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Tim Hayward

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Everything posted by Tim Hayward

  1. Thanks. I'll try that. ← Has anyone tried one of those electric paint-stripping heat guns?
  2. "Comprehensively"? Surely she means "Better".
  3. Pucker? Pukka, innit? ← Pucker: Noun. Sl. Anus.
  4. They're always on the menu as 'Microgreens' and are truly Satan's Salad. My most overrated ingredients would be fresh porcini and dried chanterelles (at least the ones we get here). Most underrated would be Aji-no-moto - that's pure MSG to you - a harmless flavour enhancer and source of umami that even the most outre molecular cowboys seem too gutless to embrace.
  5. Agreed. Your inside knowledge of the movements of the great man is truly impressive
  6. Ramsey as motivator is an interesting issue. In terms of the restaurants and his successful management of them I think you underestimate the influence of GRH. No other sleb chef has that big an organisation behind him. If GR was, hypothetically, some sort of terrible liability with an out-of-control addiction, the GRH organisation would continue to handle both the man and the empire with brilliant efficiency. In terms of his personal ability to motivate we'll probably never know. Because GR chewing out hapless civilians makes such good TV we're never really allowed to see him successfully teaching some schlub how to cook or run his restaurant better. It's so much more entertaining if they never quite come up to his high standards. See above. I don't blame Gordo for this any more than I blame HB for looking like Magnus Pyke. I blame sloppy programme makers taking the most obvious route. Guess you're right there.
  7. I tried to make clear that this is not intentional on anyone's part. It's just the way they things pan out. Because HB has a less abrasive and more generous personal style, we are prepared to believe he's head of a team. Because his food is about precision and science rather than personal genius we are prepared to believe that it works without him. He's lucky it's panned out that way for him. Similarly, because GR's personal style is that of the lonely creative genius, irritated by the sub-standard humans surrounding him, we are led to believe that his presence is vital. His positively Paris Hilton public appearance schedule, therefore, can only make him look hypocritical. I'm increasingly feeling sorry for GR. He's obviously working hard but things are moving on around him. He's become typecast as some towering, Ayn Rand fantasy in whites and it's just starting to look so out of date. The CCTV story, mentioned upthread is, to my mind egregious spin control. It remains to be seen if the fabled kit will actually be installed but, even if it is, it's hard to imagine anyone would believe that it could make any difference. It is, however, evidence that Ramsey's people are trying to tackle the issue of his omnipresence before it harms the brand. Corinna, in answer to your question of where HB could take the brand next I think the obvious answer is to distance himself from MG and to open an other restaurant - one that enables him to astonish more regularly without the 300lb gorilla of the tasting menu. That lucrative franchise will run itself. In terms of pure publicity I think we're in for an interesting time. It's rapidly looking like "The Bully v. The Geek". This being Britain, nobody likes a bully and everybody loves a nerdy underdog.
  8. Actually, I've been thinking about this while wheeling m'trolley round Sainsbury's (Higher than usual nutter count at Camden today). I think it might be something to do with age. Ramsey was in at pretty much the beginning of the sleb chef thing. As far as audience and producers were concerned, the important thing was that he's, y'know, a chef. All white tunic, shouting and pot banging. When he began building his brand, it was all about making a star out of a sexy bloke who worked in a kitchen - and, I think that meant restaurant food. Latterly, in a more crowded market, he's taken to reiterating all this... "I'm a real chef not a jumped up cockney commis or a posh bird who writes about it". I'm shouty and I run restaurants. All of which just reinforces the image of a man who should be in his kitchen and ties him totally to high end restaurants and restaurant food. Later chef/personalities have had more flexibility. Though he's tried, GR hasn't been able to really get any traction championing anything but restaurant food and celebrity. His attempts to champion, local, regional, healthy, kids, real, traditional or cheaper food have all been a bit of a washout because, basically he's about big posh restaurants. It's been easier for HB, later to market, to take a different stance. What he's been able to do, counterintuitively, is position himself so he's about a more general look at food and eating that isn't necessarily centred in restaurants. I'm sorry if I sound like a marketing geek but it's unavoidable given my background. It's curse to view chefs as brands - though unfortunately, it's increasingly how they regard themselves. If, as is my natural tendency, I had to sum it up in a glib slogan it would be... GR, food for people obsessed with restaurants HB, restaurants for people obsessed with food
  9. I don't really understand that point Tim. Heston is The Fat Duck. Very few people beyond these forums would know the name of the restaurant's head chef, or even that the restaurant had a head chef that wasn't called Blumenthal. I would imagine any viewers of Perfection tempted to blow a couple of hundred quid at the restaurant after watching the programme would be mighily upset to discover that Heston wasn't actually going to cook their surreal supper for them. ← I know it's wierd. It surprised me too. But there are several things at work here. 1. Where things really astonished me it was the strength of the idea that was the key element 2. Execution was soprecise as to be slightly dehumanised Then you factor in the FOH team. They've worked, over a long time, with a menu which involves a far higher level of knowledge, involvement and performance than any other I've experienced. They are really, really good at it (though obviously they have great material to work with). I'm really starting to hate the theme park metaphor but it keeps coming back. When you go to Disneyland the staff are utterly efficient at delivering the experience. If you do anything that strays from the path you can feel yourself being subtly guided back to the prescribed track. The overwhelming feeling is of a benign but powerful force taking control. It's actually quite nice. These nice smiley people really want to make sure I enjoy myself. They are obviously very good, I place my trust in them. Leaving the FD I had the feeling that, after he'd done the initial work, it made no difference if HB was there or not. In fact I rather hoped he was off, somewhere else, having loads of fun mucking about in a lab so he could do it some more. Ramsay has so carefully constructed the image of the controlling genius/despot that, when I interact with an FOH person my overwhelming feeling is of pity for them. I am supposed to imagine they spend their lives being tonguelashed by the boss for incompetence. I am supposed to believe that nothing that GR hasn't personally passed would never meet his rigorous standards. This is what fascinates me most about chefs now - how they manage their public profiles. Ramsey's construct, though he could never have planned it, curses him to be at every passbar and permanently on our screens, simultaneously. It's an impossible position to hold and, like any public lie, it can't last. By coming across as a gifted, enthusiastic nerd, by generously appearing to be always learning from others, HB, equally inadvertently, is building a brand which will allow him flexibility. HB could launch a £500, do-it-at home, grown up chemistry set out of his tasting menu and it would sell. He could open any number of different restaurants and touch them with something special. If he can avoid being dragged down by MG, he can go on doing amazing things indefinitely. Any time people tasted something new they'd roll they're eyes and say 'that's pure Heston'. HB comes across as a searcher, discoverer, educator and enthusiast, a fundamentally likeable pattern and one which admits others. GR has no image but 'angry perfectionist'. He's made it so personal he can't ever escape it.
  10. On to the final 'main' course, the "Poached breast of Anjou pigeon pancetta". It's a complement to the complexity of HB's inventions that even when part of the dish carks spectacularly there is still an enormous amount of pleasure to be taken from the rest. Usually a failed portion of a well planned serving makes the whole thing turn to ashes in the mouth and it's perhaps part of the charm of HB's approach that he's encouraging a forensic analysis of every plate. In this case it worked to his advantage. I've never had pigeon poached before. It's by far my favourite way to eat other poultry so, however he's done it, this gets a big rush of happiness from me. Pistachios which seem to have been candied in a way that made me want to steal them from everyone else's plate were strewn around and cocoa and quatre epices appeared as flavouring dabs. All was good. By this point we were parsing dishes, riffing like 1980's Cult Studs students. "Hmm, he's quoting Maghrebi cuisine with the pistachios", "Oh yes, but I'm so digging the cocoa/cinnamon substitution". Along with the genuine chuckles of joy it was great to see a bunch of people throw aside their fears of Pseuds Corner and really discuss food. Christ, for a couple of seconds there we could almost have been French. I hope to God this is what HB intends and I love him for it. But the "pastilla of its leg" though a stunning attempt which fitted beautifully into what was now starting to feel like so much more than a plate of food, let us down with a crash. Inedibly stringy little drumsticks, that had to be gnawed then chiselled from the interdental cavities, could so easily have been left off the plate. There was a short pause then a couple of AGs. "Mrs Marshall's margaret cornet", a mini ice cream cone (accompanied by a short but informative essay on Mrs Marshall's life and work) and a "Pine sherbet fountain" wrapped in an authentic paper tube and sucked through a hollowed vanilla pod. It may be that, by this point, wine was clouding my judgment, but it seemed that in both cases the hilarity of the delivery distracted from any exceptional sensation. I confess that the "Mango and Douglas fir puree" , though it made me want to sing the Monty Python song about transvestite lumberjacks, otherwise left me unmoved. The "Nitro-scrambled egg and bacon ice cream (2006)" was presented by the nitro-waitress who wheeled out an authentic looking chafing dish and did a bit of garbled business about forgetting her matches. She cracked several eggs (which seem to have been miraculously pre-beaten) into a copper pan of liquid nitrogen and scrambled up another stunning savoury ice-cream. Served with pain perdu 'toast' it was a rousing finish. It didn't even matter that it was the third savoury ice cream in 13 courses. It was bloody great. A strange, unbilled AG comprising dried parsnip 'cornflakes' served in little boxes with a jug of parsnip milk produced an initial chuckle followed by a near universal "Eh"? The final coup was "Hot and cold tea (2005)" which again produced laughter, awe and admiration. Again, I'm not going to spoil it by telling you why. It was, by any standards a phenomenal meal. The few places it dropped below excellent were more than outweighed by some genuine foodie epiphanies. Will I go back? On balance no. For that kind of money and travel, it was right for new experiences to come thick and fast. The sensory economics of it wouldn't work on three a la carte courses. As a cook I learned a huge amount, both in specifics and in broader approach to flavours. I'm not sure what non-cooks take out of it. If I was cynical, I would say they are looking for a high-priced thrill, a piece of conspicuous consumption that adds to their self image as broadminded gastronomic adventurers - bungee-jumping for restaurant collectors. Some of the directions he's starting to explore are loaded with pitfalls. The 'sense memory' stuff is massively subjective and ultimately undermines his genius for flavouring. The whole area of 70's schoolyard treats get a big, cheap cheer from a certain age group but is irrelevant to everyone else. The day he comes out with anything that quotes 'Flying Saucers' or 'Spangles' HB may need to be humanely put down. Finally there's the fatal connection to doomed leviathan of Molecular Gastronomy. Everything good about the menu could have been there if MG had never been dreamed up - except possibly the nitro-waitress. Good science obviously rules in his his kitchen, as it should in everyone's, but we've got about six months to run before nitrogen at the table is as much the standup comic's staple as "tiny tall food on giant plates" which killed nouvelle. HB is clearly a man with exceptional talents and wonderful enthusiasm. What he's developed with that menu is a set piece of experiences unlike anything else. The Fat Duck is designed to deliver that one product brilliantly and it does. It will continue to sell like 'The Mousetrap'. It also works equally well without him. It's perfectly clear that HB's brigade and FOH team have honed that experience to oiled perfection and, unlike the Ramsay fiasco, he hasn't built up a fraudulent cult of personality around it. Nobody expects him to be there charging the cream whippers. Ramsay must lie awake at night, gnashing his teeth and wishing he could pull of the same trick. The day HB walks away from the Fat Duck and opens a restaurant where he uses even a tenth of his talent to develop a changing menu, I will pay any price and promise to slaughter, with my bare hands, anyone ahead of me in the queue for a table.
  11. Next to the table was the famous "Snail porridge. Joselito ham, shaved fennel", an excellent conversation starter and, as far as the Blumethal brand is concerned, the most effective marketing tool in his armoury. I'm pretty sure anyone coming to the Fat Duck must have overcome any mollusc aversion. The remaining shock value of the recipe lies in the mental image of snot meeting wallpaper paste. In reality, two coy snails are propped perkily atop a little slick of viridian oat risotto. The microtomed fennel makes a cheery afro wig for the gastropods and the ham, another one of HB's umami coshes ties the whole together with a smokey undercurrent. Snail porridge resolved the challenge of its name by tasting neither of snail or porridge. Unlike the gazpacho, this did nothing thing new with flavour, it was just impressive that HB had managed to combine two such odd things in a palatable way. On balance, though it's got the most column inches, this was the dish that most made me ask 'why bother'. The "Roast foie gras" came next with "Almond fluid gel, cherry and chamomile". I'd been about to launch 'into one' about the overuse of foie gras. It's such an effective way of getting the tastebuds jumping that it's almost like getting a shot of something. If foodies ever really got it together we could open 'foie dens' where we could go, lie about and have foie administered until we passed out with the bliss. There's a fair argument that this is cheating. Any oaf can serve lots of foie gras - the clever money would be in making turnip do to us what foie gras does. But, once again, HB pulled it out of the bag. The roasted cube of foie was plunked on the plate, front and centre and topped with a carpet of freeze-dried chamomile fragments - looking for all the world like gangrenous dessicated coconut. Again the flavour combination was utterly unexpected and very very seductive. Top right of the plate, almost as an aside, a single preserved cherry sat in a Nike swoosh of almond gel. I can see the duck liver and cherry thing, I can see the cherry and almond thing, so how does he pull off the almond and duck liver thing? The chamomile. Somehow the chamomile pulls it together. Now onto the 'Sardine on toast sorbet'. By this point as one of our group pointed out, you've pretty much forgotten that an ice cream should be sweet. Once you're over that perceptual hurdle it's a pretty easy ride. The sorbet's presented with a little boneless tranche of sardine, some marinated daikon, a decorative 'salad' based on dried seaweed and a recommendation to drink sake - all of which was a bit 'so far, so sushi'. I can't help feeling that, over the years, the whole Japanese tip has somehow lost its power to thrill. Now Pret does sashimi much of the novelty is questionable. The sardine ice cream though, didn't need any of the trimming. Many people find the taste of sardines, all fishiness and proletarian resonance, polarising. If you like sardines you'll be genuinely delighted by the ice cream. This was, I think, the only dish that challenged any of our table. Unlike the snail porridge this actually tasted like it sounded and that's obviously not right for everyone. Next came the "Salmon poached with liquorice". A cube of salmon enrobed in a liquorice flavoured jelly, two slices of baby artichoke heart, each garnished with a single coriander seed and a large plate dotted with Manni olive oil and cells of pink grapefruit. I can forgive plate dotting, even in 2006, I can forgive the painful preciousness of the single seed garnish, I can even applaud the use of liquorice with salmon - another real coup - but I couldn't live with sous vide salmon of such abiding off-putting sliminess. I know sous vide should work, I know the combination of moisture and flavour retention should be awesome but here it just amplified the slightly dirty flavour of the dark meat near the spine and made the texture compare unfavourably with wet tofu. In such unappetising company the gel coat began to take on a menacing resemblance to sump oil. Cooking the salmon almost any other way would have turned this into something sublime. I really want sous vide to be good. It really angers me how some chefs and food writers have almost campaigned to get rid of it but if I'm honest, this one cube of salmon was all the argument I'd ever need to hear for carting every Gastrotherm in existence straight to the landfill.
  12. First of what a lesser man would have called a 'quartet of starters' was "Nitro-green tea and lime mousse (2001)". According to the nitro-waitress this was a plat clanger. The mousse, shot from a cream whipper was shaped into quenelles and dropped into the liquid nitrogen. We were served one at a time and - I think she said - we were to eat them at once. The mousse goes into the mouth feeling a little like a crisp meringue and effectively evaporates inside your head. It was so beautiful, so delicate and gone so quickly that the entirely emotional reaction was sorrow. A total headfuck. I actually felt like crying. It undeniably clanged my plat. Next up was "Oyster, passion fruit jelly, lavender" which arrived looking so spectacular that I forgot how violently allergic I am to oysters. A smallish oyster is set in the clear fruit jelly and presented in its shell which is perched on a puck of rocksalt with a stick of lavender stuck through it. I have to assume there was actually lavender in the gel because with the best will in the world, I can't see the scent climbing up the side of the shell and permeating the oyster. It went down a treat but, as I have a particular aversion to oysters (they asked at the start, by the way, I just forgot to mention it) I can't fairly judge it. Third starter was "Pommery grain mustard ice cream, red cabbage gazpacho". This was a right little stonker. Quite apart from the awesome colour and jewel-like presentation, the combination of that particularly sweet and fruity mustard with the very earthy background of raw red cabbage was stunning. Though HB could probably whiffle for a year about the association of one with another through the common root of Brassicas, spotting and delivering that particular combination is the sort of thing chefs should really get paid for. I'm not going to say that HB changed my life, but he's turned me onto a new flavour combination and that's going to make a difference. For me, this is the big question about the Fat Duck and its molecular cousins. There's something wonderful about delivering exquisite demonstrations of taste and craftsmanship - tiny servings are perfectly-judged, revelatory, educational, sensational in the truest meaning - but I'm having trouble finding where this experience fits in my life. A culinary theme-park ride is an unfairly coarse comparison, yet it works if I'm going there and paying to have sensations. One could make pompous comparisons to, say painting or some other art, where experiencing the work changes the way you see things but that would be de trop. Comparison to art is stupid because soup doesn't change your life. In fact, for me it's more of a craft thing. Because I work with food in a small way, a demonstration of a new idea will change how I do things. What HB is doing is a brilliant exercise in communication of ideas which are of enormous relevance to other cooks. The question then arises, what does it all mean for people who merely eat it? If you can't take the revelation of mustard/cabbage and do something with it you're left with a thimble full of mauve soup and the comment 'Hmmm, that was nice'. The final starter addressed this problem nicely. "Jelly of quail, langoustine cream, parfait of foie gras, matsutake (homage to Alain Chapel)" was a masterclass in the understanding of umami and a total crowd pleaser. Every ingredient and texture was calculated to ravish. In the base of a porcelain eggshell was a sort of platonic ideal of a jellied stock, iced with a thick layer of langoustine cream. Topping it all, yolk-like was a quenelle of foie gras. Any of these alone would put your salivary functions into some kind of catastrophic meltdown but together it was a brilliantly executed military assault. In my wildest dreams, I've imagined what it must be like to be delivered into the hands of an extremely competent and depraved courtesan, in the peak of fitness, with an encyclopedic knowledge of the sensory palette at her disposal. I've imagined, in some detail, the thorough seeing-to I'd experience and without a hint of exaggeration, that's what this dish did to my mouth. I feel I should be apologising for such a resolutely unPC (Gillesque?) metaphor but I can't think of anything that better describes the indecent efficiency of the sensory manipulation. If it weren't so enjoyable it would be cynical.
  13. So I finally found myself getting out of a taxi into a misty evening in Bray. The journey had been arduous. It wasn't just the physical issue of getting to this odd little enclave, there was also a considerable motivational barrier to be overcome. I'd done the El Bulli Experience and I'm seriously unimpressed by some of the shenanigans of 'Molecular Gastronomy'. There is, therefore, a certain unwillingness to drop a couple of hundred notes on a series of foodie in-jokes. As it happened, I didn't need to overcome my reluctance because it was all arranged for me. A friend had assembled a team of six and booked everything the required two months in advance. All I had to do was get there and suspend disbelief. I now realise that Bray helps that suspension. Half an hour away from civilisation by train, ten minutes down dark rural lanes in a taxi and popping up in a sort of Disney village is pretty much guaranteed to alter your perceptions. I wouldn't have been surprised to see hobbits running from house to house - actually, to be fair, even creatures with a 400 year lifespan and a Medieval work ethic couldn't afford a mortgage in this place. We arrived 10 mins early for our 7.00 table and were politely turned away by the FOH staff who were still in the final stages of cranking up the smoke generator and polishing the mirrors. This was no real problem as Squire Blumenthal also runs the village pub, an absolutely, central casting country boozer. We walked into an authentically rural chill as small knots of suspicious looking individuals turned and stared. Admittedly they looked more like provincial bank managers than poachers but the mistrust and low cunning were no less evident. We ordered drinks, sat and chatted until suddenly, at 7.02 the entire place emptied and decamped to the Fat Duck. The restaurant is lovely. They've resisted the temptation that lurks in every true Englishman's heart, to expose the beams and hurl chintz at every flat surface. There is a respect for the original materials, a tasteful modern presentation and a certain masculine appeal. (Hmmm. Wonder where he's going with that idea) We realised immediately that we were going to be an odd table. There was one four top of those scrubbed young men in suits and gel that zoom around the country in expensive cars yelling into mobiles. (Someone at our table snorted 'salesmen' , I felt that with all that blond crop and uniform, they might just stand up and sing the Horst Wessel Liede). The rest of the room was two-tops, equally split between older couples looking like they'd travelled a long way and very young couples who looked like they were blowing the savings. All of them looked fairly uncomfortable. We pootled around the menu for a while. It's unfortunate, but entirely understandable that the tasting menu has to be a unanimous choice. We tried to get extra dishes inserted but were firmly refused. The staff, it should be said, were brilliant and gave a faultless, warm and intelligent performance throughout. It's only when you attempt to go off-piste and experience the forceful redirection of course, that you realise how very organised and very rehearsed, this has to be. So, tasting menu for six. We baulked at doubling the price for the recommended wine selection and came up with a cunning plan to begin with a riesling, keep a red and a white on the table as we moved through and finish with an eiswein - OK, not rocket science but it seemed sensible (actually, as the plan was suggested by a mathematician who does string theory recreationally, maybe it was rocket science). The bread offered was excellent. So excellent, in fact, that I ate far too much of it. It was offered with two butters, salted and unsalted versions of what they swore was a simple biodynamic butter from Normandy. I found it phenomenal, creamy with a caramel hint rich and rare. Two of our number actually began an unseemly scrap over the pats. I have a congenital aversion to the term 'amuse geule' particularly when it's shortened to 'amuse' in an attempt to seem offhand and professional. Having said that, talking about the tasting menu at the fat duck without it is next to impossible. So, on to the first AG. You may, like me, have been to see Tom Stoppard's excellent film 'Shakespeare in Love'. You too were probably appalled by the members of the audience who laughed ostentatiously at the referential jokes just to show their own cleverness for 'getting' them. The first AG was two squares of jelly - one orange, one beetroot. Stop me if you've heard this one. The problem is, I can't tell you anything more about it because, I don't want to spoil it for those few of you that haven't heard the joke. I had heard it and, though it was a lovely thing to eat, I missed part of the experience. I can't help feeling that, if the joke is really part of the multi-sensory approach HB needs to constantly refresh his material. Fifty years ago when staff were cheap and professional, a restaurant might have particular waiters who specialised in tableside theatricals. I remember a Berni Inn in the centre of Bristol where an elderly Italian could be produced at will to flambe Crepes Suzette in a chafing dish. It's reputed that the original Quaglinos kept two full-dress Cossacks who dealt with flaming brochettes (they actually came in from Croydon on the bus with their uniforms in brown paper parcels but the myth remains). The Fat Duck has a Nitrogen Waitress. Let's face it, there's something really fun about the whole liquid nitrogen schtick and, when presented by a woman who's accent - I picked up French/Lithuanian - is entirely impenetrable it can veer into the comic. We laughed. A lot. In fact it was really noticeable that we laughed right through the meal. Sometimes we laughed in sheer joy at the food, sometimes we laughed because the staff were friendly and funny but my overwhelming memory of the entire evening is of happy laughter. Nobody else in the room cracked a smile all night. Which I reckon is a great shame because what distinguished the Fat Duck from El Bulli for me was a uniquely British sense of self-deprecating humour. I think HB is have a cheeky laugh and by not laughing along with him, we're missing one of the precious, multi-sensory stimuli he's trying to deliver.
  14. He's obviously very excited about this as a new route. When I met him recently he was talking about using a website to activate implanted hypnotic triggers months after the dining experience. I've got to admit I have the same problem with this being a dead end. The fact that eating is entirely subjective and utterly multi-sensory is something foodies know and can discuss... when it comes to a master chef, an artist in taste, we tend to fudge around the notion because, if you follow the logic, there can be nothing objectively better about his stuff than any other. The more HB travels down the route of 'it's all about multiple sense memory' the more he moves away from what chefs do - When he caps that off with the assertion that the experience is also personal and subjective he talks himself out of a job. Look what post-modernism and 'conceptual' art have done to the social role of the art and the artist.
  15. Christ I'm glad somebody said that. I'm reserving a special place in Hell for Briffa. I want him gaffer taped naked to "Dr" Gillian 'the poison gnome' McKeith to spend eternity in a miasma of lentil fart. I'm trying to work out whether the fact he's not just pretending to be a medic makes him better than the gnome or whether using his qualification to promote such unscientific bollocks makes him worse. On balance, both.
  16. In spite of everything, I'm really starting to love this. I'm not sure I'd agree that Naples is the home of the Pizza though. If I really wanted to experience the ur-pizza, I'd be looking at the old-school New York pizzerias with coal ovens. From my understanding of the story, any Italian pizzeria that's offering 'twenty different toppings' owes more to the NY pizza than the Neapolitan. The dumbing down of food history in that idea, the reinvention to fit the preconceptions of the mass, is symptomatic of the problem with the show. Just as a comparative exercise, dig out your copy of Jeffrey Steingarten's 'It must have been something I ate'. His story 'Flat out' covers a similar quest for an uber-pizza with a little more rigour. Though I'm beginning to enjoy HB's presentation, I still wish he was allowed to get away with something that was less 'you can do this at home'. It's an accepted truism that, 99% of the people who watch cookery shows never bother to cook anyway so why can't we have it pure and un-dumbed-down? It would be just as relevant and entertaining. If HB was allowed to present and cook the way he clearly wants to and has the talent to do, I could just die and go to heaven.
  17. So did anyone else see the Independent Magazine food & drink issue on Saturday? Unless I'm missing something vital, it looks like it can be done.
  18. Timbo - I triple dare you to print this thread and take it with you. His Royal Hestoness will love it. ← Yeah, Sadie. Right. So I can experience that acme of Molecular Gastronomy, snail porridge with foamy wee in it.
  19. There are a few of us so hopefully we'll be able to range wide
  20. Well I expect to experience his divine Godhead in the all too gorgeous flesh. I've managed to get a table on Wednesday.
  21. He reminds me of Chuck Norris, only sexier, and without hair or a beard. ← LOL I'm watching it now on Sky+. You're dead right. He's funny, talented and really at fun to watch. Dammit, the man is even sexy. But I still think the producers should be taken out and shot and I still want to know where he's going from here.
  22. Typical. I waffle for about 8000 words and the bloody Antipodean expresses it in 28. Fucker
  23. I was waiting for that As far as I understand it, the process of getting stuff published goes something like... 1) Find the kind of magazines that publish the sort of stuff you write 2) Study them assiduously until you understand the kind of thing they might publish 3) Come up with a series of ideas that you feel might appeal to them 4) Write a brilliant proposal 5) Try to get the relevant person to look at your ideas and respond So the answer to your question is, as you are probably aware, no. Because... 1) OFM doesn't publish the kind of thing I write 2) I've studied it assiduously (and am sharing my impressions here) 3) If I came up with a list of ideas that I thought might appeal to them it would approach parody 4) ... actually it might even be funny 5) ... but, particularly after this exchange, I think I'd be lucky to find anyone who'd answer my emails with anything other than a justifiably contemptuous snort. C'mon Jay, you've been exposed to enough of my nonsense. If you think there's the slightest chance there would be any point in my submitting anything to OFM I'd appreciate the encouragement.
  24. And also reflects the quality of the contents. Not stuffed full of fluff for restaurant hobbists for instance. ← You don't get quality if you don't pay for it. There is at least one article I can think of in PPC that was absolutely shocking. ← PPC have long prideed themselves on never reject an article - until recently it was, I believe, part of their informal constitution. But to be fair, PPC isn't modeled on a commercial magazine. It's much more like a learned or literary journal. People (in as much as deep food nerds can be called 'people' ) are contributing to PPC to go on record and for peer review as much as for entertainment. Actually, PPC is much more like an old-media proto-board than a magazine. I agree that research, travel and the time to write are all costs as far as a writer is concerned and thus, in the broader sense, magazines get what they are prepared to pay for. On the other hand food is an obsession for many people and they are researching and writing great stuff that nobody has the vision to pay for. It's unfair to a large number of talented people though, if there's any implication that if you're not getting paid you can't be any good. It's the luxury of an established working journalist not to put pen to paper until a fee is agreed All of which reinforces the original point. OFM is paying the usual suspects to write about celebs while there are people out there, many of them online, writing about food with intelligence depth and passion. There's an audience to read them and the fact that OFM fails to connect those two is a waste, a shame and shows disappointingly lightweight thinking from a quality paper.
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