Harriet Walker: Fried cheese and burgers - Fashion Week food is not what you'd think

As this week's Paris collections herald the final push for the fashion crowd (which has already been stationed in New York, London and Milan), there'll be a collective sigh of relief from those fashion foodies desperate to escape the carousel of canapés and vol-au-vents. Not because they're avoiding solids, you understand, but because they've glutted themselves on them.

The public image of the fashionable diet is one of champagne tempered by cotton-wool balls and cucumber dipped in vinegar. In actuality, the cool crowd spends Fashion Week running from one event to another with little opportunity to snack, so they end up carb-loading when they can, in a way that would put a competitive eater to shame. I seem to spend much of the most glamorous week of the year (so they'll have you believe) in McDonald's after hours.

In a seeming bid to counteract everyone's desperation for comfort food, fashion parties and events have taken two rather divergent routes as regards their amuse-bouches. Some aim for the higher senses – at a conceptual level of abstract taste, gilding unpronounceable fruits with foam and a coulis, with a prawn on top – as if to guilt you out of being hungry and remind you of the aesthetic purism that brought you into this job. Others play to baser instincts and provide mini fish and chips in paper cones. One of my personal favourites was honey-and-mustard cocktail sausages arranged around a well of cheesy mash for dipping. I managed eight before the tray had to circulate.

One gets wise to the ebb and flow of snacks during Fashion Week: Topshop-sponsored shows, for instance, are notorious for laying on risotto and soups, so the majority of people arrive only 10 minutes late to them (as opposed to the customary half-hour). This year was no different – although with the introduction of deep-fried cheese in breadcrumbs – and the new venue at the old Eurostar terminal at Waterloo had the added bonus of several steep ramps to expend calories consumed.

This, of course, is the name of the game with fashion food – like first-class Atlantic flights, everything bad must be offset so the fun can continue. Hence, my McDonald's trips were cancelled out by my sleep deficit; the two Ginsters slices I wolfed while blogging two stories were negated by the effort expended typing; the tube of Pringles I followed them with was so awful it in itself that it simply didn't count.

And the chocolate croissant I'm eating now? Well, that's so I don't faint after being so stressed during Fashion Week.

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