Chefs Table Lunch with Luke Thomas

It is not everyday that you get invited to a chef’s lunch inside his kitchen… certainly not for me. Walking into the sacred territory that is the kitchen to chefs always made me feel apprehensive and uneasy, as I am only more than aware of chef’s fierceness and assertiveness when they see strangers trespass on their denominated territory. I was feeling confident anyway, and despite his recent notoriousness, young Master Luke Thomas is only a year past his adulthood, I am sure I am safe…

IMG_5377 (Large)

As James Munro, the director of the Sheraton Pine Cliffs,  herded us (me and the other travel&food writers) into the kitchen I could see that the table had been meticulously set just in front of the pass. My heart started to race as I could hear, see, and smell the action taking place literally a few inches from where my designated seat was. How cool is that?!? I am sitting inside the kitchen, a most privileged location, being face to face with the magic moments that go through the preparation, cooking and plating of a fine dining course. I felt really lucky and most eager to start the lunch, as I caught my first glimpse of young Luke by the hot plate, tasting a jus reduction and telling his commis that it still needs 6 minutes and that he should not forget to add some more butter before removing from the hear…He got an immediate YES, CHEF! Amazing…

IMG_5398 (Large)

@AlexisParrDiary, a fellow writer for the Daily Mail was indeed a striking character, with an interesting degree of eccentricity happening with her cat eyes glasses and lush blond hair, gave the fluorescent lighted kitchen some much need flamboyance.

IMG_5387 (Large)

Before the start of the Lunch, Master Luke Thomas came out to say a few words to all the guests at the table. Confident and without hesitation he prepared us for what he was about to produce. From the way he was speaking, you can really tell that this young boy wants to be the next Gordon Ramsay. The way he talks, the way he holds his body, his posture, the movement of the hands, is 100% Gordon Ramsay…

IMG_54281

The first course of Whipped Chicken Liver Parfait, Madeira Jelly and Truffled Brioche – served with Barranco Longo Rose Wine was a little surprising to me at first. As you will have a chance to see from the photo, I am sure Master Thomas had better options of presenting the parfait… Nevertheless, the parfait was extra-smooth and very fresh, where you could really feel the tastefulness coming from a corn fed country chicken. The Madeira jelly was consommé pure like and made an interesting contrast in flavour depth with the soft brioche and truffles. The rose was probably one of the darkest that I have ever tasted, but strangely enough one of the lightest. It is because of the extraction process, said the Barranco longo estate sommelier which accompanied us throughout the dinner. A true deceiving effect as the wine was clear and but still had enough earth notes to accompany the course.

IMG_5409 (Large)

The Fisherman’s Pie – served with Barranco Longo Viognier White Wine, was for me the greatest achievement of the afternoon. It really made me think! What did the ruggedness of a deep-fried humble mackerel (staple food of fisherman and rural Portugal) do in the same dish with the softest, most tender crayfish meat that I had ever tasted? The smokiness of the haddock fillets, played really well with crispy edge of the seared scallop and the pomme puré. I believe that this was Master Luke at his best, joining such different and complex ingredients in one wholesome and harmonious combination. It certainly mixed with my memories and it is a very good sign when food can do that to you…The Viognier was crisp, with tones of citrus and wood from its oak barrel stage before bottle. It was quite light, with the oils present being a good match for the smokiness of the haddock and the deep-fried mackerel.

IMG_5414 (Large)

Slow Cooked Sirloin, Blackened Onions, watercress and horseradish – served with – Dona Maria 2009 Red Wine. This course was an eye full, with the red Sirloin being the centre of attention of what was somehow an ode to mother earth. The 2 hours, 60º slow cooked Sirloin, just melted in my mouth, as I could feel the wholesome that the grilled artichokes and mushroom pure brought along with it. The beautifully cooked, creamy, cheese filled dauphinoise potatoes made for a little bit of home comfort in a not do elaborate presentation. I always enjoyed the wines from the Dona Maria estate and this robust red was no different. It was very round in the mouth, not so alcoholic, yet sturdy and with quite an intense aftertaste lingering on the palate.

IMG_5426 (Large)

Brioche Bread and butter Pudding with Pistachio and Apricot – served with Quinta de La Rosa Port Wine – The poached rhubarb was the most striking feature of could be easily be understood as a nouvelle cold version of the old English institution that is the bread and butter pudding.   The brullé on top was still smoking when it was brought to the table and the pistachios and apricots, gave it an exotic kick, however it was commonly agreed at our end of the table that this dessert would receive much more applause if it was served hot. The Quinta de La Rosa Port was quite onerous and a smart choice due to its dried fruits  notes.

IMG_5430 (Large)

From the moment that I had first saw master Luke and tasted his creation and idea had been running through my head – the coveted prize of the youngest chef in Britain to achieve 3 Michelin Stars – a record that is still held by Marco Pierre White achieved at the age of 33. Gordon Ramsay failed to beat his former mentor by a year, but Master Luke is looking to shatter that record, by becoming the youngest ever Chef to achieve a Michelin Star at the age of 21 and reach the 3 Stars at the age of 26. These are my goals!, said the determined Luke to me on our one on one. I am sure he will get there and I will only be too happy to follow closely his work develop with the coming years…

IMG_5450 (Large)

Congratulations are in order to Master Luke Thomas for creating such interesting courses and many thanks to Carina Sousa and Henrique Pires for inviting me to share this experience with them…

IMG_5442 (Large)

It is my very honest opinion that Food experiences cannot be dissociated from the human connections that go along with it, from the persons you meet, to the ideas you share, to the stories you listen and tell, while you delighting your palate with the creations of someone who found joy in making other smile from tasting his creations… This moment was no different and sitting opposite from me were @AlexisParrDiary@ChanelPatterson, Carina Sousa and Henrique Pires  with whom I had the most interesting exchange of ideas during the course of the lunch, and that created with me this special ambience throughout lunch as we tasted the fine delicacies that Master Luke had prepared for us .

I dedicate my award winning travel writing and photography to the soul and sense of place of the locations I visit, the people I meet and the food I taste.
  • thank you sir for providing us such a great knowledge and sharing of great piece.