Chef Bruno Loubet was born in Bordeaux, southwest France, in 1961. He attended the Lycée Hotelier de Talence, which led to his first job as a Commis Chef at the Hyatt Regency in Brussels.
After commencing National Service as Head Chef for the Admiral’s table, he earned the rank of Second Maitre. Moving to London in 1982, he embarked on a Commis Chef role at La Tante Claire with Pierre Koffmann, and then on to Gastronome One, in the New King’s Road, as Head Chef, where he was awarded the 1985 Good Food Guide’s Young Chef of the Year.
Follwing this, he joined Raymond Blanc in Oxford as Head Chef at the two Michelin-starred Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, and then moved as Chef/Manager to Le Petit Blanc in Oxford, in 1986. He then returned to London as Head Chef at the Four Seasons, Inn on the Park, where he earned a Michelin star within a year.
Today, Bruno has several of his own restaurant concepts to his name, including Bistrot Bruno, L’Odéon, Bruno’s Tables, Bistrot Bruno Loubet and the recently opened Grain Store.
The unusual salad served with the braised meat [in this recipe] always seems to surprise people – even chefs, but when they taste it they are impressed by how well the ingredients work together and how refreshing it is. I served this dish for adinner celebrating my friend Raymond Blanc’s 60th birthday. – Bruno Loubet
4 tbsp olive oil
2kg beef cheeks, trimmed
300g carrots, sliced
200g celery, sliced
2 onions, diced
5 garlic cloves, crushed
5cm piece of fresh root ginger, sliced
1 star anise
1 lemon grass stalk, crushed
3 tbsp pomegranate molasses
9 tbsp sweet Indonesian soy sauce(Kecap manis)
2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
3 Kaffir lime leaves, bruised
500ml veal or beef stock
3 green cardamom pods, crushed
grated zest of 1 orange,plus 1 long piece of peel
3 tbsp lime juice
toasted sesame seeds, to garnish
1 mango, peeled and sliced
12 spring onions, finely sliced
½ cucumber, finely sliced
3 tbsp roughly chopped mint
3 tbsp roughly chopped coriander
4 tbsp roughly chopped basil
wedge of lime, to serve
4 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
1 garlic clove
1 tsp chopped fresh root ginger
1 Kaffir lime leaf, very finely chopped
50ml olive oil
3 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp palm sugar
Preheat the oven to the oven to 220°C/fan 200°C/Gas 7.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and colour the beef on all sides, then remove with tongs or a slotted spoon and set aside.
In the same pan, place the carrots, celery and onions and fry gently over a medium heat until golden brown. Place the beef in a casserole or heavy ovenproof dish, add the vegetables and all the remaining ingredients. Add enough water to cover the cheeks with 3cm of liquid above the meat. Place a circle of greaseproof paper on top, then an old plate, which will keep the beef submerged.
Cover the dish with the lid, or if youdon’t have a lid use a double layer offoil.
Place in the oven for 3 hours. Check whether the beef is ready by squeezing a piece of meat between two fingers. It should feel like your fingers would go through it and break it if you pushed hard.
Leave the meat to rest in the sauce for atleast 30 minutes or it will dry out. Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat from the sauce, place in a dish and cover with cling film to prevent it from drying out. Pass the sauce through a fine sieve over a clean pan, then bring to the boil and skim the surface. Leave to reduce to a nice rich sauce consistency, then turn off the heat and add the meat.
To make the dressing, place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Make the salad by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl then add the dressing. To serve, place a mound of salad on one side of each plate with the beef and sauce on the other. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve immediately.
“Because the time involved in the preparation is quite long, I suggest you cook the meat the day before (it will only improve in flavour), leaving you simply to finish off the sauce and the salad on the day. The meat can be reheated in the sauce over a low heat on the hob.”
Flour, milk and eggs are the three main ingredients needed to make lovely French crêpes. Yes, it is that simple! Writing this recipe takes me down memory lane and reminds me of the respect my parents had for what appear to be quite basic products today. I often lecture my chefs at the Bistrot on how respectful they have to be towards food and often quote the following family story.
For my parents, the restrictions during and after the war left big scars. The French social troubles of May 1968 reminded them that nothing should be taken for granted. My mother used to encourage my brothers and me to hide bags of flour and sugar in the bedroom ceilings or jars of preserves under the coal in the cellar. She used to tell us that it was a secret and we could not tell anyone; it was just in case…
Serves 4 (makes about 8 pancakes)
2 tbsp lemon juice
150ml fresh orange juice (without ‘bits’)
2 cardamom pods, finely crushed
finely grated zest of ¼ orange
4 tbsp Grand Marnier
2 oranges, peeled and segmented
125g plain flour
a pinch of salt
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
vegetable oil, for frying
Start by making the crêpe batter.
Place the flour, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre.
Break the eggs into a small bowl and mix with the milk, lager and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Start to pour the egg mixture into the well in the flour in a fine stream, bringing the flour into the liquid little by little and whisking to incorporate it. Stop pouring the liquid when the mixture is still quite thick, similar to a mayonnaise consistency. At this point, if the mixture has any lumps, a good whisk should eliminate them. Pour the remaining egg mixture in, whisking continuously. In a small pan, melt the butter and cook it over a medium heat until it turns a nutty brown colour (a ‘beurrenoisette’), then remove from the heat and pour it into the crêpe mixture. Whisk well.
Leave the mixture to restat room temperature for 30 minutes. Stir the crêpe batter well. Spread a thin layer of vegetable oil over the base of a large crêpe pan or frying pan, then place it over a medium heat until hot. Pour a large spoonful of batter into the pan, swirling the pan to spread the mixture as evenly as possible.The trick is to have just enough to cover the pan. Reduce the heat to medium–low. Be careful, the crêpe will be coloured enough in about 30 seconds, so flip it over to cook the other side for another 30 seconds. Remove from the pan andplace it on a cool kitchen surface for 2 minutes, then repeat. Pile the crêpes on a plate, covering them with a clean damp tea towel. Once the crêpes are all cooked, use the same frying pan to heat the sugar to start to make a light-coloured caramel then add the lemon and orange juices with the crushed cardamom and orange zest. Bring to the boil, then add the butter and Grand Marnier. Flambé the alcohol using a match, then turn the heat down to low.
Fold the crêpes in half then roll eachone up to make a cone shape. Place four crêpes in the pan at a time and heat them through, turning to coat them in the mixture. Add the orange segments and turn them over in the mixture, too. Transfer to a hot plate and cover tightly with cling film. To serve, place two pancakes on each serving plate then spoon over the hot sauce and orange segments.
“Serve with a vanilla or passionfruit ice cream, if you can find it.I also like crêpes served plain with pears, peeled and sliced, then pan-fried in butter. You make a caramel sauce by heating 60g of sugar in the same way as above, then stirring in 60ml double cream. You then add the pears and serve over plain crêpes.”