Closing doors

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Unseasonal warm weather heralded in January 2016 but was quickly followed by an icy wind that swept away some of our better known chefs and restauranteurs. One by one top names announced closures, Claude Bosi, Hix, Richard Caring, Allegra McEvedy and others all put up For Sale signs. Even the high priest of politically correct eating Ottolenghi has been forced to shutter his Covent Garden eaterie... (more)

 

 
Kitchen Man 2

Paul Levy 4

 

In his second podcast, "Japan", Paul Levy talks about the history of Japanese food, quoting Bee Wilson in her new book, First Bite, to show that our belief that it must have a long history is completely misconceived.  He also asks the question what other nation has changed their food culture as radically as the Japanese.  His answer is perhaps surprising.

 

 
Josceline Dimbleby

 

Josceline Dimbleby 2 Helen Garlick 2

Josceline Dimbleby visited Talking Of Food recently to record a reading from Orchards in the Oasis, her book of recipes, travels and memories.

Before the recording started, she talked to Helen Garlick about the book and their conversation ranged  from Josceline’s earliest food influences and cooking in a London bedsit to a shared love of American brown paper grocery bags and MFK Fisher.

Watch the interview here

Listen to Josceline reading from Orchards in the Oasis

News update:  A new and revised edition of Josceline Dimbleby's highly acclaimed Cooking for Christmas, originally published in 1978, is out now. 

 
Kafka's Soup

 

Kafkas Soup

 

Mark Crick’s  Kafka’s Soup: A Complete History of World Literature in 17 recipes is a book often borrowed and seldom returned.  It is a joy to dip into this collection of literary pastiches for recipes written in the style of Raymond Chandler, Irvine Welsh, Charles Dickens, John Steinbeck, Homer, Chaucer and so on.

Here the author has chosen to read for us Quick Miso Soup à la Franz Kafka and Tiramisu à la Marcel Proust.  A third recipe, Tarragon Eggs à la Jane Austen is read by Annie Sedgwick.

 

 

   

 
The Table Comes First

The_Table_Comes_First

Adam Gopnik, author and writer for The New Yorker magazine, came to London in late November for the UK launch of his new book. He credits Fergus Henderson for unwittingly giving him the title, The Table Comes First, and the two of them met up at St. John Hotel where the conversation ran from subjects as diverse as farting cows and the worrying proliferation of square plates in France...

 

 
Wellbeloved

WellbelovedThe reputation of the Steak Pie - that staple of traditional British cuisine - has become diminished.  More glamorous dishes make the headlines; more photogenic recipes are illustrated on television and scores of inferior, industrial pies occupy the shelves of supermarkets throughout the land.  

It is time to look beyond these brightly lit aisles and discover the true ingredients of the perfect Steak Pie: Experience, Care and Dedication.  

It is time to go to Deptford, South East London. 

 Watch video

 

 
Has Anybody Seen My Gal?

James Dean

 

Guess who made their first appearance, uncredited, in Has Anybody Seen My Gal? (1952)

 
Jonathan Meades and Matthew Fort

MeadesFort 

The collective knowledge and wit of Matthew Fort and Jonathan Meades make this conversation one to savour! The iconoclastic Jonathan Meades is often considered to have been the best of all food critics during his tenure at the Times, and is still regarded by many as supreme.  Meades airs his trenchant and outspoken views about today's chefs and the food scene generally. He cites RADA,  "the Sandhurst for chorus boys", where he trained as an actor, as the place which instilled in him a lifelong discipline and, one suspects, his disdain for the pretentious.

 

The GM Debates

One of the most contentious issues facing governments and the food industry is the subject of Genetically Modified Food. Argument has raged for years as to whether it should be banned or embraced. Scaremongering headlines such "Frankenfood" have sometimes drowned a more sober assessment of its risk and/or benefits. However, there is one thing both sides are agreed on and that is the growth of the world's population and the problem of feeding it in the future.

In order to understand in layman's language - in as much as it can be - the pros and cons of this deeply divisive subject, we invited experts from both sides of the divide to argue their case. A policy decision was taken by us that there was to be no editorial bias and so the debates are totally unedited.  They have been broken into parts for ease of watching as each one runs over an hour.  

To our knowledge, this is the first and only such series of debates and is intended to be a permanent record of an issue that affects us all.

Vivian MosesDiane Montague

INTRODUCTION TO GM:

Agricultural journalist and author, Diane Montague, interviews Vivian Moses, Visiting Professor of Biotechnology at King's College London, and the resulting discussion sets out what GM is and what the major issues are. It is a fitting introduction to the discussions which will follow. Watch video

Peter MelchettJonathan Jones

GM FOOD DEBATES (HOLT)

Jonathan Jones, FRS, Professor of Biology at the University of East Anglia, head to head with Peter Melchett, Policy Director of the Soil Association. Watch video

Cathie MartinCharlie ClutterbuckRupert Read

GM FOOD DEBATES (NORWICH)

A group of experts from both sides of the GM divide argue their case for best solving the impending world food shortage. They are: Professor Cathie Martin of UEA, Dr.Rupert Read of the Green Party and Dr. Charlie Clutterbuck of City University. Watch video

GM Food Debates Audio Broadcast

GM FOOD DEBATES (AUDIO BROADCAST)

A wide ranging and informative discussion with Michael Summers, an independent consultant specialising in plant breeding and biotechnology. Listen to audio