In case you haven’t noticed, lentils are having a moment. They make up the staple diets of vast parts of the world’s population, but they had, in western cooking fallen out of favour. Until recently that is.
Because of their high nutritional value and ease of cultivation, the humble lentil has come back in a big way as a food that ticks all the environmentalist boxes. The UN declared 2016 the Year of Pulses, heightening public awareness of lentils’ potential to contribute to better sustainability in food production. Lentils are among the oldest known cultivated crops known to humans so our relationship with the goes back thousands of years. Today there are Michelin star chefs who are using the ingredient in new and inspiring ways. We’ve covered many staples in our Michelin Star Chefs Cook series, here are three recipes with lentils.
French lentil soufflé with star anise
Chef Michael Smith travels to Le Puy-en-Velay and the eponymous restaurant of Michelin star chef Francois Gagnier. He enjoys a stunning seven-course meal based on the locally produced lentils but this episode of his web series The Lentil Hunter focuses on the final course, a French lentil soufflé with star anise.
Smoked Duck with Puy lentils and lavender
An earthy combination of smoked duck and French Puy lentils with a hint of lavender is the essence of all things great about French cuisine. This recipe by Daniel Galmiche.
Stew of Lentils with chorizo & black pudding
This recipe from Nacho Mazano’s Iberica Restaurants is a hearty lentil stew with chorizo and black pudding with lots of strong Spanish flavours coming through.
Staff shortages are hitting the hospitality sector hard, prompting some restaurants to look outside the industry to train those without restaurant experience for life in the kitchen. Andrew Friedman finds out more.