When Kitchen Meets Bar: Expert Tips for Sharing Ingredients
It is becoming much more common for ingredients to be shared between the kitchen and bar. Diageo Global Gastronomer Mark Moriarty shares the benefits of this in his restaurant and gives tips on how to bring these worlds together in your bar.
As far as I'm concerned, the more the bar and kitchen collaborate, the better the customer experience can become, and I have seen this first-hand in my restaurant. A lot of techniques we use in the kitchen can be beneficial for creating cocktails. We have a lot of crossover from elements that appear on the menu and are then transferred to being used behind the bar. With a small team in a small venue, both sides spend a lot of time together and can then absorb the bigger picture. This leads to plenty of creative discussion and a cohesive working environment.
Waste not, want not
Some of our ingredient preparations produce bi-products that we can’t use in the kitchen. We often challenge the bar to come up with ways of using these ingredients behind the bar. This encourages original thinking, as well as being resourceful with all parts of the product. A recent example I can think of is when we were using bergamot. We were preserving bergamots in house for four weeks then used them in the kitchen. We removed the very outer zest, dicing it, and infusing a lamb and seaweed glaze with it. However, the rest of the bergamot was still left, and we couldn’t find a use for it in the kitchen. We therefore juiced the remaining pulp which produced a syrup like preserved bergamot juice, full of floral citrus, controlled bitterness and acid. This is now used by the drop in a Don Julio Tequila serve.
Working in flavorsome
Often, our dishes contain a liquid element to enhance what is on the plate. We ask the bar team to prepare this during service, which means they then have more awareness and feel part of the dining experience, not to mention it taking pressure off the kitchen at vital times.
For example, recently the team in the kitchen were making a rouse dish that needed to be cooked in confit, sliced cep mushrooms, served with blackberry and beetroot. All the trimming and bones from the bird were used to make a grouse tea. The grouse came from the highlands of Scotland… So, what better flavor to work with than Scotch?! The bar team looked after the tea – infused with scotch - for each table. They warmed it on an induction and poured it into a glass tea pot, inside the tea filter were aromas such as rosemary, heather and thyme. This was poured table-side into a whisky tumbler; the last element was to use a dropper to drop some scotch whisky into the glass to round off the tea. Not only did the liquid and food come together, but so did the bar and kitchen team, enhancing the overall customer experience. The bar can, in fact, play a huge role in one activity that is essentially the engine room of the kitchen: sauce making. Brilliant food is rooted in two key elements in my opinion: ingredients and sauce making, after that it's about one or two clever and relevant elements and no more. We finish all our sauces for each table 'A la minute' or 'to order', This involves a final reduction in the pot, some emulsification with a fat product (butter, bone marrow, foie gras, lard, beef fat) addition of acid or spice and lastly touching up with alcohol or an infusion. The bar team is constantly on hand to deliver the kitchen with new sauce making infusions, bitters, alcohols and syrups. Examples include brown butter washed Johnnie Walker for a fish sauce, Tanqueray infused with anise for a deer sauce or a gorse flower syrup to infuse in honey to finish a milk-based dessert.
We also try to keep the bar working with similar ingredients to the kitchen, focusing on seasonality and classic ingredients that work. Our suppliers send weekly seasonality reports to the restaurant, which are then shared with the bar. For instance, the bar team will often ask the kitchen to preserve ingredients for different seasons so that the flavors can still be used. One example is when we have fresh figs available in October and the bar tenders will make a fig cordial or vinegar to use in the spring.
There is something magical in seeing the bar and kitchen work together. Sometimes it’s as much about trial and error; allowing the kitchen and bar to learn from one another and play to their own strengths.
Try bringing together the kitchen and bar with some of Mark’s flavorsome and adventurous recipes.
Preserved Bergamot Juice
18 oz. Maldon salt
7 oz. Sugar
- Slice the bergamot into quarters, leaving the base attached
- Mix the salt and sugar
- Place the salt and sugar into the cavity and place in an airtight container for 3 weeks
- Remove and wash the bergamot, slice the zest for use, juice the remaining pulp and keep in a squeeze bottle for use.
Mushroom and Scotch Whisky Infused Tea
Makes 3 1/2 fluid oz.
3 1/2 oz. dried shitake
3 1/2 oz. dried cep
17 1/2 oz. button mushrooms
4 onions, browned on fry pan
2 cloves garlic
2 sheets kombu
3 1/2 oz. seaweed jam
3 1/2 oz. mushroom soy
1 oz. ponzu
1 oz. dried bonito vinegar
3 1/2 fluid oz water
Few drops of scotch whisky to finish
- Place all ingredients in a pot and bring to boil
- Reduce to simmer and allow to infuse for 4 hours
- Pass through muslin cloth and chill in fridge
- Remove any fat particles from top once cold and strain off clear liquid, leaving the sediment in the base of container behind
- Heat and place in teapot, finish with a few drops of whisky in the glass
- The more the bar and kitchen collaborate, the better the customer experience can become.
- There can be a lot of crossover from elements that appear on the menu and are then transferred to being used behind the bar.
- Sharing ingredients leads to plenty of creative discussion and a cohesive working environment.
- The creation of kitchen ingredients behind the bar can take pressure off the kitchen at vital times.
- The collaboration of kitchen and bar can reduce waste. For example, seasonal kitchen ingredients can be preserved for behind the bar.