RENOWNED CHEF SHARES TOP PLANT-BASED RECIPE FROM GAUTHIER SOHO
January 2023: Bute Island Foods - makers of Sheese, the award-winning, original plant-based cheese alternative - are the “producers of the future”, according to renowned vegan chef Alexis Gauthier.
Chef Gauthier, the multi-award-winning French chef and successful London restaurateur, who held Michelin stars or 12 years, has shared the recipe for one of the diners’ favourite dishes on the menu at Gauthier Soho - the restaurant famed for becoming the first classical French fine-dining vegan restaurant in the world.
This signature dish is currently on the menu at Gauthier Soho and contains Original Creamy Sheese, a versatile, dairy-free cream cheese alternative, which can be used in exactly the same way as dairy cream cheese.
French-born chef Gauthier began his career in Nice, France, and trained under Alain Ducasse at Le Louis XV in Monaco. He opened his first solo restaurant, Roussillon, in Pimlico in 1997, before opening Gauthier Soho in 2010. The restaurant held a Michelin star for one year.
In 2016 he became vegan and in 2021 removed all animal products from his restaurant menus entirely. Today he is chef patron at both Gauthier Soho and 123V, with celebrities such as Billie Eilish and the Kardashians being recent diners at the former.
Speaking about the dish, Chef Gauther said: “For many years, before we went vegan, we used to serve a dish similar to this with mascarpone cheese in the filling of the pasta. It was sensational; very light, yet rich and decadent, at the same time. “When we began developing the vegan menu, things like mascarpone were no longer available. Creamy sauces were no more! But we were not going to give up. “We spent over a year testing and retesting variations of plant-based creams and cheeses. All of them had a problem. They would be creamy but with a strong after-taste, nice tasting with a bad texture or they would split into an oily, watery mess. “When we tried Sheese, it was the first time we found a product which had none of these downsides. It doesn't split and acts just like cream cheese. It has allowed us to recreate some of my favourite recipes. “First and foremost, it opened the doors to this dish; the Berlingot a la truffe! I am now working on a fabulous wild mushroom sauce for a new spring dish, using Sheese once more.”
He added: “The team at Bute Island are real artisans and have the story to back it up. It's still made up there in Scotland by people who really care. For me, these people are the artisans, producers and farmers of the future.”
Berlingots a la truffe, by Alexis Gauthier
Fresh rice pasta pyramids with truffle cream and dashi cream sauce
“This is a dish which encapsulates the light yet indulgent dishes popular around the French/Italian borders where I began my career as a chef. It is a long time in the making; my head chef Tom Brown took a year or two of testing to get the sauce and filling correct.
“When we cracked it, it was one of the moments when I realised that a vegan dish can be every bit as refined, decadent and delicious as anything using animal products. It has remained on my menu for five years now and is very popular with my guests.”
Total time needed: 14 hrs
We make our own but you can also use fresh rice dumpling/pastry sheets.
● 150ml plant-based double cream
● 50g vegan parmesan cheese
● 250g vegan cream cheese
● 1 teaspoon white truffle oil
● Fresh grated truffle
● 10x shiitake mushroom
● 1 tbsp soy sauce
● 1 sheet nori seaweed
● 1 litre water
● 2g xanthan gum
● 250ml plant based double cream
Combine cream and parmesan in bain marie, stirring gently for 10 mins
Leave to rest in the fridge for a minimum of 12 hrs (prevents splitting).
When ready to use, beat together with the cream cheese until whipped and light.
Add a dash of truffle oil and fresh truffle. Set aside in piping bag and refrigerate.
Make a dashi stock: take a large saucepan, add mushrooms, soy sauce, nori and water. Bring to boil then simmer gently for 4-6 hrs, reducing by half.
Set aside to cool slowly for 4 hrs. Pass through a sieve to remove the mushrooms and nori. Reduce again by half, leaving 250ml liquid.
Add cream and reduce by half again back to 250ml.
Add the xanthan gum and thicken until it has the consistency of smooth custard. Pass through a sieve to remove any lumps. Add a dash of truffle oil.
Method: construction of the berlingots
Roll out sheets as thinly as possible on a surface dusted with fine semolina flour. Cut into 90mm diameter circles. Lightly brush with flour & water mix.
Pipe individual portions of cream filling each the size of £1 coin onto pasta circles, being careful not to overfill.
Bring the pasta edges up into small three-sided pyramids and carefully but firmly seal the edges closed. Place on a tray dusted with semolina flour.
Cooking and serving
Bring a large pan of water to boil and gently cook the berlingots for no more than one minute. Place in a large pasta bowl and add cream sauce. Finish with fresh truffle.
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About Alexis Gauthier
Alexis Gauthier’s love for cooking with plants is well documented, first creating a plant-focused ‘garden menu’ back in 1997 at his Michelin-Starred London restaurant Roussillon, at a time when vegetables in British restaurants were mostly added as an afterthought. After sensing the move towards a more plant focused diner, Alexis wrote his book Vegetronic which spoke directly to a more ‘plant-curious' demographic. Opening Gauthier Soho in 2010, Alexis knew from the very beginning that vegetables would be a main focus, and made his vegetable menu stand shoulder to shoulder with the classic gout du jour menu. When PETA ran an international vegan month back in October 2015, Gauthier Soho took part ‘really to test the water’ and completely removed all animal products from the vegetarian menu. He was overwhelmed with the positive response, winning UK Best Vegan Menu Award. In 2016, Alexis himself became vegan, and announced he was planning to turn the entire restaurant plant-based. In 2021, this became a reality, and Gauthier Soho became the first classical French fine-dining vegan restaurant in the world. Alexis is now a regular speaker at debates and discussions and is dedicated to exploring the possibilities of deliciousness using an animal free canvas. A recent recipe by Alexis for a vegan 'Faux Gras' gained over 5m views. https://www.alexisgauthier.co.uk/
Bute Island Foods have been producers of the original vegan cheese since 1988. Starting from a farmhouse kitchen table on the picturesque Isle of Bute off the coast of Scotland, Sheese has gone from these humble beginnings to being widely available and a staple in many plant-based consumers' diets.
Sheese has the largest range of vegan cheeses available on the market (35 different varieties), from sliced cheddar to grated mozzarella to garlic and herb creamy spread, offering plant-based consumers a vast amount of choice when it comes to vegan cheese.
Over the years Sheese growth has gathered momentum, and is now available in Tesco, Sainsburys, Waitrose, Ocado and good health stores. As well as being available throughout Europe, North America, Australia and the Middle East.