How to enjoy King's Caviar by Laura King
Caviar is best served as simple as possible – using mother of pearl or horn utensils.
To taste caviar: We always taste caviar on the soft cushion of the back of our hand between the thumb and forefinger.
Let it rest for a few seconds and then taste by lifting the caviar from your flesh with your lips and tongue and allow it to gently roll round your mouth.The caviar will be very soft on the palette.
Caviar should not pop in the mouth - this only happens with caviar that has been pasteurized which firms up the egg and gives caviar an ambient shelf life. This is not something we recommend as pasteurisation takes away the subtlety of the product.
Considered as the King of caviar, Beluga is rare because it takes 12 years to produces its eggs. It commands a very high price, often three times the price of all other caviar. Steely grey in colour, it’s generally the largest egg with notes of walnuts and cream and hints of both the sea and finest quality salt.
Oscietra sturgeon produce their eggs after 8 years. With a beautiful golden/brown colour, they have a nutty, mellow taste, which develops into a buttery sweetness, similar to lobster. Historically the egg is smaller than Beluga, but with increased farming, the egg size can sometimes be almost as large as its mighty cousin.
Historically, when wild caviar was available, Golden Oscietra was always referred to as “The Shah’s Caviar”. This rare egg is rich, creamy and has a beautiful light gold colour. It is often bigger than darker egg Oscietra.
This Siberian sturgeon is 5-6 years old when it produces its eggs. It has a more intense mackerel-like flavour than Oscietra, often with long hazelnut notes and a colour ranging from dark grey to ebony. This sturgeon is farmed far more than any other as it produces its eggs relatively quickly.
Aquitaine produces the eggs after 5 years. It has a nutty sea taste with low acidity, and ranges from a steely grey colour, similar to Sevruga, to jet black. Aquitaine, like our Siberian Sturgeon, is also from a Baerii sturgeon but is exclusively farmed in France.
This is a hybrid of the Acipenser Schrenckii and Acipenser Dauricus. The caviar from China has a large sized egg with delicate but intense almond cream flavour. Sometimes, these eggs can be remarkably golden in colour, but more commonly are a vibrant walnut brown to olive green hue.
A hybrid caviar of Oscietra and Siberian Sturgeon, Platinum has fresh and intense flavour, often with long nutty notes and a buttery undertone and a colour ranging from dark grey to ebony. This is one of the least expensive caviars but incredibly popular, with a very large egg.
Sevruga tastes of the sea. It is often the preferred choice for caviar dealers around the world because of its resemblance to wild caviar. This small, grey egg is packed with a delicious salty flavour that lingers, often more than other caviars.
A Brief History of Caviar
The word ‘caviar’ is a Persian term that means ‘cake of strength’. It’s a common assumption that the Russians began extracting and consuming caviar, when it was actually the Persians in the 16th century. They believed it had healing properties. In the 18th century, caviar was regarded as the food of the poor until royal chefs introduced Russian Tsars and nobility to it. This set-in motion the demand for caviar as a delicacy – until 2008, when wild sturgeon fishing was banned under the Bern Convention, an international agreement to protect animals and the environment. Since then, all legally produced caviar has come from sturgeon farms.
Caviar is the food of the Gods and an experience never forgotten…
Born and raised in South Shields, the son of a fisherman, John started his rise to Michelin star studying catering at South Shields College and then Westminster College, London.
His first job in London aged 16 was at the Royal Garden Hotel. By 27, he was Premier Sous Chef with Mario Lesnik at Claridge’s, before moving on to the Berkeley and then to the Ritz where he is Executive Chef.
At the Ritz, John has built on the principles and beliefs of Auguste Escoffier, being inspired by classic dishes with a modern touch for today’s market.
He is hugely respected by his peers. At the launch of the 2017 edition of the Michelin Guide, John received a standing ovation when it was announced that the Ritz had been awarded a Michelin star. John told The Caterer, when asked why they had won it now:
“It’s the 110th anniversary of the Ritz this year and it’s a real accolade and we are just over the moon. It is something that you work for and I believed that we were good enough and I just wondered why. And we need a star because if you are a world class hotel, you need to have a star.
We have been cooking the same, we haven’t changed. The Ritz tells us what to cook because of the building and the style. I think it is very important that it remains classical but also that it remains relevant for today’s modern diner. But I have got very good people and I have had very good people for a long time. I haven’t got the answer but I have always known that the cooking was good enough so the only thing I can take from it was consistency has got better.”
John has received many awards and accolades. He was the first British chef to be awarded a CMA for services to French cuisine by the French Government. In 2008 he was awarded an MBE for services to hospitality and is a Master of Culinary Arts.
John is a passionate educator, passing on his skills to the next generation. He has been chairman of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts for 13 years. John has been a great advocate of Kings Fine Food, using King’s Oscietra in one of his signature dishes and Amedei chocolate in his desserts. He was a longstanding colleague and friend of John King and has been a great support to Laura.
Celebrating on Derby Day at the RAC Club L to R Sergio Rebecchi, Laura King, John Williams, Brian Turner, Michel Roux Jr and Phil Corrick
Laura commented: “John is an absolute star and being recognised by The Michelin Guide was a long time coming. The Ritz continues to be one of my all time favourite restaurants. John’s food never disappoints.”