Life and Style

Amol Rajan finds bad upholstery undermines good food at Eric Chavot's newest spot

The Dorchester is one of more than 100 outlets suporting Citizens UK

Dorchester pledges to help feed needy

London's poverty-stricken elderly citizens could soon be enjoying swapping meals on wheels and soup for Michelin-starred food straight from the kitchens of one of the capital's most luxurious hotels.

A little of what you fancy: Can losing weight and delicious dining co-exist?

The foodie Kate Rowe, fed up of crash diets, is determined to eat well without denial

How to beat the queues at the Eiffel Tower

When the Eiffel Tower was completed in 1889, it was originally – like the London Eye – intended to be a temporary installation, the entrance to the Exposition Universalle in the French capital. Once the magnificently tapering structure was complete, it quickly became the biggest draw in Paris. Plans to dismantle it were overturned, and for the next 41 years it was the highest structure in the world (until superseded by the Chrysler Building in New York).

New York Times publishes treasure trove of American food

From chilled corn soup to key lime pie, Christopher Hirst cooks the book

Travel Agenda: The Big Scuba Show; Hogwarts Express; South Beach Food and Wine Festival; Rio de Janeiro

Today: The Big Scuba Show is at London Olympia until tomorrow. Visitors to the exhibition can expect question-and-answer sessions with experts, try-dives, a photography display and virtual free-diving, as well as stalls selling scuba kit, plus competition giveaways ( thebigscubashow.com).

Baumann’s Brasserie, 4-6 Stoneham Street, Coggeshall, Essex

For three sweaty hours, we'd been crawling north in bank holiday traffic. Another two hours, at least, lay ahead of us. We would have to break our journey to eat. Once, our only option would have been the nearest service-station cafe. But thankfully we live in the modern world. A quick search on the Blackberry, a phone call and a sat nav-guided escape route later, and we were happily installed in a dreamy little bistro, feasting on braised pork belly and pan-fried brill. Also, this being the modern world, charred antelope steak in goat's cheese sauce, but we'll come on to that later.

Home cooking has come off the boil in France, says Ducasse

Chef believes working women are failing to pass on their skills to daughters

Served at a rush - the latest Michelin star news

Alain Ducasse’s opulent restaurant in London joined the elite of dining establishments today, becoming only the fourth in Britain to be awarded three Michelin stars.

How We Met: Hélène Darroze & Apollonia Poilâne

'I go to her place for dinner, but I've never cooked for her – that would be far too intimidating'

French connection: Why it's emotion rather than technique that drives Hélène Darroze's cooking

It's 18 months since Hélène Darroze came over from Paris to set up her own restaurant at the venerable Connaught Hotel in the heart of London's Mayfair. A fine bloody time, everybody said, to introduce extra-super-fine dining to the bruised tycoons and trust-fund kids of the metropolis, whose investments had just plummeted by 40 per cent. Ms Darroze clearly wasn't bothered. There was something positively cheeky in the way she served up her oyster tartare with Aquitaine caviar jelly with a tiny, edible gold leaf on the top.

Grand fromage: Alain Ducasse flies the flag for classic French haute cuisine

For a man who is, by general consent, the most distinguished French chef in the world, who holds 15 Michelin stars, has published 16 cookbooks and inspired no fewer than 27 restaurants, Alain Ducasse is a strangely low-key figure. World-famous as a brand, he is virtually anonymous as a person. Gourmets who could talk for hours about his Pithiviers de canard et foie gras would find it hard to identify him in a police line-up. He may have trained a generation of chefs who run key London restaurants (Hélène Darroze at the Connaught, Claude Bosi at Hibiscus, Alexis Gauthier at Roussillon) but you'll never see him on reality TV shows, like his countryman Raymond Blanc.

Bites: Nothing says 'I love you' like a blindfold

Valentine's Day has long been a licence for restaurants to unleash horrifying gimmicks on customers. Aphrodisiac menus, petals on the tablecloth or, in the case of London's Met Bar this year, a scary-sounding silk blindfold embroidered with the words "when Romeo met Juliet". At least the Dorchester has come up with something a bit more useful: an invite for anyone booked in on the 14th to go into Alain Ducasse's kitchen during the day and prepare macaroons to serve to their loved ones that evening.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee