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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Celebrity Chefs and Famous Cooks / ZWT 8 Tour of Great Britain & Ireland Challenge
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    ZWT 8 Tour of Great Britain & Ireland Challenge

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    Fri Aug 24, 2012 10:06 pm Groupie

    Jammin' Jazzberries & The Tour of Great Britain with Chef Robert Irvine...

    After a whirlwind tour of Great Britain and Ireland during Round 3 of ZWT8, the Jammin' Jazzberries were notified that they had won a Food Network Cooking Challenge !! Wow our team was so excited!! I mean really excited…to the point that AZPARZYCH went into labor and gave birth to her little princess Madalynn Mae !! We were jumping for joy for her and then we found out what the prize from the challenge! A private tour for our group of Great Britain by Chef Robert Irvine! Oh my ~~ the oohing and awwwing that went around the group while we immediately thought of his --- well his very defined muscles!

    Robert is a very humble man who would rather have the spotlight on others and would rather be a host than the main attraction so to help our team have a better understanding of him prior to our travels, HokiesMom did a little background research for the team and the best news she found was that Robert’s birthday is today August 24th! Alright time to party!!

    Robert was born in Salisbury, England and was raised in Wiltshire, England. Robert joined the British Royal Navy at the age of 15 and his skills in the kitchen soon came to the attention of his superiors. As part of his service for the Royal Navy, Robert was selected to work on board the Royal Yacht Britannia where the Royal Family and their entourages regularly dined. During his time training U.S. Navy chefs as part of a guest chef program, Robert worked in the White House kitchens and his creations were served to high-ranking government officials. He currently resides with his new wife in Hilton Head, SC (USA).

    Our trip started by our Captain , Alligirl, arranging seats in first class on the airline so we could relax before our exuberant tour guide started our journey in Great Britain. When we disembarked from the plane and went to the baggage claim area, Robert was already there and had loaded up all our bags in the double decker tour bus he reserved just for our trip. Chef Robert explained he thought it would be fun to explore some of the top restaurants in Great Britain while also seeing some sites that are a bit off the beaten path. We are a unique group of gals so a unique tour was just perfect for us.

    For our first dinner out, we had reservations at Turner’s Grill. Ever the champion of British cooking, exec chef Brian Turner stays true to nature by keeping things simple yet lively. There aren't many hotel dining room menus these days where one's likely to come across good old fashioned shepherds pie or cock-a-leakie soup, but judging by the quality of cooking here, it's been worth the gamble. Sure, there are a few nods to the contemporary – sweet potato and pumpkin fritters; pressed salmon with cucumber piccalilli dressing – but in essence this is solidly traditional fare. Piping hot baked macaroni cheese with baby spinach scores a high comfort mark, as does an amazingly tender shoulder of lamb on a bed of puy lentils. There's something for everyone, from Yorkshire cod fishcake with mushy peas to the grill list, which features 24 day matured pure Scottish Aberdeen Angus beef and a gargantuan T-bone steak with garlic mushrooms. And old school puds of the lemon tart or trifle with sponge biscuits variety are difficult to say no to.

    Robert generously provided accommodations for us at Stoke Park. Housed in a white Georgian mansion dating from 1813, this palatial hotel is set on 350 acres of parkland that include the world-renowned Stoke Poges golf course (featured in the James Bond film Goldfinger). The 49 guest rooms are spread across the original Mansion and the newer Pavilion, added in 2008. The Mansion rooms are designed in a traditional style, with antique wooden furniture, claw-foot tubs, and open fireplaces, while the Pavilion rooms are more contemporary, with custom furniture and colorful Andy Warhol lithographs. The hotel also has a full-service spa and three restaurants, including the modern British Dining Room. Breakfast is included in your stay so the next morning we enjoyed a wonderful array of breakfast items to fill our tummies and give us the energy we needed for our touring.

    Robert thought it would be fun to visit the Go Ape! The #1 United Kingdom Forest Adventure located near our hotel. Boy were we in for an adventure. Bigbadbrenda was a bit nervous to try the Tree Top Adventure where high ropes courses and ziplines were the main attraction and HokiesMom was right there with her as heights are just not her thing…so they let the rest of the team go on that adventure and instead did the Tree Top Junior Adventure which feature low ropes courses and lower and smaller zip-lines. We all ended the day with the Forest Segways, where we got off the beaten track and experienced an hour of fun with their forest Segways! We went off exploring the forest on the latest in green technology – self balancing electric Segways. From two legs to two wheels we experienced the ultimate forest experience on a rugged all-terrain Segway in their beautiful forests. It was a totally unique way to tackle the trails in the forest.

    What a better way to end our day with our tremendous appetites and keep the “green” theme going then to dine at Acorn House. Located in the heart of the Kings Cross area, Acorn House is a "green" restaurant from executive head chef Arthur Potts Dawson. The restaurant’s eco-friendly and sustainable philosophies are reflected in the décor, which features a palette of dark green and browns and sustainable materials like vegetable-based ink on the menus. Seasonally fresh ingredients arrive in an environmentally-friendly manner, and the fresh herbs are grown in the restaurant's own rooftop garden. The ever-changing menu features modern European cuisine with options like Cornish crab risotto and duck confit. Robert especially liked that the international wine list is environmentally friendly, as it includes biodynamic, organic, carbon neutral, and Fairtrade choices like Sussex and Kentish.

    Robert made another spectacular arrangement with the Rockwell Hotel in Kings Cross for our overnight stay. The epitome of understated chic, the Rockwell welcomes guests in a cozy reception lounge outfitted with an elegant library, vibrant flowers and even a kids' playing area. The hotel's 40 affordable guestrooms are stylish, featuring large windows, flat screen TVs, complimentary Internet access, soft Egyptian cotton linens, complete with fluffy. The Rockwell's convenient South Kensington location also makes it easy to explore the city before returning for cocktails in the garden, where lighted flowerpots create an enchanting atmosphere after sundown.

    So the next day Robert went a bit easier on us and helped us spend a few “pounds” at Junk Styling located inside East London’s Old Truman Brewery. Elaniemay and Chef Pot Pie were most excited as they have such a creative flair anyway and this just really tweaked their interests. Junky Styling is the brainchild of self-taught designers Annika Sanders and Kerry Seager. Founded in 1997, the innovative label takes high-quality secondhand clothing and reworks it into fashionable new garments. Every piece is one-of-a-kind and fuses classic design with avant-garde touches; for instance, a man’s suit may be transformed into a sleek woman’s vest. The clothing is displayed in an equally stylish, high-ceilinged space with worn hardwood floors, exposed light bulbs, and vintage furniture. Junky Styling also offers a “wardrobe surgery” service that enables customers to bring in old clothing to be redesigned.

    While on this side of town, Robert took us to see Tate Modern, which is housed in a hulking converted power station. This modern art showplace opened in 2000 but still breaks new ground with installations each year. Six floors of masterpieces by Picasso, Dalí, Warhol, Rothko, and Hirst (among many others) on level 3 and level 5 contrast with the soaring, industrial rooms holding permanent and rotating exhibitions on level 4. We took afternoon tea in the 7th floor café and restaurant; its Thames views are as captivating as the artwork.

    That evening the JJs stayed in The Apex City of London. Located near Tower Bridge, the business district, and within walking distance of two underground stations—Tower Hill and Aldgate—the Apex caters to business and leisure travelers. Otherwise stark guestrooms are outfitted with retro-patterned linens, basic wood headboards, and little touches like in-vase flowers. On-site restaurant Addendum serves modern European cuisine like smoked haddock fishcake and linguine with crab, chili, and coriander. This 179-room hotel offers extra amenities such as complimentary newspapers, Wi-Fi, Elemis toiletries, and a take home plastic duck.

    On our final day Robert thought we should stay in Guernsey, England at the Old Government House Hotel, a Victorian Gem in St. Peter Port where the spa package features stress-buster massage, facials and all-day access to the spas facilities. We enjoyed a full day of spa treatments and spoiling by Robert (who always was present with appetizers and beverages). The next day Robert took it upon himself to overtake the kitchen with our team prior so that our last day we would help create a menu representing Great Britain so we would leave with a “taste” of this region.

    Here is the menu which was created: celebrity chef challange 2

    Dienia B., Cookgirl and January Bride were the sous chefs for the day and enjoyed not only all the tips and tricks that Chef Robert shared but it was not a hard task rubbing “elbows” with him in the tight kitchen quarters. Dienia B. even took it upon herself to make one recipe all by herself and served it to our team along with the meal. Mashed Potatoes Twice-Baked.

    By the end of the meal we were full, happy and each starting to get the hang of British slang. The Jammin’ Jazzberries had a truly wonderful time exploring Great Britain with Chef Robert Irvine and we decided that next year we are going to travel to Hilton Head, SC (USA) and have dinner together at “Robert Irvine’s eat!” restaurant. We heard he gives cooking lessons and thought that would be another fun twist and allow us to see him in action once again.
    Fri Aug 24, 2012 10:22 pm Groupie

    threeovens #865936 has MERP'd

    Orange Cake #482879 by Student Chef:
    Fri Aug 24, 2012 10:24 pm
    Forum Host
    Thanks Mersaydees,


    Kim Casebeer Vernissage

    What the ????
    Fri Aug 24, 2012 10:27 pm
    Forum Host
    Kim Casebeer Vernissage

    Ok, I have no idea what's going on with that! I'll try again in the morning icon_wink.gif
    Fri Aug 24, 2012 10:36 pm
    Forum Host
    Fri Aug 24, 2012 10:59 pm Groupie

    Yay! icon_lol.gif
    Sat Aug 25, 2012 10:42 am
    Forum Host
    Jazzberries, great story, it looks like you had a blast with Mr. Muscles Robert icon_wink.gif I'm so glad you included our little mini-chef Madelynn Mae in your story! icon_biggrin.gif icon_biggrin.gif
    Mon Sep 03, 2012 8:35 pm
    Experienced "Head Chef" Poster
    K9 Owned wrote:

    My British relatives are largely embarrassing...

    Hours later, refreshed and ready to go we were delighted to discover that we had been substantially upgraded in terms of transportation.

    The following day, bags packed and ready, (except for Deantini 's knives) we set about cooking
    After dinner The Two Fat Ladies congratulated us on the meal and in particular praised Sofie's Sauteed Brussels Sprouts With Walnuts They were astonished that anything so tasty could be made without the use of animal products but if the truth be told they both ate more than their fair share of the Stuffed Leg Of Lamb. icon_wink.gif

    Cousin Clarissa and Jennifer were not traveling to London with us as they had a television show in Glasgow to film They did however ensure that we had comfortable travel arrangements back to the airport. Our last view of our fabulous lodgings and a vacation that we would never forget were the Two Fat Ladies seeing us off.

    ~The End~

    Bisto Babes Celebrity Chef Challenge Menu
    Super Easy Roasted Red Potatoes #202181 by Mommy Diva made and reviewed.
    Why? What is more British than roasted potatoes?

    I loved reading about your adventures
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