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.

You'll find this kind of photography (realistic photos of food complete with splotches, scorch spots and side-drips) in many cookbooks very soon

Gastronomy: Just leave the dirty dishes

Humankind, T S Eliot said, cannot bear very much reality. When it comes to food, we've grown to love a style of photography that bears little relation to the products of our humble kitchens. It's called gastroporn.

Apollonia Poilâne: 'For me, every crust and crumb is a balm for body and soul'

My Life In Food: Apollonia Poilâne

When both her parents died in a helicopter accident in 2003, Apollonia inherited her family's world-renowned bakery, Poilâne. She was just 19. Nine year's later, the company has a turnover measured in tens of millions of pounds and has most recently opened the cuisine de bar by Poilâne in London's Chelsea.

Out of this world: The old-school La Fontaine de Mars provides the true Parisian culinary experience

Globe-trotting gastronomy: Getting a taste for classic French cuisine in Paris

The brief is clear: one man, one city, two days, four meals. This is to introduce my father, who has – inexplicably – never been to Paris to the deliciousness he has been missing all these years. So it comes to pass that one recent Monday morning John Markwell, 81, picks up his overnight bag, his walking stick and his passport and boards the Eurostar with his two daughters.

The Saturday Quiz answers

1. Towns granted city status to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

My Life In Food: Nobu Matsuhisa

After stints working in restaurants in Japan, Peru, and America, Nobu opened his eponymous restaurant with actor Robert De Niro in New York in 1994. He now has 24 restaurants, over five continents, including Nobu London, which celebrates its 15th birthday this month.

Darina Allen: 'If I was on a desert island, I'd want the nostalgia of champ'

My earliest food memory... My mother baking her own soda bread, which she would do as part of her everyday routine. I remember being just old enough to see up over the table and watching her quick and light hand movements as she worked. She would always give me a little bit of dough to make my own cistín, or "little cake", and I would cut a cross in it as she did, then prick the four corners to let the fairies out. That is very important; otherwise the fairies will jinx your bread.

Mary Berry: 'I freeze my satsuma peelings to bulk out my marmalade'

My Life in Food: Mary Berry

Berry, a judge on The Great British Bake Off, has written 70 books, which have sold some 6 million copies worldwide. Her latest, which she will be signing in London's Selfridges today, is Mary Berry's Complete Cookbook.

Luke Thomas: 'When I met Thomas Keller at the French Laundry pop-up it was like I was meeting my favourite pop star'

My Life In Food: Luke Thomas, Britain's youngest head chef

Before donning the head chef's whites at Luke's Dining Room at Sanctum on the Green, Berkshire, Thomas, who is 18, worked at Chester Grosvenor Hotel. He has done work placements at some of the most famous restaurants in the world, including The Fat Duck, Alinea in Chicago and the French Laundry pop-up at Harrods.

Wallace says: 'Don't ask a chef for a recipe: the better the chef, the worse the recipe.'

Gregg Wallace: 'Barbecues push appalling food to new heights'

My earliest food memory... My grandmother's roast lamb. She used to have mint growing inside a disused sink outside the kitchen door, and I'd go and pick it for the mint sauce. My grandmother was a fantastic cook. Her food was wet – she'd swamp her roast dinners in gravy so they were like a stew. I've loved wet food ever since.

The STK restaurant chain claims to be making steak more female-friendly

Eat, drink, man, woman: Is there such a thing as a gastronomic gender divide?

A dainty piece of sushi for the lady? And perhaps a rare steak for the gentleman? No thank you, garçon, says John Walsh.

Paul A Young runs three chocolateries in London, including a flagship on Wardour Street

Paul A Young: 'Whenever you're baking anything, add a pinch of sea salt'

My earliest food memory...Going to my great-grandfather's house after school on a Monday evening, when my grandma would come over and cook stew and big Yorkshire puddings. There was a blazing coal-fired range in the kitchen, and the oven at the side was the only way of cooking. That heat from the range was different to the kind you get from gas or electric; I don't think any of us will get to taste food like that again.

Simon Hopkinson has been, variously, an Egon Ronay inspector, the chef-proprietor of Bibendum
restaurant, a food columnist for The Independent and an award-winning cookery writer

My Life In Food: Simon Hopkinson

Simon Hopkinson has been, variously, an Egon Ronay inspector, the chef-proprietor of Bibendum restaurant, a food columnist for The Independent and an award-winning cookery writer. His latest book is The Good Cook (BBC Books, £25).

Little wonder left its author lost for words

A witty tome on etymology has surprised just about everyone to become a bestseller, says Nick Duerden
Marcus Wareing is the chef/patron of Marcus Wareing At The Berkeley

My Life In Food: Marcus Wareing

Marcus Wareing is the chef/patron of Marcus Wareing At The Berkeley. Having trained alongside Albert Roux, he went on to work as Gordon Ramsay's sous chef and then as his partner in L'Oranger in 1996. He opened the Gilbert Scott restaurant at the St Pancras Hotel in 2011.

Ptak says: 'When baking, don't over-mix things. If you do, the cake or scones or whatever you are making will be dense and dry.'

Claire Ptak: I love sauerkraut; I think it's the elixir of life'

My earliest food memory...My first memory of consuming food is of eating wild blackberries where I grew up in northern California. But my first food-related memory is when a friend and I took all my mum's herbs and spices, put them into our sandbox and made mud pies. My mum was not that happy.

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