created by a self-taught chef called John Tovey who, many years ago, owned a truly spectacular hotel and restaurant on the shores of Lake Windermere called Sharrow Bay. John Tovey may have deviated a long way away from the expected career path of
his contemporaries but he more than made up for it in terms of creative
originality and showmanship. His restaurant was always booked solid for
many months ahead. The chef was totally in charge, and he was the master
of ceremonies each evening. Diners had absolutely no choice of dishes,
they were all served the dishes that John Tovey chose on the night. My
most spectacular experience at this palace of gastronomy was deceptively
simple. A leg of local Lakeland lamb cooked at a very high temperature in
a sealed Dutch oven, surrounded by hay. The hay smoldered gently and
infused the lamb with a magnificent coumarinic caramel note.
As you might imagine I have made several attempts to recreate this
culinary treat, some more successful than others. The key to success is
definitely not allowing the hay to actually catch fire!