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April 17, 2013

The Relais & Châteaux Dîner des Grands Chefs

By Ingrid Skjong | Food

The Relais & Châteaux Dîner des Grands Chefs
Courtesy of Relais & Châteaux

Relais & Châteaux launched its World Culinary Tour three years ago, taking its Dîner des Grands Chefs to Versailles in 2011 and to New York in 2012. This year’s installment, on April 22, descends upon London, with “The World’s Kitchen by the Thames” theme giving a nod to all (delicious) things British. Held at Old Billingsgate, formerly the largest fish market in the world, the dinner showcases the handiwork of 45 chefs, grouped into teams of three, who will prepare 15 menus as guests watch.

“London is at the heart of the rebirth of British cuisine,” says Jaume Tàpies, international president of Relais & Châteaux. “An exciting mélange of cultures, the presence of some top culinary talent and the availability of excellent local, traceable and sustainable produce have all contributed to this transformation.”

Those contributions will be prominently on display. Raymond Blanc and Gary Jones of Oxfordshire’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons lead the U.K. team. North America’s talent includes Michael White of Marea in New York, Patrick O’Connell of The Inn at Little Washington in Virginia and Barbara Lynch of Menton in Boston (the only female Grands Chef on the continent).

The ingredients are treasures, offering a survey of the United Kingdom’s culinary sourcing prowess. Seafood covers lobster hailing from Cornwall and Jersey, cock crab from Devonshire, diver-caught Scottish scallops and Cornish oysters. A wide variety of vegetables (bobby beans, purple sprouting broccoli, samphire, sea purslane) accompany specialties like Aberdeen Angus beef and estate-reared poultry.

While guests at the table are certainly lucky, the event is out to spread the wealth: A silent auction will benefit Action Against Hunger, a charitable organization dedicated to eradicating childhood hunger. Tickets, $850; 1 Old Billingsgate Walk; dinerdesgrandchefs.com.