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retirement_beckons

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  1. Wash the dishes ? What's all that about ? Surely, you just re-use the plate at successive meals, until the dried on leftovers form such big mounds that you then SCRAPE the plates clean. Ah, such memories of Quentin Crisp. Mind you, in our household, all used crockery, cutlery and pans are taken to the scullery by the third footman and one of the maids, sandblasted with a mixture of hydrochloric acid and limestone chippings, then the local fire brigade hose them all down (including the servants) using ultra-high pressure hoses, and finally the now clean crocks are thrown into the bin and at the next meal we open a box of fresh plates direct from the Wedgwood factory. Seriously though, I've known clean and dirty people on several continents. All sorts of nice folks have some habits which others might consider unhygienic. But these are usually personal idiosyncracies, rather than national characteristics. I don't consider my fellow countrymen (the English) to be dirty or unclean - but then, I'm biased.
  2. Amazing (to me) that someone could say ""This is the kind of wacky stuff that appeals to chefs and industry professionals in the same way that fashionistas are charmed by avant garde, but unwearable hats" without arriving at one fundamental conclusion. Namely, that however outlandish a couture collection may look on the catwalk, it will be influencing high street fashion somewhere down the line. The extreme militaria of one collection may be unwearable in itself (for most of us, anyway), but when Top Shop is full of cammo print t-shirts, skirts and handbags 4 months later, where do you think their inspiration came from ? Likewise, some chefs may be doing things which the mainstream finds odd today - but their real influence is in what we will be able to eat in restaurants several years into the future. Think back to the days before nouvelle cuisine, to what London restaurants were about, what the dining experience consisted of - elaboration, heavy sauces, Edwardian tradition. You may not have fully "got" what nouvelle cuisine was about, but you might accept that is has fundamentally influenced what we can eat in London restaurants today. This is the importance of Heston's style of molecular cuisine. Not what we all eat in restaurants today, but in influencing the presentations and flavours we will find commonplace in a few years time. Not in repetition of his work, but in influence and in opening up the imagination of tomorrow's chefs.
  3. Clarissa Dickson Wright went bankrupt for the third time a few weeks ago.
  4. Since Northcote Road (a few minutes walk from Clapham Junction station, if anyone is wondering) has been mentioned, can I also give a totally gratuitous plug to the Lighthouse Bakery and the two hardworking women who own it. Their every-day list of breads is augmented by a couple of "specials" each day (I particularly like their New York Rye with caraway seeds) and a range of scones, cakes, biscuits and viennoiserie, and is well worth trying out.
  5. Surely, the real problem is that the big supermarket chains in the UK have achieved their dominance by de-skilling a lot of food retailing jobs. They set out to bankrupt the small chain or independent butcher, baker and fishmonger by creating a pre-packed, pre-portioned offer which didn't require the customer to make many judgements of their own. Also, supermarket jobs have a dead-end reputation, no sense of pride or craft, and the training provided is hardly going to appeal to someone with a profound interest in a particular foodie niche. So when their latest decision - to segment the market and appeal to wealthier customers at certain stores - hits the high street, where will they recruit their expert butchers and fromagiers (is that the word ?) from ? There is no local Dewhursts, employing the same six people for a lifetime career, during which they grow to understand the finer points of butchery. There is no local Macfisheries, and in many shopping streets no independent traders whatsoever. There are no local experts to be recruited. Therefore, they'll employ the same people who they'd employ at a superstore or hypermarket. The guy stacking cabbages will be stacking baked beans later - they won't employ someone who knows what is fresh or in season, its irrelevant to their food offer anyway. The woman on the wet fish stall is probably more concerned about being asked to work hours which don't meet her childcare needs, and who can blame her. Did anyone really think this latest retail fad would lead to supermarkets employing specialist staff ? Look at a typical in-store bakery. Half the stock probably arrives frozen, to be baked off. The ovens used are industry standard. Yet still everything seems either underbaked or so overbaked it feels like a housebrick. Because even in this little corner of the store, the supermarkets won't employ anyone with any bakery experience, who could use their judgement about when to take loaves out of the oven, and because the grim reality of supermarket work would repel anyone who hoped for decent training and career progression. If they haven't got bakery right after all these years, they won't even understand the notion of employing enthusiastic staff in other departments.
  6. Gosh, it makes us look a bit unwelcoming, no recommendations after so many days. Senor hamachi, you will find a lot of info on restaurants which (some) people like by going through the threads and picking out the ones which are about particular restaurants. I have really rather down-market tastes, which a lot of people on here might be scathing about, but I'll give you one or two places which I like. If you fancy an excursion, get the Tube down to Tooting Broadway, where you will find some really good Indian restaurants. Head south, and after a 5-10 minute walk, you'll find the Sree Krishna, a very good South Indian restaurant (194 Tooting High St, SW17, 020 8672 6903). Head north and you'll find the Kastoori, a vegetarian Indian restaurant (188 Upper Tooting Road, SW17, 020 8767 7027). Near the tube is the Jaffna House, which has some Sri Lankan specialities. In central London, I've been eating some very good Chinese food at the Dragon Inn, in the middle of Gerrard Street. I'm sure a lot of people would say that you'll get better Chinese food elsewhere, but I like it. I was very keen on Locanda Locatelli (8 Seymour Street, W1, 020 7935 9088) when it opened, but is it my imagination or has it become ever more expensive ? Fine if you want to spot celebrities, as long as your digestion isn't ruined by Madonna and Stella McCartney lunching at the next table. If you fancy some really traditional fish & chips, I'd recommend the North Sea, 7-8 Leigh Street, WC1, 020 7387 5892 - you can either book a little table, or have it wrapped up to take away. Very simple and not messed about with, and I've always found their fish to be very fresh. Going back to people watching, rather than the food alone, don't forget the 5th Floor at Harvey Nichols. Oh well, there's 7 places which betray my proletarian tastes, but which I'd take my friends to.
  7. Incidentally, a practice which was recommended to me years ago was to "split" the turkey, as the time it takes to cook through the solid breast meat is far longer than it takes to cook the legs, which also have bones running through them which conduct heat.So if you cut the "crown" off and roast it for the first couple of hours on its own (subject to total weight), then put the "bottom half" in to cook as well, you end up with all parts of ther bird succulent, rather than the leg meat being overcooked.
  8. Oh dear, I'll probably be drummed out of the egullet Brownies for suggesting this, but here goes....... I was in my nearest Sainsbury's SavaCentre yesterday and I noticed that they had frozen free range Bronze turkeys. Part of their "Taste the Difference" range. I checked on www.sainsburystoyou.com, which lists them as 5.6kg to 6kg, with a unit price of £28.94. It may not be exactly what you have in mind, as its frozen, but it would be a lot cheaper than anything else that's been suggested, and they'll even deliver (if you go throught the registration process on the website). (I've just looked at the Kelly Turkeys site and a 6kg bird would be £60.30 including delivery)
  9. Well, Basildog, I'd like to think that at one time, hypocrisy of that sort (saying how dreadful automated phone answering systems are, when he's got one at his own flagship restaurant) would have damaged someone's credibility and led to a period of quiet reflection and the avoidance of further exposure to the public. But not any more - it's just an example of the debauched state of British telly, where people will grab an appearance fee in return for saying whatever's held up in front of them on idiot boards. The telly people don't care about honesty or internal consistency - they believe we are mindless idiots. They hold us in contempt, and will continue to spoonfeed us with their processed, flavourless claptrap, because we don't protest loudly about it and perhaps because even if we did, the bulletin boards of the BBC website won't allow such criticisms to remain in the public view. They whitewash any protest.
  10. Truth is, practically all the chefs on the telly make me feel vaguely ill. But after tonight, I realise what it is I can't bear about Rick Stein. I know he's probably doing a good job, publicising small producers of interesting foods. I know the show includes some lovely countryside. I know his dog is cute. But I can't stand the grinning and gurning, the tittering and sniggering, the constant, repetitious giggling and feeble laugh. He does it all through the programme, for no good reason. Whatever he says, its accompanied by a weedy grin and an almost breathless cackle. Its like being (over) exposed to an adolescent boychild. One day, this man may just chortle himself to death.
  11. girlcook, I would strongly advise you against taking up any paid employment in the UK which is not covered by a work permit. When you say that you are looking for work "without papers" for which you will be paid, you really mean that you may be planning to break UK law - that you will falsely make a declaration on arrival in the UK that you will not be undertaking any paid employment, when you fully intend to do so. When you ask others on egullet to suggest possible employers, you are asking them to join with you in this. Should anyone feel that I am being unkind in pointing this out, I would add that if you work in the illegal economy, you are thieving from the state. You won't be paying tax or national insurance on anything you earn - why should a "legit" employee suffer these deductions when you don't plan to ? Also, any restaurant which has "slush funds" from which to pay you cash in hand almost certainly only has that cash because it is itself under-declaring its takings, thus also stealing from the wider public. If you injure yourself when working illegally, will you expect a UK hospital, which you are failing to support by paying taxes, to treat you ? Or will you sit and quietly bleed, without treatment, because you weren't prepared to contribute ? I would add that it may be cheaper for a restaurant to employ "illegals", and not pay tax or NI on their wages - but what that really means is that someone with "legal" status is being denied that job. Why don't you have a look at http://www.workpermit.com/uk/short_term_wo...ntroduction.htm which is a government site which gives details of the 12-month work permit scheme specifically for the Hospitality sector, aimed at people aged 18-30 ? It seems unlikely that you will have the UK NVQ level 2 qualification, so as a chef, this may be a way for you to work legitimately.
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