Tim Hollingsworth at Alyn Williams at The Westbury
37 Conduit Street, London W1S2YE
Reviewed by Michael M Sandwick
The Art of collaboration is a tricky one. Even the most talented and determined people still need chemistry in order to succeed. Last Wednesday, Alyn Williams joined forces with Tim Hollingsworth of California for a one-off, 8 course collaboration. I guess they adore each other!
It takes a chef who is very comfortable in their own skin to invite another star into their kitchen. Alyn Williams is such a person. He's made a tradition of inviting renowned chefs to his Michelin starred restaurant. Chefstock. I got lucky when Tim Hollingsworth brought his LA cuisine to London. La Lo Land!
I got to ask Tim a few questions about the process:
Q: What was the starting point for the menu for Chefstock?
A: When thinking about the menu, I was really inspired to bring the flavours of Los Angeles to London. Cooking with such a great chef and in such an amazing restaurant is the perfect opportunity to share the cuisine of the many cultures in LA. That's where the menu began.
Q: How did the menu evolve?
A: The dishes we initially proposed paired well with Chef Alyn's choices, so there weren't a whole lot of changes occurring. We were open-ended though. Since London and LA are two different climates, the menu evolved and changed with availability.
Q: Were there any obstacles with 2 mega-chefs working together or was it all easy and light-hearted?
A: Everything was quite easy and light-hearted actually. Chefs are natural team players (though many of us are very competitive there is always a camaraderie), so working with Chef Alyn was pretty seamless.
Q: Are these collaboration the next wave in foodie culture?
A: Definitely. Collaboration and a community oriented culture are ideals that we focus on at my restaurant, Otium, from guest chef dinners, to holding staff contests for a spot on the menu. I believe that collaboration is an integral part of a successful kitchen and team.
A harmonious Transatlantic menu
For this menu, Tim sent his 4 courses to Alyn, who then created 4 more to compliment them. They did! £180 included a glass of Pol Roger and 4 amazing canapes. We started in the Pacific with top quality raw tuna and then went on to Scotland with langoustines and pressed melon. Perfectly spiced beef on lavash brought us to Syria followed by dumplings from Shanghai. The sea bass was a “citizen of nowhere”, but came with divine burnt allium. Guinea fowl brought us to Mexico with the best mole ever, made with cherries! We ended up home with cheese and crumpets unlike any you've had before. Mango, coconut ice and 7up granita was Alyn in his playground! Then, just when I thought I couldn't possibly, I gobbled up more than my share of canelé and salty caramel truffles!
This teamwork produced a beautiful, harmonious menu. Perhaps Chef Williams could share his knowledge of the art of collaboration with our politicians? On both sides of the Atlantic!