Cooking Book

Samuel Muston: A hug on a plate - my paean to 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.

The Sportsman, Faversham Road, Seasalter, Whitstable, Kent

Until last week, the best fish dish I have ever eaten was grilled slip sole in seaweed butter at the Sportsman in Seasalter in Kent. This maritime marvel formed the starter in a lunch that has echoed my memory for years, but I discovered that I had missed the pub's most esteemed offering, a tasting menu whose expertise and finesse are legendary among the food-obsessed. So I called the Sportsman to remedy this annoying omission (48 hours warning is required). "It starts at 7pm," I was informed, "and lasts for three and half hours." Good grief! I wasn't sure that I was quite as food-obsessed as all that.

Tom Sellers: The French Laundry-trained chef on hot dogs, jellyfish

My earliest food memory Eating hot dogs and burgers at the fair in Nottingham, where my mother and father took me as a kid. It's not so much the taste that stayed with me, but the smell. Standing by the wagon, with the aroma of burning onions filling my nostrils, it really got me. I still love eating burgers now, particularly at MeatLiquor in London.

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Food: A cookbook in the worst possible taste

If the title Men Love Pies, Girls Like Hummus wasn’t enough to put me off picking up a copy of Simon Rimmer’s new cookbook, then the photograph that appears on the front cover of the Sunday Brunch host clad in double denim like some smirking associate of Jeremy Clarkson certainly would.

Review: Langan's Brasserie, Stratton Street, London W1

It's been a long time since there was much of a buzz about Langan's Brasserie. The archetypal trendy London restaurant of the 1970s has rather fallen out of fashion in this century, along with male ponytails and two-bottle lunches. The only person I can think of who still goes regularly is my brother, who once had his tie cut off there by Alan Brazil, after a particularly rowdy business dinner.