Samuel Muston

Samuel Muston is deputy editor & food editor of The Independent Magazine. He also writes a weekly food column

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Mellow yellow: a warming spoonful of polenta

Samuel Muston: A hug on a plate - my paean to polenta

Opening a new restaurant is often a quick way for rich people to lose money. It is a gamble opening your doors to the public, just like playing poker. But as with cards, there are ways to hedge your bets. The cautious restaurateur might tend towards well-worn concepts such as the burger joint, for instance, or the fried-chicken shop.

Shaken, not stirred: a pre-dinner martini

On the menu: Never go straight through to dinner, and never say aperitif

The aperitif is back, the aperitif is in. At Simon Rogan's joint in the Midland Hotel, Manchester, a guy in a bomber jacket breaks off a conversation with his date, "I'll have Just a Splash – that cocktail with Aperol and Prosecco," he says to the barman.

Phantom cruise: The MV 'Lyubov Orlova' was cut adrift in Canada last February

Ghost riders: An unmanned Russian ship full of rats is adrift in the Atlantic - so, just how many other vagrant vessels are out there?

In happier times, the MV Lyubov Orlova was a pleasure ship, a cruiser accustomed to taking well-heeled Russian holidaymakers on adventure tours around the Arctic. Today, that same 295ft ship is bobbing somewhere off the coast of Ireland, its only passengers a horde of disease-ridden rats.

Star quality: the Milestone Hotel

The Milestone: Is this Britain's best hotel?

The users of TripAdvisor certainly think so. But have they got it right? Samuel Muston checks in to the Milestone in West London to see why its guests are so impressed

A view of Davros

Davos: shadowy summit or ski holiday with suits?

Every winter, the World Economic Forum takes place in Switzerland. Its aim? Solving global problems. That and skiing, schmoozing and star-spotting, says Samuel Muston

Samuel Muston: The great chefs skewering each other at the Kebab Awards

The news that Mangal 2's Ali Dirik won the best chef gong at Tuesday's British Kebab Awards will come as little surprise to artists Gilbert and George. Every night with the regularity of a German express train, the pair pootle up London's Kingsland Road from their house in Spitalfields and dine here, each time going through the same ritual of handing their coats to the waiting staff when they sit (unknown for normal punters) and being helped to put them on again when they rise to leave.

Talking heads: students at the School of Life get a lesson in the art of conversation

Too cool for night school?

The highbrow brainchild of Alain de Botton, the School of Life offers evening classes with a difference - as Samuel Muston reports

The 10 best Champagnes

See in the new year in style with a bottle of bubbles. Sam Muston rounds up France's finest and best-value fizz for the perfect celebration

2013 - the year in review: It was a year of many flavours. But were they gourmet burgers or horse meat?

Hundreds of upmarket fast-food outlets opened this year, explaining how as a nation we threw away £12.5 bn on burgers

Because there is no mixer large enough for the 700 kilos of pudding, the chefs pour the ingredients onto a large table and gather around to mix the ingredients by hand,

The secrets behind a Ritz Christmas pudding

It takes a platoon of chefs, litres of brandy and rum, and almost 100kg of dried fruit to make the hotel's famous festive desserts. Samuel Muston lends a hand

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