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Tim Hayward

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  1. I've been every day since it reopened - but then I work here. :-) Fitzbillies went bankrupt earlier this year after a long decline so my wife and I moved here from London, renovated and reopened in August. In spite of the usual ill-informed tosh on Tripadviser, the classic Chelsea Bun, for which the cakeshop is famous, remains exactly as it was - we rehired several of the old staff including the Head Baker, Gill, who's been here for 40 yrs. Most people remember the old place as dark, grubby and with unpleasantly rude staff so we've brightened things up, increased the size of the dining area an
  2. I think you're right to be dubious, Paul. Researching the Guardian piece it became evident fairly early on that a) there was no real 'Ur-haggis' to refer to and b) all manner of utter bollocks is talked by those in the meat production chain when asked about anything they don't immediately have in stock. Haggis style preparation of the offal - and by that I mean chopping the bits up, shoving them into any conveniently bag shaped bit and boiling - may even predate pottery cooking vessels. It seems one of the most logical preparations at the location of the kill requiring only fire, knife and wat
  3. Thanks all. It will be available on subscription internationally. At the moment, the engine we're using only enables us to price in UK£ but we're working on it. Postage to the US is, sadly, rather expensive. And yes please. The more submissions the better.
  4. After several years of whinging drunkenly about it we've finally got round to launching a food magazine. Fire & Knives will be a quarterly, subscription only, print mag that features full-length essays and photo stories. We're aiming to fill what we feel is a need amongst food lovers for more in-depth material that is perhaps covered in the mainstream food press. We want to run stories from established writers that might not get an airing elsewhere, to introduce new food writers and to publish stuff on food subjects from experts in other fields. We're not designed to make a profit... all
  5. You're being ironic, right? ← Of course not. Restaurant PR's are vital. How would we know where to go, and what to eat without them? How would I know which were the new openings worth visiting? How would all these bloggers be able to sample lots of restaurants without the largesse of the PR's? Actually the last point does have a serious undertone. Lots of great bloggers retain an independent spirit and write about their personal food journey. But have the PR people now hooked into the blog world? Maybe I didn't notice it before but it is becoming increasingly prevelant. Two examples: I
  6. I really hope this isn't going to shake the foundation of your belief system, Hearno but some papers have been known to make stuff up for a better story.
  7. While it shouldn't have any bearing, I still think that it probably will. So much of this list is about buzz. What makes the list somewhat plausible is that many, maybe even most of the restaurants that make it are deserving and arguably belong on the list. What makes the list something of a travesty is the poor execution when it comes to rating restaurants in Asia and japan. C'mon, Bukhara in Delhi is probably not even the best restaurant in Delhi let alone Asia. Granted it fell out of the top 50 last year. I suspect that you are right about the Scandinavians. I think that you will see some s
  8. I think that's the nut of the problem right there. I've got a great local, with a chef I love, turning out great food. I go all the time and support what he's doing because it's good for him and good for me. By the sound of your comments, you're choosing a Ramsay gastropub because you believe that Ramsay should be out the back there, injecting a bit of his individuality. But the economics make that impossible. If you want a personal injection from Big Gordo, you've got to stump up for RHR. If you want a touch of Scrotum Chops' magic at diffusion prices you go to the gastropubs where the chefs
  9. Ramsay's brand relationship with the gastropubs is fairly nuanced. There's very little Ramsay branding so it's possible to keep prices down and expectations accordingly controlled, yet they obviously never miss the opportunity to leverage the Ramsay name wherever possible. This is sharp but in no way illegal misrepresentation I would argue that anyone going into a gastropub and paying gastropub prices will get gastropub food. Anyone expecting any of the Ramsay magic under those conditions is party to a delusion. The way the brand is being run at the moment people are being drawn in by the Rams
  10. C'mon. Any multi-location catering operation that isn't consolidating some of its prep work across sites for economies of scale isn't thinking smart. If Ramsay's having his pies assembled by monkeys in a cheap industrial unit rather than having more expensive staff waste time doing it, he's being smart. The costly boys manning the ranges at the restaurants don't need to clock hours forming fishpatties. This is a huge non-story. What we should be asking is why a national newspaper with massive experience of bringing down celebs is bothering to cover something so unimportant so comprehensively -
  11. Up to a point Lord Copper. If this is to be believed they're going to be replacing the chef and renaming the joint within a month. How does Ramses consult on that? Unless, I suppose, it goes tits up and he gets to go back and do a Restaurant Nightmares on it.
  12. Thanks for the link Margaret. I think it's real issue and one that the online food community is ideally placed to discuss when the rest of the traditional media are not. Be glad to hear what anyone else thinks of this.
  13. The letter was written by a particularly talented creative called Oli Beale at ad agency WCRS. The company doesn't represent Virgin - their client list is a matter of public record... which pretty much stands to reason when you consider that nobody would be stupid enough to try to publicise an airline by saying that their food was rubbish. ...and no... before you say it, all publicity isn't good publicity - as any marketing pro will tell you. The agency doesn't represent any of Virgin's competitors either. What's really fascinating about this story is how fast a really funny bit of writing has
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