Sóller-based Piers Dawson is the chef behind Charlie’s Kitchen pop-up dining events. Piers, his charming wife Holly, and infant Charlie (the inspiration for the pop-up’s name) moved from London to Mallorca in 2015. Piers had travelled the world, cooking for everyone from presidents to prime ministers to pop stars, in his twelve years with the London-based catering company Alison Price.
Charlie’s arrival was a catalyst for change: the couple wanted to spend as much time as possible with their little boy. They moved to Mallorca and based themselves in Sóller, where Piers’s mother lives, to begin new cooking adventures on the island.
Since then, Piers has established himself here as a private chef, but he’s still in demand for occasional international work. Over the last winter he toured Asia for 12 days, cooking for an “amazingly talented young American singer/songwriter”. Piers (using discretion where clients are concerned) wouldn’t reveal the singer’s name, but the tour took in seven cities, including Taipei, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, and Singapore.
Another Charlie’s Kitchen
Even if hiring a private chef is the stuff of dreams (it is for me), it’s possible to enjoy Piers’s innovative cuisine at one of his Charlie’s Kitchen pop-up dinners. Until now, they’ve been held during the quieter winter months, but Piers told me recently that they may be monthly this year.
The latest Charlie’s Kitchen event was the fourth I’d attended. That’s how much I enjoy these dinners in the Sóller valley – to which it takes us just over an hour to drive from home. Piers’s amazing food, Holly’s warm hospitality, and the convivial nature of these intimate dinners make the journey worthwhile.
Our latest Charlie’s Kitchen menu
And this is what they looked like:
Piers came to the dining table as each dish arrived, explaining the thought process that went into it and revealing the culinary brilliance of this amiable chef.
Alternatives to single-use plastics
Two dishes, in particular, sparked a lot of interest: BLT – a crispy baked ham wafer with rocket purée, basil, and olive oil powder, perched on top of a small bottle of tomato-essence consommé flavoured with lots of basil. We drank the latter through a drinking straw made from apple pomace (the pulp left behind after the fruit has been juiced). After we’d finished the consommé, we could eat the straw too!
The next dish was entitled Soller Garden: an edible flowerpot containing baba ganoush (BBQ’d aubergine with parsley, lemon zest, tahini, and roasted garlic), and a soil made from Piers’s own beetroot sourdough: “I dried black olives and blitzed them with olive oil, then sautéed the sourdough crumbs and poured black olive oil slowly through it.” As the bread crisped, it took on the oil’s colour. Piers planted the ‘soil’ with a sesame-seed sourdough wafer, heritage carrots, cornichons, a tiny olive, teardrop pepper, and fresh asparagus. Genius.
Piers told us he had sourced the edible flowerpot and straws as alternatives to single-use plastics. If you want to find out more about these edible and other solutions, check out The Three Straws – based in Port de Sóller.
This latest Charlie’s Kitchen was yet another memorable evening. We look forward to the next one!
Find out more about Piers Dawson on his website.
You can hear Piers Dawson in conversation with me on ‘Table Talk’ on Mallorca Sunshine Radio – edition 49 – here.
Jan Edwards ©2019