About Time You Met: Anton ManganaroBy Alicia Grimshaw
With the BAFTA Awards only a few days away, we sit down with Head Chef Anton Manganaro, to discuss what the stars will be eating on the night, and the secrets to catering for large events. We’ve got a lot of time for well made canapés:
How long have you been Head Chef at BAFTA 195 Piccadilly?
I started at BAFTA 195 Piccadilly back in May 2006, so I’ll be celebrating my 10-year anniversary this May.
What’s on the menu at the BAFTAs this year?
Smoked Lincolnshire Poacher puff with chicken and apple salad, spicy tomato pickle & crispy skin
Loch Duart beetroot cured salmon, rye cracker, bergamot and dill mayonnaise
Lincolnshire hot smoked trout on Tattie scones with crème fraiche and lemon caviar
Crispy dark rye with pickled golden beetroot, pear gel and cranberry granola (vegan friendly)
Beetroot marinated salmon, horseradish yoghurt, pink grapefruit dressing and confit lemon
Beech roasted pepper, quinoa salad, leek and wild mushrooms, pickled heritage carrots and poppy seed dressing
Loin of lamb ‘en croute’, slow braised shoulder of lamb, spiced red cabbage with golden raisins, butternut fondant, spinach and watercress mash
Winter vegetables and Yorkshire Feta ‘en croute’, spiced red cabbage with golden raisins, butternut fondant, spinach and watercress mash
Seventy percent classic dark chocolate brownie with mousse, lavender crème and berry compote
How do you manage to cater for 2,000 people, whilst still creating high-quality dishes?
We aim to keep the menu simple and seasonal, and try to ensure dishes don’t contain too many different elements. That makes them easier to recreate in large numbers on the big night.
How do you cater for dietary requirements at large events?
Fortunately we are always made aware of any dietary requirements in advance of the event, so there aren’t usually any surprises. That being said, we always prepare additional dishes just in case we receive any last-minute requests!
What’s the hardest part about catering for 2,000 people?
The preparation of the menu is where the hard work really happens. If you’ve done the preparation carefully, then the service on the day is actually pretty straightforward, believe it or not.
What advice would you give to young budding chefs trying to break into the food industry?
Work hard, be positive and be confident. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, as it’s the only way you’ll learn. And most important of all, make sure you taste everything!
What’s your signature dish?
Roast loin of venison with butternut and preserved lemon puree, chestnut gnocchi, wild mushrooms and juniper berry syrup. It’s always gone down well, whoever I’ve cooked it for, so I must be doing something right!
Favourite dessert is:
At the moment it’s bitter chocolate tart with caramel mousse and smoked bacon ice cream. It might sound like an odd combination on paper, but the flavours really work together.
How large is your kitchen team on the night?
At the Royal Opera House for the red carpet reception, the team is made up of 16 chefs, while at the Grosvenor House Hotel the team is 35 strong. It sounds like a lot of moving parts, but in practice we work like a well-oiled machine.
Favourite restaurant in London is:
There are so many great restaurants in London, it’s difficult to choose! I’ve recently had great meals at Kitchen Table and House Of Ho, so they’re my current favourites, but I’m sure that will change again soon!