Life and Style Mellow yellow: a warming spoonful of polenta

Opening a new restaurant is often a quick way for rich people to lose money. It is a gamble opening your doors to the public, just like playing poker. But as with cards, there are ways to hedge your bets. The cautious restaurateur might tend towards well-worn concepts such as the burger joint, for instance, or the fried-chicken shop.

Chef John Torode

John Torode: My life in food...

John Torode is best known as the straight-talking TV presenter and judge of BBC’s MasterChef. He originally moved to the UK from his native Australia in the mid-1990s when he worked for the Conran Group. He owns two London restaurants. He is now working with IWSC Winemaker of the Year Neil McGuigan to launch the Neil McGuigan & John Torode Recipe Collection, a personalised food and wine matching service: mcguiganwines.co.uk

April Bloomfield: 'If you think you've added enough butter, just add a bit more'

My earliest food memory… Waking up on a cold frosty morning at my Nan's house and my Grandad cooking porridge on the hob with milk and the tiniest bit of sugar melted on top. Then he'd pour the cold milk around the bowl so it would set like custard. It's the best start to the day for energy. It's better than Red Bull – porridge gives you wings.

Tom Hunt: My life in food...

Tom Hunt is a self-proclaimed  eco-chef who started his career working at Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage.  He then went on to co-found Forgotten Feast, which works to revive British heritage recipes and reduce food waste. He works closely with the food charities FareShare, FoodCycle and StreetSmart. He has a restaurant, Poco, in Bristol and will be spending 2013 writing a cookbook.

Prue Leith: 'If i could take one thing to a desert island, it would be chilli sauce. Ideally Nando's Piri Piri'

My Life In Food: Prue Leith

'If I could take one thing to a desert island, it would be chilli sauce. Ideally Nando's Piri Piri'

The newly renovated Parlour just north of London’s Notting Hill

On The Menu: Parlour; Opera Tavern; Dude Foods; Sous Chef; Roti Chai

This week I've been eating...fun foods

My life in travel: Tom Aikens

‘Travel is finding good places to eat’

TV chef cook book meals 'are less healthy than ready meals'

Recipes by TV chefs including Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson are “less healthy” than ready meals, researchers said.

Alivn Leung: 'I use blenders a lot to make cocktails, so I can drink while cooking'

My earliest food memory… I'll never forget my mother's instant noodles when I was growing up in New York. My mother's an awful cook so I ate a lot of bad food when I was young. It forced me to learn how to cook myself.

Album: Various Artists, Soul Food (Trikont)

In the pantheon of pop stimuli, food has always run a close second to sex.

The 10 Best gifts for foodies

Whether it’s a space-age set of scales or a perfect blend of Parisian tea, we’ve found a culinary present for everyone...

Tong Chee Hwee: 'Poached nashi pears with bitter almonds are a great way to fend off winter colds'

My Life in Food: Tong Chee Hwee

'Poached nashi pears with bitter almonds are a great way to fend off winter colds'

Alan Yau, restauranteur: 'Comfort food should have a touch of umami, like dolly noodles or japanese curry'

My life in food: Alan Yau, Restaurateur

'So many chefs use excessive fat to enhance flavours. I use herbs and spices'

Perfect presents: Our colour-coded Christmas gift guide

Don't want to be blue this Christmas? Then try purple or green or pink or gold!

Bond and Bake Offs boost for Aga

The unlikely combination of Mary Berry and James Bond have helped to give Aga's chief executive William McGrath "an air of optimism for 2013".

My Life In Food: Lily Vanilli, baker

'I've got a bit of a savoury tooth – I snack on anything from crisps to calamari'

Career Services

Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?