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International Gourmet Savours Menu de Terroir

Date: 06/09/2004 | Posted by John Garton
A leading food inspector who has written reviews for some of the most famous eating-out guides will be in Jersey this month to give his verdict on the Menu de Terroir competition organised by the Genuine Jersey Products Association (GJPA). Michael Edwards has worked as an international food inspector for a prestigious organisation for the past 30 years and has eaten in some of the finest restaurants around the world.

Michael will be the special guest at a reception on Wednesday, September 22nd which will be held at Portinfer Farm Tearooms, which is a member of the GJPA. The Menu de Terroir initiative was launched earlier this year to provide a showcase for the quality and diversity of local produce and encourage Island’s chefs to cook using local ingredients.

Chairman of the Association, Hamish Marett-Crosby says: “We are delighted to welcome someone of Michael’s caliber and experience to Jersey to take part in this successful promotion.

“The Menu de Terroir has proved to be a popular addition to many Island restaurants from May to September and I would like to thank all those involved. Before he makes his final comments on the menu Michael will be taken to a selection of the participating restaurants to experience first-hand the quality of the ingredients and creativity of the menus”.

Twelve local restaurants, hotels and pubs have taken part in the initiative. They are: The Salty Dog Bar & Bistro, The Atlantic Hotel, Jersey Pottery, Vecchia Milano, Bistro Soleil, Hotel La Place, Lido’s, Cheffins, The Olive Branch, Fridays and the Tipsy Toad Townhouse.

Michael has visited the Channel Islands several times and in the past few years has hosted a wine evening at Longueville Manor in Jersey.

Michael says: “Over the past three decades my work has taken me to many parts of the world including the USA and Europe. The standard of food has improved enormously over the past fifteen years although I’m sad to say, it is still quite rare to find inexpensive good quality food.

“The most important quality when you are judging a restaurant is that they use wonderful fresh ingredients. I particularly like food that is traditional, in that it is a pleasure to eat and I also enjoy seasonal produce.

“Jersey is incredibly fortunate in that it has an abundance of local ingredients to choose from and I am really looking forward to visiting some of the Island’s producers and finding out more about the new varieties and strains of crops they are growing”.

Michael has a nose for talent and was one of the first food writers to discover Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant in Padstow in the early 1980s as well as being an early champion of Marco Pierre White.

Michael says: “Despite his phenomenal success Rick has stuck to what he knows best and continues to use the finest fresh fish he can find. Although the restaurant is now enormously popular the dishes he serves are essentially the same. That is the mark of a great chef”.

So what does he think of a job which most people would enviously covet?

“Despite what people think it can be quite grueling as it involves a lot of traveling, eating and flair to find the right choice of words and expressions,” he says. “Saying that it has enabled me to eat at some of the most fantastic venues and meet some incredibly interesting people – it’s a job I wouldn’t change!”