The Michelin-starred Vegetarian Scotch Egg: A Thing of Beauty!
Chefs are often at the very forefront of innovation but sometimes that creativity and imagination can push boundaries in completely new ways.
Take the recent dish idea from Sally Abé at The Harwood Arms which has a Michelin star. She wanted to make a new version of her popular Scotch Egg which has a loyal following and cannot be removed from the menu.
However, the aim of the new egg was to make something vegetarian. That got her thinking. The idea she came up with was to use a classic recipe for a Glamorgan sausage which contains cheese and leeks. But, she found she needed something extra to give it a kick.
To do this she turned to a vegan bacon by This! This! Make a plant-based bacon and plant-based chicken and have been incredibly successful. By adding This! Bacon to her Scotch Egg she achieved a first.
No other Michelin star chef has dipped their toes into the plant-based alternative market but it is easy to see that she won’t be the last. Here’s what she said on Instagram when she announced the new dish:
“Our very first vegetarian Scotch egg, based on a Glamorgan sausage with Caerphilly cheese, leeks, potato and @this.uk vegan bacon giving it a lovely smokey note. A real rival to the original!”
This dish brings up an important point about what chefs do: there are no boundaries. The job of a chef is to feed people and if you are able to do this in a way that utilises current ingredients and allows customers to taste new things in a fresh way then that has to be applauded.
By using a plant-based bacon Sally Abé has opened up the flavour of bacon to a group of diners who would never order something like that on a menu. What she has achieved by thinking out of the box is that what is important in her vegetarian Scotch Egg is the flavour and crunch of bacon – not the bacon itself. That is a major breakthrough and it takes a chef of considerable courage to have an idea like that and the imagination to see how to do it.
It also leads to other questions such as how long will it be before a chicken casserole on a menu does not contain chicken but instead contains a plant-based alternative? The blurring of vegan, vegetarian and mainstream is now a fully-fledged trend and chefs need to accept that there are new ways to achieve old dishes and new customers waiting to try them.