Isaac McHale and Brett Graham reveal future plans at World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018 announcement event
As the World’s 50 Best Restaurants announces that next year’s ceremony will be held in the Basque country, we caught up with the UK’s best and brightest entries from 2017’s list to get their thoughts. This year the pupil arguably became the master, as ever-rising star Isaac McHale not only cemented his place on the list but also managed to finish a place above his former mentor Brett Graham.
McHale’s The Clove Club is flying the flag for the modern British food scene, and doing so with aplomb: he secured the no 26 spot on the list, the UK’s highest position. He’s known for his ingredient-lead approach to dining, mixing brilliant technique with stunning flavours and the absolute best of the nation’s produce.
McHale spoke glowingly of his peers, praising the exceptionalism of the other chefs included on the list, the inspiration he took when meeting them and the camaraderie that naturally developed, remarking that so many easily became “friends”. There was a glimmer in his eye as he spoke about the future: “We’ve got a lot of things happening, a lot of things planned that might surprised people. Big things we can’t talk about right now!” He took time to spefically mention Graham and his influence: “The biggest part of my career was at that restaurant, so it’s amazing to be included alongside him and to beat him, even if it’s just for one year, I’m very happy!”
And so he should be: Brett Graham Graham is a staple in the 50 Best, his Notting Hill-based The Ledbury having stunned diners for over a decade with its consistent excellence.
As well as revealing plans for a refurbishment of the restaurant, Graham was quick to praise the London restaurant scene for both its quality and its diversity: “You don’t need to go to the same restaurants more than once.” He spond fondly of Britain’s welcoming attitude to multiculturalism, remarking that “you’ve got people from Germany, Japan… all these people that have made a life for themselves here. That culture’s not stuck in its ways[…] those traditional ideals aren’t really there as much so it makes it a really diverse place.”
Both McHale and Graham seemed excited about the upcoming London Food Month, which will bring to the capital an incredible amount of food events throughout June, including soup kitchen Refettorio Felix from world-acclaimed chef Massimo Bottura of restaurant Osteria Francescana. While the Clove Club man didn’t want to reveal his contribution, chef Graham said that he teamed up with his own pub the Harwood Arms and restaurant Meat Liquor to come up with a very special burger called Dead Bambi.