Food & Drink: Gastropod

ONE person who will not be suffering with a hangover this morning is the new editor of The Good Food Guide. Jim Ainsworth told the Gastropod that he prefers to practise moderation rather than deal with the disastrous consequences of excess. This is good news for his new employers at the Consumers' Association, which attracted opprobrium last year by the surreptitious way it went about replacing Tom Jaine as Public Stomach Number One.

Speculation in the food world as to who might get the job became nearly as frenzied, in its own small way, as the speculation in other quarters over who will would manage the national football team. Unlike English football fans, however, the readers of The Good Food Guide are apparently not in favour of wholesale changes, and Mr Ainsworth, a former restaurateur with no interest in football, is seen as a safe pair of hands.

He ran The Vineyard restaurant in Northampton until the mid-Eighties, when he became the wine correspondent of Punch magazine. Latterly he has been restaurant reviewer for Wine magazine and a regular contributor to the Independent. His involvement with The Good Food Guide as an inspector of restaurants stretches back several years, and he contributed to the Which? Guide to Country Pubs last year. Although determined to broaden the appeal of the Guide, the new editor has no plans to alter its format or tamper with its points system for rating restaurants.

AS AN eminent wine writer, Jim Ainsworth is also a member of the sinister secret society known as the Octagon. Members, who are drawn from the oenological elite and number rather more than eight, meet regularly to taste blind, talk shop and backstab. At their annual awards dinner, held before Christmas at Ransome's Dock restaurant in Battersea, south London, fellow wine writers wereritually castigated for gaffes committed over the year.

This year's literature prize went to one Hubrecht Duiwker, author of Wine Wisdom, which was described as 'monstrously dull platitudes served up by a Dutchman', and was generally agreed to have been the worst book about wine published in 1993. The Green award for recycling went to Mitchell Beazley, the publisher which repackaged its pocket wine guides as paperbacks last year, barely bothering to revise them first.

Malcolm Gluck of the Guardian was admonished for his apparent confusion as to what grapes are permitted in Burgundy appellation controlees. He was also a strong contender for the 'Wayward Tendrils of the Vine' award for purple prose, but was narrowly beaten by the irrepressible Oz Clark, who began a piece in the Radio Times thus: 'Holiday intoxication? Where do I find flavours that ooze sultry perfume, inveigling me to dare and dally, to lose my head, my heart, my life in a fragrant mist of temptation and desire?'

To which rhetorical question, the Gastropod would reply, 'Try looking over the rainbow, sport.'

THE focus of the Gastropod's heart's desire, naturally, is to win a Glenfiddich award for irreverent commentary on the gastronomic scene. Sadly, it looks as if this column will again go unrecognised when the gongs for food writing are handed out next spring. Not only is the judging panel packed with heavyweights, but the organisers have neglected to create a category for gossips.

This is patently unfair and the Gastropod urges you, dear reader, to fax the organisers of the Glenfiddich award on 071- 405 6328 and tell them so. While you are at it, you might like to nominate the writers and broadcasters of your favourite books and programmes on the subjects of food and drink. The Glenfiddich folk will fax you a full list of the categories if you ask them, but please remember that your nominations should refer to work that first appeared last year.

There is one new category in this year's Glenfiddich awards: 'For inspirational work which most successfully utilises the accessibility of the magazine medium.' It could be that the judges will seize upon this opportunity to grant some posthumous recognition to the high-falutin ambitions of the BBC's Gourmet Good Food magazine. The Gastropod has a hunch, however, that Sainsbury's The Magazine, which is selling more than a quarter of a million copies each issue, will clean up.

THERE is no Glenfiddich award for 'the restaurant that has generated the most column inches', but if there were, Quaglino's would win hands down. Now Sir Terence Conran has acquired the cavernous former site of the Marquee Club in Soho for redevelopment as another large-scale, brasserie-style, glamorous metropolitan eating place. Do not hold your breath, however, as he has estimated it will take at least 18 months to transform it into Quag's Two.

In the meantime, we have Bruno Loubet's big new restaurant to look forward to. Despite reports elsewhere that the Michelin-starred chef and his partner, Pierre Condou, were set to start work on the place, which will be called Odeon, it transpires that this is not quite so. In fact, they are hoping to acquire premises in the West End imminently, so long as they are not gazumped by Nick Smallwood and his Kensington Place crew, who were frustrated in their attempt to acquire a site for Kensington Place Two but can be expected to open a big new restaurant sooner or later this year.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
New Articles
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Business Development Manager / Sales Pro

    £30 - 35k + Uncapped Comission (£70k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Business Develop...

    Day In a Page

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

    US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
    Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
    Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering