Pop-Up Dining: MasterChef 2020 Finalist Tells All
November 9, 2020
Pop-Up restaurants are temporary dining events which have massively grown in popularity. We’ve spoken with MasterChef 2020 finalist, David Rickett, who posts some eye-catching pop-up events on his instagram and uses Nurtured in Norfolk’s micro cress and edible flowers to finish his dishes. Check out what David has to say about his pop-ups below.
“Since the MasterChef Final I have done 5 Pop-Ups, cooking for roughly 500 people in total. To be able to serve my own Fine Dining Menu to the paying public is a dream come true! If I think back to just 12 months ago when I was embarking on my MasterChef Journey and still just a home cook, it’s so surreal to now be cooking in a professional environment (without any formal training!).”
What sort of dishes do you serve at a pop-up?
“For my first couple of Pop-Ups I served up a menu based on all the dishes that I’d done on MasterChef. I think for people that are fans of the show, it’s a really nice experience to be able to try dishes they’ve seen on the TV! Following these initial Pop-Up’s I then wanted to try a new menu and showcase my latest dishes… all of which were really well received by the diners!”
“I think something that makes my Pop-Up’s somewhat unique is that when designing my Menus I don’t want to serve dishes that people may have tried before, I like to introduce new and bold flavours. An example of this is my Signature Sorrel Parfait dessert, Sorrel isn’t commonly used in desserts and is usually a herb paired with fish… so it’s a real talking point for a table of diners! I serve my Sorrel Parfait with a white chocolate fudge, raspberry gel, fresh raspberries, raspberry powder and Micro Sorrel herbs provided by Nurtured In Norfolk.”
What’s your favourite part about a pop-up?
“My favourite part of doing Pop-Up’s is once I’m finished!! Not because I don’t enjoy the cooking – but it gives me the chance to grab a drink and sit with some of the diners to hear about what they thought of the meal. There’s also a huge relief once service is finished and you know it’s gone well. The pressure of cooking for the paying public is far more stressful than the MasterChef challenges as a Pop-Up is ‘real life’. People have spent their money, arranged taxis, babysitters etc. to be at my event and I’d hate to disappoint!!”
“As well as doing Pop-Up’s I’ve also fallen into providing Private Dining Events. It wasn’t something I’d necessarily thought about doing, however a few people started enquiring and it’s now become something I really enjoy doing! I like that with a private dining I can spend a little more time making my dishes look as beautiful as they possibly can… with a Pop-Up it’s incredibly difficult to perfectly present 50 plates of food leaving the pass!”
How has Covid had an effect on your culinary career, and what are your plans for the future?
“Coming out of the MasterChef experience and straight into Covid times has been incredibly challenging, especially considering you need to ‘strike whilst the iron’s hot’ with these types of things…people won’t remember the 2020 MasterChef finalists for long! The ‘Rule of 6’ for Private Dining events has also become challenging with a lot of larger events cancelling, but I’ll keep cooking and hopefully things will start to improve in 2021.”
“My plans for the future haven’t yet been decided. My dream is to open my own restaurant one day, but for now I plan to work on promoting my private dining events and create really unique Menu’s presented in a very distinctive way… so watch this space!”