Table Talk: TV Masterchef judge goes back to his 1970s roots

Tue Mar 6, 2012 6:29am EST
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By Nina Chestney

LONDON (Reuters) - Gregg Wallace, a judge of the popular British television cooking competition Masterchef, has gone back to his roots with a new 1970s-inspired restaurant in Bermondsey, southeast London.

Born in neighboring Peckham and a former Bermondsey resident, Wallace opened "Gregg's Table" last week in the Bermondsey Square Hotel with a retro menu inspired by food from the 1970s.

Wallace has been supplying fruit and vegetables to restaurants since 1989 but is now better known as co-presenter of the BBC's Masterchef series.

The cuisine from the 1970s may not be not renowned for its finesse but Wallace is keen to put his own spin on old favorites like prawn cocktail, lobster thermidor, chicken kiev, cheese fondue and black forest gateau.

"The menu is based on food I grew up with," he told Reuters.

"When I mentioned the dishes, everyone had fond memories and were intrigued to see what we would come up with. Memories are not always as good as what we actually ate so I took this as a challenge."

Wallace is not the only chef who trawling the 1970s for inspiration these days.

TV chef and author Delia Smith has said last year the decade's cooks were more in touch with what the public wanted than many of today's celebrity chefs and experimental chef Heston Blumenthal created a 1970s retro feast for celebrity diners on a television series in 2010.   Continued...