Gastropod

THE VEXED question of tipping has been discussed in this column before, when the Restaurateurs' Association of Great Britain advocated legislation to levy a standard service charge on all meals served in restaurants (as in other European countries). That way there would be no doubt about how much one should leave, or who benefits from the arbitrary surcharge that many restaurants slap on top of the bill.

Then, the Gastropod's view was that legislation was unnecessary: restaurateurs should be free to make their own policy on service charges and the distribution of tips, so long as it was reasonable. Now, following a case in the High Court earlier this summer, the Pod is not so sure.

Sandro Nerva and three of his fellow-waiters at a London restaurant called Paradiso e Inferno sued their employers, on the grounds that they were being paid below the statutory minimum established by the 1979 Wages Council Act and the 1985 Wages Act. They argued that tips, although constituting a sizeable part of their income, should not be counted as part of their remuneration. They lost.

The judge made a distinction between cash tips, which the waiting staff split between themselves, and sums added on to a cheque or credit card voucher, which must be administered by the restaurant management. Any payment made to the restaurant becomes its property, and the restaurateur is not obliged to distribute money collected among the staff.

Obviously, restaurateurs could not maintain a brigade of competent waiters without paying them adequately and we, as grateful customers, must assume the tips are distributed equitably. But perhaps the time has come to establish a universal convention when it comes to tipping, so we all know where we stand.

In the meantime, the Gastropod's advice is to tip in cash. That way, there is less chance of the management withholding money from its staff, or of the taxman making an accurate assessment of their wages.

WITH THE scavenging season for Scottish chanterelles in full swing, the Gastropod was amused by the tale of a mycological mix-up on the food page of a Canadian newspaper. A recipe in the Ottawa Citizen called for chanterelles but, alongside, it published a picture of deadly poisonous Destroying Angels. The caption read: 'Wild Aura: Mushrooms add exotic taste to a meal'.

Although the Gastropod has been unable to discover exactly what a Destroying Angel looks like, such confusion is understandable, given the North American tendency to rename mushrooms to suit themselves. Pieds de Mouton, for example, are called Hedgehogs over there. Mind you, the yellow, trumpet-shaped fungus that the Scots are exporting in vast quantities to France are not what the French call chanterelles, either. They are giroles.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
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

    Guru Careers: Events Coordinator / Junior Events Planner

    £24K + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Events Coordinator ...

    Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: Chief Executive Officer

    Salary 42,000: Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: The CEO is responsible ...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Day In a Page

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
    Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

    Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

    Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
    Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

    Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

    Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
    Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

    Join the tequila gold rush

    The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
    12 best statement wallpapers

    12 best statement wallpapers

    Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
    Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

    Paul Scholes column

    Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
    Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

    The end of an era across the continent

    It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
    Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

    'Focus on killing American people'

    Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
    Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

    Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

    The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
    Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

    Same-sex marriage

    As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
    The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

    The Mafia is going freelance

    Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable