Pip Priestley: chef to the stars

Here’s a recent write-up from The Australian‘s Life Section, follow this link to enjoy the entire piece. Below is a taster:

“…Hugh came into the kitchen all the time and on one occasion I said to him, ‘I don’t want a photo of you; ­instead I’d like you to take a photograph of me cooking your breakfast’, to which he replied, ‘I don’t think anyone has ever said that to me before.’ He is a pretty regular guy who happens to be famous and I feel what these people want, like anyone is normality.”

Celebrating Milestones

Summer TableAS this long winter is finally drawing to a close we are optimistic and hopeful to embrace long warm sunny days which inspire people to come out from hibernation, dig out their summer apparel, entertain the feel good factor with friends and family.

Special events in ones’ calendar; 50th birthday bash, that Wedding Anniversary all these mile stones that need attention, planning and celebrating. What better way to celebrate but with great food, fruity wine and sun factor 15+.

This where Polochef comes in.

I can harness all these exciting components together to create that perfect event whether it be a canapé and champagne drinks party a balmy lunch or a smart dinner party, allowing you to entertain, mingle catchup, relax with family, and friends.

Dessert Chef for Hire Edinburgh

Polochef can create wonderful innovative food, drawing on seasonal and locally sourced produce.

These combinations are endless and are only expanded or limited by your imagination it is all possible.

Come on– call me now to discuss your event and set a date to celebrate those special milestones.

Call pip on 07977 589 277 or email me info@polochef.com

Tent Pegging and Teflon!

Polo Chef for Hire Edinburgh

I’ve had several horses over the years and I love riding. The photo shows me in India at a intensive horse riding training camp. One of the optional skills they teach is tent pegging. It is not for everyone or for the faint hearted.

For starters these horses are trained to go hard and fast from the get-go. So I am travelling pretty fast in this shot and I am carrying a lance and holding the reigns with the other. The aim of the exercise is to pick up some wooden chocks – tent pegs – with the lance. The tent pegs are poking out of the dirt.

First you have to get the lance in the hole and then you have to lift it out of the ground. The time frame is a nano-second.

If you manage to get the tent peg the lance must NOT come upwards but cycle under and backwards behind you, otherwise you risk ripping your arm from its socket and serious injury.

I was VERY lucky because I got the peg! And I managed to rotate the lance backwards. I cannot describe the thrill. I swear the horse was as delighted as I was because it pranced a prance afterwards. I cannot describe how bonded I felt with this magnificent animal. Look at how relaxed and centered this beast is at 60kms!

It might seem frivolous but this is not a frivolous activity. It is exhilarating and exhausting all in a heartbeat.

I think this is the thrill that a lot of chefs miss. I was lucky because when I did my apprenticeship I trained under European chefs and they were hard taskmasters. They were exacting and high pressure mentors. We worked flat-strap in a busy kitchen! And I was drilled and drilled and drilled and pushed and tested.

Cooking: A Joy NOT a Stress

Polochef Edinburgh Private Hire Catering

How many times have you gone shopping and forgotten an ingredient and had to go back to the markets to buy it? If you are cooking for a dinner party that small oversight turns into stress and often arguments. Cooking for friends should be a joy not a stress.

Everyone has a basic larder – salt, pepper, sugar, flour, rice – ingredients that enhance fresh produce. A meal is comprised of vegetables, sauces, meat – but these are all perishables. This is where waste occurs. This is what you throw away. This is the number one problem in restaurants because it burns through any profit margin. And it’s a problem at home. From time to time I will give you some great tips on how to minimise your wastage – tips that have enabled me to build profitable restaurants.

Don’t Waste Time –or Food!

Dessert Chef for Hire Edinburgh

The biggest mistake you’re going to make if you are planning a Summer Party is trying to make it too complicated rather than simple and fresh.

For starters, forget about reading too many food magazines. They will confuse you. Quite often food magazines give you too many options or complicated recipes that involve too many ingredients and a major shopping expedition. In my book that always adds up to waste – food you paid for that didn’t get used or eaten.

Keep away from themes because you normally end up having to buy products that aren’t in season that add to the cost or worse – they are not even fresh.
 Instead, keep it simple. Keep it fresh. Keep it local.

Less can be more especially if you feature a range of seasonal produce.

For example if you use peaches – now in season – let them stand out as the centerpiece of the table … but be sure to enhance them.

Strawberries are in now (June). Yesterday I made an Eton Mess – strawberries, mascaponi Italian creme cheese, fresh raspberry puree and free range meringue showered with toasted flake almonds. Yum. This was a simple, fresh centrepiece that surprised and delighted the guests.

If you’d like the recipe email me at info @polochef.com


Foraging Private Chef Hire Edinburgh

You need a very secret ingredient and the market is shut. So what do you do? Improvise.

This is me somewhere in remote Scotland ‘sourcing’ some of the mushrooms I needed. I spotted these growing by the roadside on the private estate of one of my clients. And they taunted me to be rebellious … they dared me with their sheer haughtiness to pick them!

Of course – please DO NOT try this if you don’t know what you are picking!

You need a) a very keen eye, b) a dog called Mouse, c) a kilt, d) a shopping bag … and e) permission! This unique blend of cavalier bush-tucker expertise and devil-may-care bravado is indeed rare.

But the results? Mouth wateringly memorable.

PS: Love to hear your comments.