The Splendid Table Selects podcast indulges in ‘conversations that inspire us to cook in creative ways’, so we were thrilled to hear one of our favourite perfumers, Mandy Aftel, was a recent guest!
The Splendid Table say: ‘Mandy Aftel is an artisan perfumer with a deep knowledge of natural essential oils. Her book Fragrant: The Secret Life of Scent, co-authored by chef Daniel Patterson, features scent-crafting skills and perfume ingredients in cooking to highlight the difference just one drop of essential oil can make in a dish. Splendid Table contributor Jennifer 8 Lee met up with Aftel to talk about cooking with five particularly powerful aromas: cinnamon, mint, frankincense, ambergris and jasmine. Check out Mandy’s recipes for Rose and Ginger Soufflé and Fragrant Raspberry Bubbly.’
Mandy has long been a friend of The Perfume Society, and we have been delighted, in the past, to have thrown a Scented Supper in her honour, hosted and prepared by the brilliant chef Pratap Chahal, who was inspired by Mandy to use fragrant notes in his own cooking.
How wonderful that flavour and fragrance are finally being entwined in the public consciousness, and that perfumers are being interviewed about subjects outside of the usual ‘how do you make a perfume’ type questions. Could it be that our sense of smell will eventually be taken as seriously in the mainstream media…? We can but spray and pray.
Food and fragrance have long been linked – anyone who’s had a cold will attest to the fact that even the most delicious dish becomes less appetising, because your sense of smell is impaired. But for Michelin-trained chef Pratap Chahal, having already worked with some of the greatest names around, including Gordon Ramsey; it was reading natural perfumer Mandy Aftel‘s books that truly inspired him to delve further into the world of fragrant ingredients.
It was a natural fit to collaborate with us at The Perfume Society to create exclusive Scented Suppers for our subscribers – including one for Mandy herself, when she visited the UK last year, and oh, how those fragrantly inspired dishes will linger long in the minds of all who attended. But now, both Pratap and Mandy are taking their scented adventures even further…
Launching in September 2017 in the heart of Soho, Pratap’s finally opening the restaurant he’s always dreamed of – the rather vividly named, ‘Flavour Bastard‘ is to be a journey of flavours, using all the techniques he’s spent years researching and perfecting.
The restaurant, located on Frith Street, is founded by renowned restaurateur Vic Singh collaborating with Pratap, and we predict it will be seducing the senses and blowing the minds of foodies, if the menus are anything to go by. Have a napkin handy, as we are literally drooling just reading them…
Featuring a wide selection of ‘tiny’ and ‘small’ plates designed to be shared (tapas style) or doubled-up to ‘large’ for a main – everything sounds delectable, and so reasonably priced, too! Tiny plates – all under £5 – will include a white lentil, chorizo and pecorino doughnut and steamed rice cake with house kimchi, sesame and assam. Small plates – under £8 – have such delights as miso and mango glazed aubergine with peanut crumble; a ‘clouds of curds’ with pickled chilli; steak tartare with tamarind, chilli and garlic; and tandoori fried chicken. The restaurant’s large plate menu – everything under £15 – offers diners the option of super-sizing any of the smaller plates.
Pratap’s star is definitely rising – he’s recently been featured on the BBC series, Nadiya’s British Food Adventure, with Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain visiting Pratap at home to talk about cooking with ‘perfume’ and tasting some of his fabulous creations.
Meanwhile, Mandy Aftel has just published her latest book – The Art of Flavor – and is set to inspire even more home-cooks and chefs around the world with her groundbreaking use of uniquely delicious ingredients and game-changing techniques of extracting every drop of flavour in your food.
Mandy says: ‘I wrote The Art of Flavor with my dear friend the 2-Michelin-star chef Daniel Patterson. We teach cooks at all levels how to rely on their senses–not recipes–when making a meal, arguably making this the last cookbook you’ll ever need. From historical examples to the scientific underpinnings to pragmatic rules & phrases, we help home cooks understand better how to achieve the flavours they want.’
We cannot wait to taste for ourselves – both the menu at Pratap’s new restaurant, and the recipes in Mandy’s new book. Scent so good… you can eat it? Tuck in!
Written by Suzy Nightingale
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