January 26, 2015
The bidding is open as a cast of culinary heavyweights have created special chocolates to auction for Galvin’s Chance.
In the divinely louche surroundings of Galvin at Windows restaurant, perched above London, with breathtaking views on all sides, a culinary dream team are getting serious. When the likes of Chris Galvin, Jose Pizarro, Paul A Young, Eric Lanlard, Duck & Waffle and The Hand & Flowers are gathered together I start to get very excited. When they are all directing their energies, along with another sixty odd top UK chefs, towards making chocolates, you could say all my Christamases have come at once! Wild horses could not have dragged me away.
But of course Christmas is behind us, and it is Valentines chocolates that are the subject of this intense flurry of creative. And while the chocolates are going to be seriously good, the reason for their existence is even more serious, and quite possibly even more life-enhancing.
Chocs4Chance is the latest innovation of Galvin’s Chance, an extraordinary charity established in 2009 by Chris & Jeff Galvin, Chef Patrons of Galvin Restaurants, and Fred Sirieix, General Manager at their Michelin starred Galvin at Windows. Galvin’s Chance gives disadvantaged young people the opportunity to train and work in the hospitality industry. Their fund raising initiatives are gloriously innovative and supported by a host of top names in the industry. They have an annual sponsored run, have stepped in the boxing ring for Rumble in the Kitchen, sold Michelin starred mince pies to the highest bidder, all to support a real turnaround in as many young lives as they can manage.
It was very clear from meeting Kamal, one of the first beneficiaries of the scheme, that the impact is life changing. Having been thrown in at the deep end, working front of house under Fred Sirieix in the luxurious rooms in which we sat and talked, she was choked as she tried to contemplate what her life would now be if she hadn’t been given this chance. She learnt about customer service, believing in herself, and when to grin and bear it. She went on to work at other establishments, such as Colbert, before setting up as a personal trainer. She now combines a lifelong love of sport, with her sympathy for others trying to meet their own personal challenges, and has great confidence and desire to make her own way in the world. Inspiring indeed.
It is no surprise that the great and good of the industry offer to help Galvin’s Chance in their droves. Their support is worth a lot to the initiative. I’d have given a lot to see Marcus Wareing and co jump into the ring on fighting form. But I think it will be worth even more to bag a box of unique, utterly gourmet, chef-created chocolates.
Just in time for Valentines, so a perfect gift with multi-layered love! Although you might just have to make sure your loved one shares!
The list of chefs taking part numbered around 68 by the time of the launch meeting I attended, and their reputations and recipes were beyond temptation!
José Pizarro has devised nine chocolates with classic Spanish ingredients, such as saffron and olive oil.
Paul A Young has created a heart-shaped beauty with a layer of raspberry reduction and gin martini ganache, in rose infused Ecuadorian raw chocolate.
Raymond Blanc OBE’s box of bonbons, including cognac truffle, crunchy praline à l’ancienne, peanut with milk and honey, and poire William oval, are going to get a lot of people excited (can you tell I am!)
Bruno Loubet has created a trio: carrot, orange, cardomom and white chocolate ganache in a dark chocolate shell, parsnip, tonka bean and white chocolate mousse in a white cocoa shell, and the intriguing sounding beetroot, liquorice and pomegranate dark chocolate truffle.
The Hand & Flowers are fielding a sure fire winner in a box of flavours from the past ten years of that beloved two Michelin starred pub, including its legendary chocolate ale cake.
Have I got you salivating yet? You’ve a heart of stone and no taste-buds if I haven’t! So, start leaving tremendous hints to your beloved. Or cut out the middle man and give yourself the love you really deserve. Just think, scoff the divine lot without a whisper of guilt!
The auction opens today Monday 26th January, and runs live until the 5th of February. Don’t waste another minute, there are lives at stake, and some ambrosial chocolates into the bargain!