Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Behind the scenes at Dip & Flip

Whatever the question, the answer is always dip. Always.

My life can now be divided into BG and AG - Before Gravy and After Gravy. I'd never really thought that much about gravy until the last few weeks. Have you? Do you lie awake at night pondering how to create the perfect combination of meatiness, juice and flavour? Do drops of the brown stuff dance in front of your eyes while crammed onto the Tube like a sardine in a gravy boat? Ah. Just me then. 

So let's go back to the start: Before Gravy. The story begins with a new London restaurant, Dip & Flip. We'll break it down - pay attention now. The dipping - that's the gravy part - dipping burgers, roast beef and lamb. The flipping, well that's the burgers. 

Dip & Flip opened in Battersea Rise last month and my job was to set up and manage the kitchen. Having met with the business partners and owner Tim Lees I jumped into the stock pot head first. Nathan Richardson, Sous-Chef at The Ship, had designed the recipes and all I had to do was set up the kitchen processes and design. Yes, I wasn't quite sure what I was letting myself in for either.

So 'burgers' I hear you mutter..hardly original now are they? Ah, this dear reader is a burger so good that if you had to abandon all other burgers and spend your life with just one, this is the burger for you. A burger that is proud of its messiness. A burger that is not afraid to stand up and have a pickle lovingly placed on it. A burger that wants to, nay, yearns to be dipped in sweet gravy. A 6oz patty cooked on a chrome plated griddle that creates a crust and adds flavour. Topped with cabbage slaw and pickles. Dripping with secret cheese sauce. All wrapped up in a shiny brioche bun. How about adding roast beef dipped in gravy?

Oh. Yes. We. Did.

Dip & Flip burger with roast beef dipped in...gravy

A few days before the restaurant opened we had a soft opening for friends. An hour into service I was close to screaming and running out the door gravy ladle in-hand. It was one of those moments when you start to think what-the-hell-am-I-doing-here-why-amn't-I-back-in-my-nice-safe-HR-job-and-why-did-I-want-to-be-a-chef-anyway. In moments like that the only thing that keeps you from running away is pride. That and not wanting to roam the streets of South London in chef's whites and clogs. 

After many sleepless nights we set up the kitchen processes, organised the sections and the following week were open for business. Along with the other amazing chefs everything was put in place. Looking back now it seems a blur of gravy...Tube...burgers...gravy...Tube...gravy...

It isn't rocket science. This is fast-casual food. But it is food that will temporarily transport you to a happier place, all with gravy.

Let me tell you that gravy is a labour of love. We start with making stock from beef bones, which takes 2 days of tender loving care. This beautiful stock is the basis for the gravy, which at last count is being consumed at approximately 30 litres a day. 

Now I could talk and talk all day about making stock, gravy and about that burger. But what it comes down to for a new opening is does the customer like it? That's all that matters. 

Yes, they do. Check out the Dip & Flip Twitter for some of the feedback. There's also been some really positive reviews from ThrillistBurger Affair and Burger Anarchy. The Evening Standard featured it in the top restaurants for man eaters last week. Lady eaters, don't worry, I've showed a few of those burgers who's the boss and so should you. Rumour has it that even John Torode of MasterChef was spotted dipping and flipping at the weekend. 

I can't wait to see how Dip & Flip grows. If you haven't been, for the love of gravy, please do.
Dip & Flip
87 Battersea Rise, London SW11 1HW
Open 7 days a week 
Nearest station Clapham Junction

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Blog Awards Ireland 2013

Last night my Irish agent, AKA my Mum, rang to tell me some surprising and thrilling news...Cuisine Genie has made it through to the finalist stage in the Blog Awards Ireland


Thank you so much to the judges for putting me through in the Best Blog of the Diaspora category. The winner will be announced on the 12th of October. In the meantime I'm doing a little happy dance in my kitchen. Shake it.

Sometimes you just gotta turn up the music and dance like no one is watching, and thank God that they aren't ;-)