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Apr 1, 2009 11:28 AM

Jamie Oliver's G20 menu

I thought COTMers in particular might get a kick out of this.

Here’s the menu:

And here’s Yotam Ottolenghi’s critique of it.

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  1. In the category of "you learn something new every day" I had never heard of samphire before. When I looked it up I thought it looked like something I'd had on some nature walk near the Palo Alto airport in the San Francisco Bay area. Turns out that is a related plant called "sea pickle" among other things. I remember it being salty. Not much else!

    2 Replies
    1. re: DGresh

      I think it was strange to many of us before seeing it in Ottolenghi's cookbook. Discussion of it here:

      Evidently called "sea beans" here in the States.

      1. re: DGresh

        The first time I ever heard of samphire was watching Posh Nosh on PBS. As Minty Marchmont says, "Embarrass any tough roots from the samphire. Then bamboozle till it's al dente with that certain je ne sais quoi."

      2. Thanks for posting. The menu sounds delicious to me! One can always quibble, but surely it would be unwise to serve daring and adventurous food to a large group with varied tastes.

        1. I just hope his wife doesn't go into (new) labour at a crucial point! Apparently the staff at No 10 are primed.

          I wonder what the Queen served for tea.

          1 Reply
          1. re: greedygirl

            She managed to hang on until this morning - they've welcomed a new baby daughter. With the ahem, unusual name of Petal Blossom Rainbow.

          2. I wonder if his selection to represent the best of Britain reflects his cooking prowess, his work with the kids, or his manners? Were they afraid of setting Gordon Ramsey or Marco Pierre White or any of the other British chefs loose amongst the dignitaries.

            1. I think it was a brilliant menu and he certainly did have appropriate vegetarian alternatives.
              But Joan, I couldn't find Ottolenghi's critique.

              Here's what Jamie wrote in his blog about the dinner...
              I read it earlier and thought that to ask his Fifteen alumni and present interns was a wonderful idea.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Gio

                That's interesting. I can't find the critique any longer either. Even a search of "Ottolenghi," "G20," and "menu" didn't turn up anything. I wonder if they took it down and, if so, why? It really wasn't particularly critical of Oliver; quite the contrary. It was more along the lines of "those mushrooms are out of season, why not serve something else" and "I understand why he's doing lamb" but --in much nicer words--lamb with mint sauce is such a cliche.

                I did find this on Google:


                Their link doesn't work either, but s/he reports on what Ottolenghi had to say.

                1. re: JoanN

                  Well, I guess all this comes under the heading... You can't please all the people all the time...etc. JO decided to showcase typical British food... it that's what it was.... and he did it. Not what others would have done, but he brought the per head cost in at a very low amount and I bet the meal tasted delicious in spite of those mushrooms being out of season...which they probably weren't, just.