Richard Neat of Pied a Terre and Patrick Woodside of La Semillante, friends since their days together at Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons, talk about the restaurant business and the meaning of life - with no expletives deleted. We learn that Neat would rather be blinded than open a country house hotel, and thinks a write-up he received from the Independent was 'bizarre' because it concentrated on his restaurant prices rather than the quality of the food. Woodside moans about not being able to find sufficiently dedicated staff, claims to get an erotic thrill from good ingredients and complains that critics do not understand the 'sensuousness' of his restaurant.
This all seems quite reasonable, but the editor has received several letters of complaint, including a copy of one addressed to the Prime Minister that concludes: 'The use of expletives during the article is abhorrent and can only serve to damage the image of the industry. Those responsible should be censured.'
The Gastropod does not agree. Indeed, Lisa Barnard, the drinking man's crumpet, and her editorial team should be congratulated on their lively, irreverent and entertaining publication. Inside Hotels costs pounds 2.50 and is available from larger branches of W H Smith.
YOU will not find any chefs talking dirty in the lifestyle accessory that Sainsbury's: The Magazine seems intended to be. Instead, it has articles on recycling, alimony, inflation and, on the food front, an abundance of the squeaky clean Delia Smith.
You get a lot of Delia for your 95p. Delia is on its first cover and television commercial, Delia discusses diets, Delia finds out about proper parmesan cheese and Delia meets Larkin Warren, the American chef of Martha's Vineyard restaurant in East Anglia. And Delia devotees can meet their heroine this afternoon (4-5pm) at the Coldhams Lane branch in Cambridge, where she will be signing copies of the magazine.
MORE esoteric than Delia and not quite so spiky as Lisa Barnard, the first issue of Convivium is subtitled 'The Journal of Good Eating' and dedicated to the memory of Elizabeth David, with an obituary by David Wheeler, the editor, and memoirs from, among others, Hugh Johnson and Paul Bailey.
There is also Arabella Boxer on potatoes, David Wolfe on marrying food and wine, and Simon Loftus on the obsessions of a country wine merchant. A single copy of Convivium costs pounds 6.25 (four issues, pounds 25), including postage, from: The Neuadd, Rhayader, Radnorshire LD6 5HH.
IT HAS always been a matter of some amusement to the Gastropod that the 4th Earl of Sandwich is remembered not as a dissolute reprobate but as the inventor of the world's most popular snack. He, too, would have been amused by the goings-on at the British Sandwich Association annual awards dinner, where gongs were handed out to a sector of the catering industry that has been growing by leaps and bounds.
M & S took the top accolade for improving the standards of sandwich retailing, in particular for its splendid takeaway operation at Moorgate, in the City of London, which sold 2.5 million sarnies, many to Independent employees. Sandwich Bar of the Year is the Upper Crust Brasserie in Old Hall Street, Liverpool, and runner-up is Pret a Manger, which has 15 outlets around London and expects to sell pounds 10m-worth of sandwiches this year. Sergine Alger, who works at Pret a Manger's flagship operation in St Martin's Lane, is sandwich server of the year. She attributes her success to a big smile and an ability to poach salmon to perfection; her favourite sandwich is cottage cheese and sun-dried tomatoes on a special Mediterranean bread.Reuse content