Asian Adventures

As I touchdown in South Korea for the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics, my Sous-Chef and all round partner-in-crime Luis Martinez is also embarking on his own culinary travels.

Leaving behind the legendary Palma meat institution and his family bar La Cuadradel Del Maño Luis is off on his own food adventure that will take him to the Indian heart of Thailand. 

Luis will shortly begin a three-month stage at Gaggan, the famed restaurant in Bangkok led by chef Gaggan Anand, who trained at El Bulli and made foodie headlines with his 25-course emoji tasting menu.

Gaggan is currently ranked 7th in the world according to the 50 Best Restaurants Award and number one best restaurant in Asia for three straight years in a row (2014-2017).

We wish Luis all the best in his food adventures, and look forward to our Asian experiences joining forces back in the Piers Dawson Private Chef kitchens upon his return.  

Buen viaje Luis! 

 Piers Dawson Sous Chef, Luis Martinez

Piers Dawson Sous Chef, Luis Martinez


A Chef's Day Off: Playing with Mountains

 All Photos courtesy of  Duncan Kendall Photography

All Photos courtesy of Duncan Kendall Photography

Living in the Sóller Valley, surrounded by the breathtaking Sierra de Tramuntana, I take any opportunity I can to look up and stare at the enormity of the mountains bearing over me.

I have thought many times how much I would love to climb those rugged peaks and be up there looking down, just to see things from a different perspective. 

After a few drink with the boys one night, Mike McDowall, the man behind Boat Radio, confessed that he was also in awe of the mountains. And as the night went on, we developed a motley crew with no climbing experience, ready to tackle trail-less paths along the ridges of the Tramuntana, towards the highest peak in the Balearics. 

Somewhat expectedly, as the post drinks haze cleared a few days later, our 10-man expedition was down to a core team of three, comprising of photographer Duncan Kendall, Mike, and myself.


On the morning in question we packed our bags with what we believed we would need for survival, and set off.  Armed with a map with a few sketchy markings, a few words of encouragement, and no compass, we were as ready as we would ever be. We were going to be climbing higher than any mountain in England or Wales, starting at sea level and ascending straight up - not that this was acknowledged until it was too late to turn back.

Following the initial realisation that we would also be without any marked paths for the duration, and that the strategy was going to be to simply 'head ín the right direction',  we then started to take in the enormity of what we were actually doing.  Accompanying us for most of the way were goats and sheep, but the one thing we didn’t see was another human being. Not one, until the last 45 minutes of our seven-and-a-half-hour hike.


It goes without saying that the vistas from 1,067 meters above sea level are mind-blowing. The distances we were trying to comprehend between mountain, land and sea were startling. But in addition to this, much closer to my feet, I was delighted to discover endless morels and a huge variety of setas (wild mushrooms), edible flowers and herbs all along our route.  

At the end of the day I returned to the valley of Soller a little tired, a little broken, but 100 pounds lighter. It's incredible the pressure that builds up on a Chef's shoulders on a daily basis, but it's equally incredible how quickly this can be shed with a large dose of fresh air, a steep climb, and a view of the world that brings everything that we do sharply back into perspective.

This in itself is a huge achievement -  not just for a chef, but for anyone with a day off.

And boy did I pay for it over the next few days!


Harvesting liquid gold in the Sóller Valley


As winter arrives in Mallorca and the tourists slowly disappear; just as everything seems to settle into a sense of calm, an exciting buzz begins as the olive harvest season awakens.

Across the island, and particularly in the Tramuntana mountains, thousands of olive trees, laden full, are ready to be picked, pressed and transformed into beautiful olive oil.

In December we assisted in the annual harvest at Casandra, a family owned estate in Sa Figuera, high up in the mountains above the Port de Sóller. Compared to a very small and disappointing 2016 harvest, 2017 was a great year for the family and a wonderful pay off for the huge amount of work they had put into the land over the year.


With over 500 olive trees on the property, the family also had their work cut out collecting and pressing the olives and it was wonderful to see family and friends come together to make the whole thing happen - as has been the custom for generations of families across the island. It goes without saying what an honour it was to then be asked to load the first bucket of olives into the press for the 2017 harvest.


To be able to take home my own hand picked and pressed Sóller oil at the end of the day was a true tick on a chef’s bucket list.

Now it's all about putting it to good use for the rest of the year!


Pushing Boundaries

That probably best sums up our year at Piers Dawson Private Chef! Not to expand and get bigger, but to develop and create something truly unique for every client, every time. Endlessly exciting, always challenging and a non stop adventure - from our kitchens in Soller to the incredible clients we have cooked for in Mallorca and all over the world.

We were fortunate to have so many clients this year who were eager to be surprised, brave enough to trust in what we do, and to allow passion and creativity to lead the way.

We would like to thank everyone who we have cooked for: the intimate weddings, bespoke tasting menus, celebratory dinners, and all those attending our Charlie's Kitchen events - because we couldn’t have done it without you. 

We also want to thank some of the fantastic suppliers with whom we are fortunate to work with. In particular:

Our local Sóller butcher:

La Luna, for our local Mallorcan sobrasada and cured meats:

Our local Sóller fishmonger:

Pere and all the team at Mallorca Dream Homes:

Shirley and all the team at Soller Web:

Two of our favourite wine makers: and  Bodega Miquel Gelabert

And for all our other wine.... a big thank you to Juan:

Exclusive Events:

Can Det Olive Oil from Sóller and  Maria and Chris for letting us make our own Ca’Sandra olive oil and serve it throughout the year!




Sourdough: a passion, a journey, an addiction...

From the greatest happiness, to the greatest frustration. Every time I learn a little more, I feel a little more out of my depth. But I guess that is where the challenge lies.

Naturally leavened bread is a joy to work with, and something that I will always try to understand. But I get the feeling it will always be one step ahead of me. 

Something so simple - flour, water and salt  - can be so complex. It's not just about a recipe. And it's not just about an active starter. The more you learn, the more detailed it becomes: leaven, hydration, dough autolyzation; bench rest and folding techniques; pre-shape, final shape and creating tension; how long to  retard the loaf in the fridge? Do you bake straight from the fridge or bring to room temperature? Scoring techniques. And then the oven - a whole other chapter: stone or Dutch? How much hydration? And do you bring the temperature down near the end of the bake? 

Baking is something I never thought I'd do, but it has become such a part of mine and my family's life, with all the joy of experimenting and including all the frustrations. There is nothing like the smell of sourdough in the house, nothing like peeking in the oven and seeing the perfect 'ear' or 'oven spring ' to put a smile on your face. And when you slice into your crusty, dark, crunchy loaf, exposing the super soft, slightly sour bread, with huge holes, that butter will fall straight through - it makes all the time and effort worth it!

In the end, it is just bread. But then again, maybe your next loaf will be your best yet...

And there lies the addiction.

Naturally leavened, and homemade.

 White and Rye Sourdough, March 1st 2017

White and Rye Sourdough, March 1st 2017


And click here for more images from my bread journey to date!

It's not all about the almonds on the table - almond blossom anyone?

Our season of almond blossom is almost at an end. As the captivating white, pink and blue blanket of blossom fades away across the island, the spring shoots of green are already appearing.

And with almond harvest at the end of the Summer thoughts will soon be turning to this year's production of one of the island's major crops:  almond ice cream, almond milk, almond oil, almond granola... the possibilities for a Chef in Mallorca are endless!

But before then, I want to capture the delicate beauty of the blossom itself and preserve it for as long as I can. I've already experimented with orange blossom water,  lemon blossom water and rose blossom water - maybe almond blossom water should be next?  

Or this Almond Blossom Liqueur by Green Prophet looks good too...


The Salt Flats of Es Trenc

Isan't it incredible what this island has to offer?

On a family adventure across the island this week, under the bluest of skies and a warm February sun, we stumbled across mountains of salt just a few miles back from the most southerly tip of the island. 


At the salt flats of Es Trenc, the salt is principally harvested at the end of the summer months for sale and consumption after the traditional evaporation, collection and drying process,


But even in February there are still mountains of salt in abundance and it is well worth the adventure down south whatever time of year, even if just to visit the delightful Flor de Sal d'Es Trenc shop and have a coffee in their sunny courtyard.


Charlie's Kitchen Winter Warmer

The full menu from our winter Pop Up. Perfectly suited to a dark, stormy night warmed up by log fires and candlelight in a stunning location in the mountains of Soller. January's menu focused on hearty winter comforts, with dishes full of warmth and flavour... 

To see more of our seasonal Pop Up menus from Autumn through to Spring go to: 

And for more about what we do year round: