The Young British Foodies — known as the YBFs — first launched over three years ago, aiming to shine a light on the young (at heart) people pushing the country’s food and drink scene forward.
It hosts an increasingly influential annual ceremony awarding food and drink producers, innovators and visionaries in categories ranging from cheffing to alcohol, via coffee, vegetables and meat.
In a big move for the initiative, the YBFs will be laying on a special menu at Tate Modern this month. It will feature the wares, skills and guidance of this year’s winners (as well as some past entrants), and will run on Friday and Saturday evenings from today until 7 December in the gallery’s pretty impressive sixth-floor restaurant, which boasts eye-to-eye views of St Paul’s and beyond.
We sampled several of the dishes being served, and were impressed across the board with the simplicity of what was on offer, allowing some sensational ingredients to speak for themselves.
They range from cured, smoked duck courtesy of Artisan Smokehouse in Suffolk to charcuterie from Bermondsey’s Bar Tozino, dressings made with cold-pressed argan oil made by an ex-City worker and rye bread from Borough Market. A delightfully dense white chocolate and blueberry cheesecake is made with ‘queso fresco’ Mexican-style cheese from Gringa Dairy in Peckham.
Among the best dishes are those created by Tomos Parry, who won the chef category at this year’s awards. After working at restaurants including Kitchen Table in Fitzrovia, Welshman Parry made his name at Hackney’s Climpson’s Arch, churning out superb grilled dishes.
Confit lamb belly which has then been grilled is at once crisp and succulently tender, while a starter of grilled baby leeks with Somerset goat’s curd, thyme brown butter and chives is endearingly light and tangy. Speaking of the latter, Parry told us: “it’s just cheese and onion, really”.
Having polished these off, we know we’ll be paying a visit to new Mayfair grill Kitty Fisher’s when it opens next month, as Parry will be heading up the kitchen. And that’s exactly the point: this is a menu that lasts for just one month, but it’s also a showcase for a new generation of culinary talents and food entrepreneurs; what you try once at Tate Modern, you’ll be able to get your fix of somewhere else.
The YBF menu costs £47.50, including three courses, a Stellacello cocktail, bread from E5 Bakehouse and a cup of coffee which has been roasted just across the river in Tate Britain. An extra £14 provides a specially matched wine or beer for each course.