Farewell Manresa, Noma and The Menu. Bonjour Oatmeal!
Good morning. Don't you love that French people keep wishing “Bonjour” any time of the day? For me, it sounds as lovely as eating silky oat pudding whenever I want. Oats are a top ingredient in any healthy diet in the world, from the Mediterranean to the DASH, from purely plant-based to flexitarian lifestyles. It’s a very wise and contemporary choice of food for humans, especially because oats are also a regenerative crop.
What do The Menu, the closure of two of the most innovative restaurants on the planet, and porridge have in common? Probably nothing. And everything at the same time.
The Menu is a very dark depiction of what happens in dining rooms that almost all of us don’t go to. It’s a sharp narrative that relies on the brilliance of Ralph Fiennes’ acting and the heat from the character played by Anya Taylor-Joy. Probably it’s the ultimate insult to Michelin star-studded chefs all over the world, but I kid you not: besides de theatrical plot there’s, it dishes out a lot of food for thought about the glamourization of unsustainable food and habits that are so outdated in a world threatened by a mass extinction, global warming, and other indigestible realities.
But enough of that. I was one of the lucky people who dined at Manresa, Los Gatos, with the signature of David Kinch, who I thoroughly respected for his creativity and responsible choice of local ingredients. My sister invited me once to go there. And a gift card from my beloved client took me there for a second time. I was twice in awe by the Into the Garden salad with soil and flowers on the plate. What didn’t impress me was seeing a dead bird, including claws, on my neighbour’s table. Poor pigeon. I mean, WHO NEEDS to eat pigeons???
I didn’t like the intrusive waiters, who always were trained to explain the dishes to us as if we were already living in the cold meta-verse. Add to that, the tone and the need to change my napkin all the time. Ridiculous _ and environmentally unfriendly_ in all ways. Perhaps his audience liked it. Isn't that what high-class fine dining preaches?
Nevertheless, I went to one of his classes at Apple Love Farm, where he showed his love for cooking and passion for agriculture. I was one of the first people to go to his Manresa Café in Campbell, where simplicity and elegance would flow effortlessly. Amazing bakery products, salads… granola, and breakfast bowl. I am happy he is now investing in this front, which, by the way, has no pigeon flying on the menu.
Now, about Noma. I have not been there but read a lot about its success and the Michelin stars.
Although the Copenhagen restaurant was always on the news _ for the right and wrong reasons_ I never really could respect the choice of serving reindeer heart tartare. I despise all of those diners who chose to eat the innards of good-looking animals in the era of plant-based food. But besides that, I was surprised to read their statement that they will close down to become something else. I do hope that they will take their wild animals out of it. Really...? With all the protein we can get from lentils and oats, who needs to eat Santa Claus drivers?
No need for spoilers on The Menu, the connection of fine dining in the real world, and the aspiration for a better breakfast to enjoy my simple recipe:
Overnight Dates, Flaxseed, and Sunflower Seeds Oatmeal Bowl
1 cup of organic old fashioned rolled oats
4 dates, chopped
2 cups hot water (this helps to make the oats creamy and release the sugar from the dates)
3 tablespoons golden flaxseed meal
Mix all on the night before and let it soak in the fridge. Dates will add a beautiful touch of sweetness to your palate.
In the morning, afternoon, or night after, top it with 2 teaspoons of sunflower, pumpkin seeds or any kind of rich nuts for a bit of crunch. Serve it cold or warmed up a little in your favorite way.