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February 27, 2010

Ben Greeno at The Loft

Filed under: food — benmetz @ 6:32 pm

Earlier this week I attended The Loft which up until recently was Chef Nuno Mendes’ hybrid between private supper club and culinary laboratory.  Nuno has recently stepped out of the day to day running of The Loft, well technically the three nights a week running of it, to get new restaurant Viajante started in the old Bethnal Green town hall.  He handed the first guest appearance to chef Ben Greeno from Noma, the Copenhagen restaurant rated third in the world.

And what an enjoyable evening it was.  16 covers in a sparse open plan apartment and a decent sized but pretty much home kitted out kitchen was the venue for some inspired eating.  Cheese soup with raw mushroom and caramelised walnuts, duck hearts in a lettuce emulsion, beef onglet cooked to perfection.  But the cherry on top had to be the salmon confit.  Inspiring use of a sous vide (water bath) had a wedge of salmon cooked to perfection, melting in my mouth and the entire table stunned into silence.  The trick?  Vacuum pack the salmon along with a little rape seed oil (so that technically it’s a confit) and cook for 12 minutes at 42 degrees C.  I left the meal inspired to restart the supper club I kicked off back in 2007 and to, of course, go out and buy myself a sous vide !  Watch this space…

February 9, 2010

Videoblogging from Katoomba

Filed under: projects — benmetz @ 9:02 pm

So I’m videoblogging from the Katoomba conference in Palo Alto.  Thanks to David Wilcox of Social Reporter for getting me up to speed with the techniques and lending me a camera.  If you are interested in following the conference from these videoblogs then you can check them out here.

February 8, 2010

Marine Conservation and Katoomba

Filed under: projects, social finance — benmetz @ 1:13 am

So I find myself back in San Francisco on my way down to Palo Alto for the first Katoomba conference focused on marine based Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES).  The Katoomba Group, run by the organisation Forest Trends, is an international network promoting and improving capacity related to markets and payments for PES.  Katoomba is a forum for the exchange of ideas and information about ecosystem service transactions and markets, as well as site for collaboration between practitioners on PES programmes.

PES is a fascinating topic.  On the one hand it can be viewed as a fantastic market driven mechanism designed to realise financing for communities on the front line in the fight to preserve and improve their environments.  On the other hand it can be viewed as the systematic commodification and monetisation of something that cannot be quantified so, our environment!  I’m currently agnostic in this debate but my guess is that, over the next few days, I’ll be forming a range of opinions…  We shall see!

I’m attending Katoomba thanks to Forest Trends providing bed and board and a supporter of Blue Ventures contributing a bunch of his air miles.  The objective of this trip, other than to eat my way across the Bay area, is to identify and open dialogue with organisations working at the enterprise end of PES.  If I can find and start pulling together best practice in community based marine entrepreneurship that delivers significant ecosystem benefits, such as the mariculture initiatives of Blue Ventures I blogged about a while back then the jet lag and increased carbon footprint will be worth it.

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