Marcus Wareing, who heads up his eponymous restaurant at The Berkeley, is this year lending his culinary influence to Grey Goose Character & Cocktails party, the glittering annual event held to raise money for the Elton John Aids Foundation. Before he cooks up a charitable storm for the likes of Lily Allen and Jean-Paul Gaultier on 30 October, he took the time to answer a few questions.
Esquire: When creating a custom menu, such as the one for this party, where do you get your inspiration?
Marcus Wareing: From the technicalities: the guests’ expectations, the team that will be executing the actual menu and the ambience of the event the menu is for. I was inspired by Jean-Paul Gaultier, by his “terroir” and also his reputation for pure elegance. Seasonality is also important to me and allows food to be showcased to its best level.
E: What do you think makes French cuisine so extraordinary?
MW: The history, passion and terroir behind it is unique. I would even go as far as saying that all cookery today has the majority of it’s foundations in French cuisine; of course these have been modified over time but the roots still remain.
E: Do you draw inspiration for your menus from any other countries?
MW: Given the positioning of the UK in the global world of gastronomy I believe there is a lot of inspiration to be drawn from other cuisines and countries; it is endless! Personally I love the influence from Italy, India and also South America.
E: Do you have any tips/recommendations for cooking with spirits?
MW: There are some dishes, mainly puddings, where the aroma and intensity of a spirit complements the dish like no other ingredient. It should not overpower, merely enhance. As with any dish, ensure you begin with a quality ingredient otherwise the end result will suffer.
E: What advice would you give for pairing food with cocktails?
MW: Until this event, I wasn't privy to the wondrous world of mixology but, after the tastings we've had, I believe there is a lot that can work between the two worlds of food and cocktails. My advice is not to have too many, so you can’t remember the food!
E: Outside of the London, which city do you think offers a great culinary experience?
MW: Paris to me will always have an allure; it is where many of the culinary greats began.
E: What’s your favourite ingredient?
MW: Salt. It enhances food to the next level and I could not possibly cook, or live, without it!
To buy tickets, call +44 20 7603 9996