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 Plans to dismantle it were overturned, and for the next 41 years it was the highest structure in the world (until superseded by the Chrysler Building in New York).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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