MICHEL ROUX JR AT JOHN LEWIS
In the latest of our series of in-store cooking demos, Michelin-starred chef Michel Roux Jr paid a visit to our Oxford Street shop to cook some delicious recipes in front of our customers and demonstrate the benefits of induction ovens. With over 40 years’ experience in some of the finest restaurants in the industry, Michel had plenty of tips and advice to share...
Nourishing food for body and mind
As a member of one of the most celebrated families in cooking, good food is in Michel’s blood. French cuisine is known for its rich flavours and decadent ingredients, but in a step away from tradition, Michel opted to showcase two delicious recipes that can be achieved without the French staple of butter and cream: Chicken Supreme with a pearl barley broth, and fillet of John Dory with coconut and lime.
‘My old man would not be happy with these dishes at all,’ joked Michel, whose focus was to prove that hearty, wholesome food needn’t cost lots to make, and can also be surprisingly nourishing.
As a proponent of an active lifestyle, Michel spoke about his achievements outside of the kitchen. ‘I’ve run over 20 marathons and a number of ultra-marathons too. It’s a hobby of mine, and this chicken dish is really satisfying after a long run.’
Insider tips from the pro kitchen
Michel invited our customers to ask as many questions as they liked, and took the opportunity to pass on some of his cooking expertise.
When asked how to add seasoning to a low-sodium diet, Michel explained that it’s about more than just the standard salt and pepper. ‘Seasoning is also about acidity, and you can use lemon or vinegar to enhance the flavour of what you’re making.’
Michel was also asked to share his tips on knowing when meat and fish are cooked. ‘With fish, if it’s visibly flaking apart and it’s opaque in colour, it’s cooked. For meat, you can use a specialist thermometer to check it’s reached the required temperature for how you like it cooked.’
Michel also explained that if you see pearls forming on the surface of fish or meat, it’s the protein releasing. ‘You mustn’t overcook seafood,’ he said. ‘It’s always better to keep it slightly underdone. If it’s fresh, you can eat it raw, like sushi or sashimi. In steak, the pearls are an alert that the meat is medium to well done – although I like my steak mooing on the plate.’
Salad with extra zing
Michel put to rest the misconception that salads are boring with his John Dory dish. ‘This is a zingy, really exciting salad to eat. The lime really opens up the taste buds. Raw fennel is also one of the most wonderful ingredients for a salad and packs a lovely aniseed flavour, and the coconut water adds a real freshness’.
As he shaved fennel and coconut on a mandolin, he cautioned, ‘If the coconut goes red, you know you’ve gone too far. Remember fingers don’t grow back!’ He finished the dish with pan-seared John Dory, segments of lime and chopped spring onion, all sitting on a bed of coconut water, fennel and torn basil, and finished with a drizzle of strong olive oil and pinch of paprika.