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Dirk Wheelan

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  1. Perhaps that's one of the better, or at least more interesting, things about message boards. I don''t mean that as a personal comment. The meaning of many posts is completely lost on the rest of us from time to time. Ambiguity, doubt and the abstract concept are all food for thought and sometimes thinking is its own reward. Speaking of ad hominem posts, my pet peeve is the post that mocks another member's attempt to communicate on the boards. I'm speaking of the comment that goes well beyond sarcasm as it applies to comments made in the post to which the taunt replies. I think you know it when you see it and examples need not be posted by me, or others following in the thread. Such attention to one party would be unfair and unreasonable as well as take this thread away from its useful discussion on the subject of anonymity, etiquette and honorable posting in the forums. The mocking tone is rare here, and that's one of the Society's blessings and rewards, but it's not unknown. When it's made by an anonymous poster, it reinforces the impression that anonymity is being used to screen behavior, and perhaps opinions, that would embarrass the poster in public. Then again, as I've seen it here, but more often on other sites, with real names attached, we should understand that some people have no shame. Few of us manage to always earn the respect of those with whom we disagree in the forums, or even those watching a debate from the sidelines, but I think that's a more reasonable goal than simply winning the argument. It's quite possibly a harder goal to attain at times. Previewing my post before I hit "add reply," I see that Jonathan added that "condescending remarks" are on the decline here. I agree and for that reason they stand out more. The general tone of the forums makes such posts all the more noticeable, and I trust offensive to the membership. ← Is this directed at me?
  2. This meaning of this entire post, including the pun, is completely lost on me.
  3. Your radical relativism doesn't sit well with your job or with a food board. I would have thought the existence of critics, guides, discussion forums and so on was precisely because the participants believe that one can argue about aesthetics to a certain extent. Of course, ad hominem argument is not desirable, but to doubt someone's testimony on the basis of his having a history of lying does not mean you are hurling insults, but that you have reasonable grounds for doubting his claim. The same goes for ulterior motives, and vested interest. What is relevant may also be ugly.
  4. Since you ask, I think that MG responds to a straw man. The implication that every chef was doing everything wrong previous to Heston's green bean conversion is unproven, and to anyone who ate out pre-2000, clearly untrue. Consequently, I find the claim that practitioners of MG somehow monopolize 'perfection' irritating. Indeed, the closest Heston can get to perfection is the precise realization of a dish of his own conception. In other words, snail porridge is perfect when it conforms exactly to what Heston intended when he conceived the dish. I think the fallacy is clear in this example, that Heston is setting himself up as the arbiter of perfection. Pity the 'friend' who invited Heston to Dinner. On the other hand, I suspect the show might be quite interesting despite the MG nonsense.
  5. I would have thought that the reason has something to do with very few Londoners being interested in good food. They seem to prefer celebrity puff, and a 'designed' eating space. The fact that decently run French restaurants have a hard time surviving in London speaks volumes about the near total inability of London's dining classes to critically evaluate the food they eat beyond how fashionable it is.
  6. I said nothing of the sort. ← It's true, you didn't. I just inferred it from your modeling of the magazine trade. Nevertheless, even though you didn't say it, I'm sure you wouldn't deny the truth of it. No doubt RM was looking for a formula that would ensure satisfactory circulation figures, but the point is that there were no figures for RM until it was launched and hence nothing pre-launch could have been based on this figure. This means that at some stage in its development someone sat down and decided what the magazine should be, and making 'good' decisions, such as Conor suggests, and hitting circulation targets are not necessarily mutually exclusive. I do, however, agree that RM has no 'responsibility' as such, but in order to survive it must maintain some credibility, and part of that credibility comes with serving its readership responsibly.
  7. The problem is, according to Jay, that this is not as 'viable' as the latest tomfoolery of Gordon, Jamie and Heston. Sad.
  8. I'm glad you're so sure of what a magazine is supposed to be. Still, when the publishers launched Restaurant Magazine they took certain editorial decisions that were not based on circulation figures, but on ideas of what their magazine should be like. Just because their concept found a readership doesn't mean that their formula must remain immutable for all time if ways to improve are encountered. Anyway, I don't think that RM would lose anything by building up the role of F.O.H., if anything, they stand to gain readers. My own opinion is that RM could be much more influential if they so desired, by concentrating on new talent, and not dedicating so much space to celebrities who don't actually cook anything; a bit more king-making and a bit less king-fellating. The latter being best left to the nationals who do it so much better.
  9. Not content with being the best chef in the world Heston Blumenthal will soon be returning to our screens after his breathtaking debut in 'Full on Food'. 'Perfection' is a eight parter to be aired on BBC2, in which the humble genius will show viewers how to create 'perfect' Spag Bol, Risotto, Roast Beef etc. The series will be lavishly complemented by a shiny book published by Bloomsbury and also called 'Perfection'. Commentators are also hoping that Blumenthal, who has cornered the market in 'perfect', will be able to lecture philosophers on his understanding of the term, as its meaning has been keeping them awake for centuries.
  10. Being read the Grimble stories was a highlight of my otherwise horrific prep school education. I also worked with Emma, who is lovely.
  11. I believe earlier I posted that the book is creatively harmful in a calculated manner. I think that qualifies. ← Before you proceed further with slkinsey's question, it would be prudent to establish what you both mean by 'liar'. In a general sense, 'to lie' is to knowingly deceive for personal gain. Whatever the revelations about Psaltis, it is one thing to correctly identify lacunae or errata in his book, and quite another to demonstrate that their absence or presence, respectively, have been motivated by personal gain.
  12. He's right about Nico, et al, although customers shouldn't take the piss either. I'm not sure what his point is about supplements though. Presumably, he's talking about prix fixe menus, in which case it does seem a little contradictory to have a fixed price if several of the dishes available exceed that price. The effect of this, I suppose, is that the supplemented items are also the most attractive, and customers end up choosing them and spending more money than they'd originally been led to believe. Pretty annoying practice. As regards seasonality, most chefs lack the repertoire these days to deal with seasonal stuff, including at the top end. It's easier to warble on about the global market than to actually change your menu regularly, especially if you're busy filming or consulting with your ghost writer (btw, this is not aimed a Shaun Hill, who's earned the right to use asparagus whenever he damn well pleases). He's right about waiting staff too. They just get worse and worse. Perhaps it's the lack of recognition, at least relative to chefs. I mean, their job is fundamental to the whole dining experience, but can anyone name any celebrity waiters?
  13. Although I'm not the Fat Duck's biggest fan, I would ask, is it fair to base a review on this particular experience? Presumably, the blackout wasn't an orchestrated part of Heston's mission to 'challenge our preconceptions' about three star meals. Or was it?
  14. or David vs Goliath But really, the battle may be of our making, not his. ← Indeed. What's all the fuss about? After all it's only a book, and as everyone here now knows autobiography is just another branch of fiction, so it's a novel really. No one was actually supposed to believe anything.
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