One of my foodie observations is how the zeitgeist has changed over the last decade, with the super star chef front and centre in people's consciousness. This has almost certainly been driven by the transition of the chef moving out from the kitchen and into the television studio. One cooking show in particular has taken the world by storm, and that show is Masterchef. The original Masterchef kicked off in the UK before the concept was picked up by other markets and at last count, there were fifty countries that run a version of Masterchef!
While the concept started in the UK, the Australian version is credited with helping to transform the show, providing a more glamorous approach that, for me, was a little too heavy on the drama and was less about the food. One of the great ironies of Masterchef is that the Australian version is hosted by an ex British chef living in Australia (Gary Mehigan) and the UK version has an ex Aussie hosting (John Torode) - go figure!
I was recently in the UK for work and looking for a place to check out, and my boss recommended a little place called Smiths of Smithfield, one of his favourite steak restaurants run by Jonty Rhodes. I thought is strange that an ex South African cricket star would run a steak restaurant in London, but hey, the South Africans are well known meat lovers. It wasn't until I made the reservation and had a look at the web site, that I realised that I'd heard wrong and that Smiths of Smithfield was actually run by none other than John Torode! I felt like an idiot :)
While I'd done my fair share of solo dining in London (The Square, Marcus, Maze Grill), I was actually able to convince one of my colleagues to come along and check out Smiths with me. Hailing from the US and an avid meat lover, bringing KH along to visit a steak restaurant seemed like the right thing to do. However, trying to find the place, especially for a couple of tourists, turned out to be a little harder than expected and there was a lot of walking involved to find the funky restaurant in Charterhouse Street. Not an issue for me, but a huge one for KH, who'd been recovering for ankle surgery, who took a little extra time to find the joint.