We catch up with Karl Richardson, executive head chef at The Waldorf Hilton Hotel, to talk British Lion Eggs, the pandemic and the future
If we could sum up 2021 in one word it would be ‘resilience’. The hospitality industry has had to be buoyant in the face of a continuous stop-start culture. However, one thing that has remained the same is the industry’s consciousness towards quality –especially when it comes to British produce, and notably, our eggs.
One chef who knows all about this is Karl Richardson, the executive head chef at The Waldorf Hilton Hotel in London. For him, using British Lion Eggs at the heart of his cooking symbolises a steady bedrock in these difficult times.
“I’ve been using the British Lion Eggs for 20 years,” he explains. “I feel that the detail in the traceability gives me peace of mind, as we use eggs in every corner of my kitchen, so for me that is vital. Serving so many guests we want to know that every egg is of top quality.”
For him, the traceability of the eggs is a huge benefit –ensuring “consistency of quality”. He continues: “Alongside this with the same levels of importance makes this a no brainer for me.
Being in hospitality we are quite process driven in order to drive excellence and I feel that they are doing exactly that: finding a good process for quality control and never going against that process.”
The New Normal
While many hospitality professional shave had to stop working entirely, Richardson has been fortunate enough to continue working throughout the pandemic. He’s noticed some significant changes, many of which he’s made himself.
“Taking this time to develop new concepts and ideas for our hotel has been quite unique,” he says. “Usually, we are busy all year around but having this down time has allowed me to take a big step back for this more creative thinking, something that we as a team love.”
He’s bought in some innovative new concepts, including Hilton’s first afternoon tea delivery concept –straight to the customer’s home. They’ve also had time to rebrand the restaurant –as they look to the future to create a new fine dining concept. Richardson has also been preparing for the second half of 2021, when hospitality reopens in full –this includes a Champagne and caviar bar –ready for some much-needed celebratory periods.
Richardson has noticed that it’s not only hospitality as an industry that has had to adapt to the pandemic, but its customers too. New trends are emerging, and from Richardson’s view on the frontline –they look promising.
For the recipe:
Eton Mess Recipe
Richardson: “The recipe I have chosen to share is the Waldorf Eton Mess. It’s a reframe of a true British icon. A dish that everyone loves and has eaten at some point but presented in a different way. It’s a dish that you could make at home, but it’s one that we see ordered over and over again at the hotel. And right at the centre of the dish is a base of eggs. A true classic.”
Waldorf Eton mess serving 4
•Egg whites x 2 (very fresh)
•Sugar x 50g
•Icing sugar x 80g
•Strawberry sorbet x 100ml
•Double cream x 250ml
•Vanilla pod x 1
1.Stiffly beat whites, beat in sugar, fold in icing sugar
2.Pipe half of mix into droplets (using nozzle and dipping bag) on to tray lined with baking paper
3.Second half of mixture spread onto tray lined with paper using spatula
4.Bake in oven for 3 hours at 90c
5.Hull strawberries, sprinkle with tiny amount of black pepper (enhances the flavour)
6.Then slice half and quarter the other half
7.Whip cream and vanilla pod together
9.Arrange components on the plate together