Food & Drink

Journal Dining

Michelin trained chef Nathan Rackham talks pop-ups, private dining, events and shares one of his recipes

@journal_dining       @JournalDining

Journal Dining started as a new venture back in June of 2021 by Nathan Rackham, but was over four years in the planning. The business is split into three sections. Private Dining: which is one of their specialities, creating unique, bespoke experiences in your own home or venue of your choosing; Pop ups: in which the team goes into other venues and do a takeover evening; Events catering: for larger parties, intimate weddings and corporates.

“The decision to finally open Journal Dining came about noticing how all of my friends in the industry were leaving to do other jobs outside of hospitality. The years of being under paid and mistreated had finally reared its head. I decided to do something about it and open Journal Dining and take it as far as I can while maintaining the principles of being ethical and looking after the staff, producers and customers at all times.” Nathan said. “The concept came about because every chef carries a journal of recipes, notes and experiences, much like chapters. Over time you get a collection of these books in which you look back on and develop new ideas from your past.”

Nathan’s menus are divided into chapters designed to help take you on your journey through your meal… much like reading a book, or notes in a journal. It is listed as ingredients to give the diner enough knowledge of what they are eating without telling them how he is going to do it. The surprise element.

“I wanted to bring my experiences and knowledge into a new venture using Journal Dining, in which the guest gets to experience a journey, not just a meal. The food itself is fine dining without all the stiffness. We are using the finest techniques to emphasise the ingredient rather than mess with it. The diners should have an enjoyable and relaxing experience.” Nathan continued.

“Dining for me must be much more than just eating a meal – it has to be personal, it has to be exciting. It is our job to throw out the rule book and give the diners the best experience we can give them at any given point. Journal Dining always sources the finest local seasonal ingredients. We are currently using suppliers such as Charlie’s leaves; I spend a large proportion of time with Charlie at the farm looking at how he develops his products and what he has coming up. Fen Farm Dairy is another one of our favourites with exceptional cheeses and raw dairy products. They too try to be as eco-friendly as they can.”

Part of the ethos behind Journal Dining is that Nathan and the team look at global climate problems with how we as an economy consume food, whilst bringing a more responsible dining to the table. Whether it be in the sourcing of the ingredient, using less of a product that is bad for the environment or health, or just as simple as being as waste free as possible.

Keep an eye out on Journal Dining’s socials for their upcoming events @journal_dining (insta) @JournalDining (facebook) or enquire via email:

Ingredients: Serves 2/3

Equipment needed:

• Parisienne scoop

• Metal rings 3 inch and a 2 inch

• 2 x piping bags

• Vac-pac (optional)

For the crab

• 1 x medium dressed crab meat (separated brown and 70g white meat)

• ¼ lemon zested

• 1 small shallot very finely diced

For the crème fraiche

• 1 lemon zested

• 100g crème fraiche

• 50g jar caviar

For the pickled cucumber

• 1/3 large cucumber

• 10g martini

• 10g lemon juice

• 20g sugar

• 1g salt

• 35g rice wine vinegar

• 3g olive oil

For the cucumber consommé

• 2/3 cucumber, peeled

• 5g mirin

• 15g lemon juice

• 5g rice vinegar

• 20g ginger

Crab, pickled cucumber, caviar, martini, lemon and cucumber consommé

Buttery rich crab cut with a light zingy pickle, slight Asian influences in the consommé and a martini undertone, beautifully clean and crisp on the palate.


Crab: Take the white meat and mix with shallot and lemon zest. Season with salt to taste. The brown meat beat lightly and put in a piping bag for later.

Pickled Cucumber: In a small pan gently heat all the ingredients apart from cucumber, until the sugar has dissolved. Chill.

Parisienne scoop (a smaller version of a melon baller, if you don’t have one small cm dice is fine) the cucumber into small balls, compress in a vac bag with the liquor for 12 hours, alternatively if you don’t have a vac pac machine leave to soak in the liquor for 24 hours.

Cucumber Consommé: Before you make the consommé first you need the cucumber stripes. Peel long stripes and layer them overlapping, use a round cutter to achieve required shape. Now you can start the consommé. Blitz all the ingredients in a blender, strain through a j-cloth slowly. Adjust seasoning with salt and vinegar.

Crème fraiche: Mix the crème fraiche with lemon zest. Place in piping bag.

Dress the plate: Start with the ring cutter and place in the centre of the bowl. With the white crab meat cover the base of the ring.

Remove the ring and place the circle of cucumber on top of the white crab.

With a smaller ring on the centre of the cucumber circle, cover the base of the ring with caviar. Remove the ring around the circle of caviar, alternate pickled cucumber, crème fraiche piped in balls and brown crab meat. Finish with slices of radish or violas.

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