I have long admired the River Café from a distance and via the books of Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers. They have a wonderfully clear vision of how to prepare and serve food at its best, and have certainly revolutionized many kitchens in the UK and around the world. There seems hardly to be a self-respecting chef in England who has not worked there at some time in their career.
I had a surprise birthday lunch there recently, and was absolutely delighted when Ruth Rogers came to the table and declared Rococo to be her favourite shop. She then took me to meet Rose Gray and we talked chocolate for some time. Which chocolate did I use? What do they use? We all tasted some pretty raw chocolate that they had been given, and were experimenting with, from a plantation in Venezuela. Even in its raw state, the quality of the cocoa beans shone through the chocolate.
I had been dying to taste their celebrated Chocolate Nemesis, and so we shared it for pudding. At the end of the meal Ruth and Rose asked me what I thought of the pudding. Here I was, in front of these two gurus of modern Italian food, being asked my opinion of one of their most famous creations. I said it was really delicious, extremely rich and filling (we were unable to finish it), the texture sublime, but that I found it perhaps a little too sweet and buttery. Finally I asked if, with their blessing, I could tweak the recipe and put it into my book. I have changed the method of assembling the ingredients, but it seemed to produce the right texture, so here it is.