February 24 2012
The morning started abruptly as my eldest son, Jake, jumped on my bed to tell me about his rugby-injured knee – although I wish he had been able to tell me the results of his recent maths test instead. He then proceeded to aggravate his younger brother, and was dismissed from the room.
I drove to work listening to my favourite morning radio show on LBC. It tends to involve chat with a guest editor, general banter, a newspaper review and a financial talk, often with David Buik of BGC Partners. I used to recognise his voice, and couldn’t think why; then I realised he sometimes dines with us. By the time I get to the kitchen it feels as though I have been fully involved in a debate with Nick Ferrari, the presenter, which sets me up for the day.
We weren’t happy with some of our beef yesterday, so my executive chef Darren made a point of commenting to the supplier, who today delivered six stunning dry aged fillets that truly brightened my day. After my trip to Japan last week I had not had time for much office admin, so I then spent a while sorting through 247 messages in my inbox.
Lunch service was busy again today, but thankfully very calm. We had a Chef’s Table of seven, and it was lovely to see the sun shining through the blinds – it’s been a while. We often change up the garnishes as different ingredients become available, but this week we have added two whole new dishes to the a la carte menu: a starter of Scottish langoustines with celeriac and hazelnut, and a delicious main course of turbot served with carrots and girolles. The garnish also includes monk’s beard, which is a vegetable similar to samphire that originates in Tuscany. It has a very short season, so it’s great to use it when we can.
I like to look for errors and anomalies, and this afternoon I spent an hour studying my accounts. Our reservations diary is now available online, and this morning the system was down – rather frustrating, as the office team is a little stuck when that happens, and of course all bookings cease. Then I headed into the hotel to meet up with one of our very regular guests.
I am delighted to have secured an exclusive event for later in the year; our regulars occasionally hire the entire restaurant for up to 70 guests. In the past we have had some stunning wedding receptions and corporate events. I also received an invitation to carry out a large master class for a corporate client in Europe. We need to investigate the logistics of that one.
I’m really looking forward to the weekend. There has been so much interest that we have decided to open Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley for lunch on the first Saturday of every month. Next week is our first. We have also just launched a weekend brunch at The Gilbert Scott. I think I might take Jane and the kids on Saturday after their football training, as I am eager to see how it works. I know she will love the Dorset crab Benedict; Jake will have a bacon sandwich; eggy bread for Archie; and I think Jessie will go for The Giles – that is simply an egg, bacon and toast. Plenty of tea to wash it down too. I will settle for the full English.
Generally, evening service starts a bit later now, as most guests prefer to eat after 7pm; this gives me an extra hour to catch up with chefs and management as we wait. There is a definite calm before the storm. All the work is done and we are just waiting for it to begin, and then there is little respite until the last table has had its main course.
Tonight was a busy night, and I don’t get home until 1am. Have a quick scan through the channels before settling on a catch up of the news – then bed.