Kitchen Essays by Agnes Jekyll
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Agnes Jekyll (1860-1937) was the supreme hostess:  her house was described as "the apogee of opulent comfort and order without grandeur, smelling of pot-pouri, furniture polish and wood smoke".  Helen Garlick reads a few of her favourite extracts...
Soho Landmarks - Maison Bertaux

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Started in 1871, Maison Bertaux still survives in its original premises.  Such is the devotion to this wonderful pastisserie that one ex-Soho resident has been going there for over 60 years - even though he moved out of London 25 years ago.

Zabar's - A New York Institution

Zabar's Coffee Sacks

 

Zabar's is not a building that really stands out, perhaps the mock tudor looks a bit odd on 81st and Broadway but that's about it. Yet any self-respecting New Yorker knows it...

Ace Cafe
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Ace Cafe on London's North Circular Road has been serving bikers since 1938.  Hattie Garlick visited recently and learnt how, after being destroyed in an air-raid in 1940,  it became the world famous haunt it is today getting through an astonishing 7 tons of sausages a year.

But how does a vegan survive in this world of leathers and bacon sandwiches?  Hattie tracked down Vegan Biker Boy for some answers.

Wine Titbits

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Is wine made for tasting or drinking?

Would you want to drink more than a glass?

This was a discussion I had with Tim Johnston at the infamous Juveniles Wine Bar in Paris, which has an excellent wine list that is based on the premise that you would like to order another glass!

He is obviously of the opinion that an extra glass is good for business and buys wine accordingly, yet still interestingly!

Richard Craig on Californian Chardonnay...


Fuchsia Dunlop - the full interview

 

Fuchsia Dunlop interview

At a relatively early age Fuchsia Dunlop became hooked on China.  She decided to learn Mandarin at evening classes and eventually won a scholarship to study in Chengdu, Sichuan.  It was there that she trained as a chef, the first westerner to attend the Sichuan Institute of Higher Cuisine. As a result she is now one of the foremost experts on Chinese cuisine and has built up a large and devoted following across the world.

At Barshu in the heart of London's Soho, a Sichuanese restaurant where Fuchsia acts as consultant, she talks to Mark Hilton, who also decided at a young age to study Chinese and Chinese culture and has lived in Xiamen in South-East China for 12 years. Discussion ranges from her life in Chengdu to the effect of the country's rapid changes on its cuisine and the, often false, assumptions the west makes about Chinese food.

 

More on Fuchsia...you can see her in conversation with Prue Leith here.

 

Chocolatier

Phil Neal - Chocolatier
A man with a dark passion. At Philip Neal in London's Turnham Green can be found some of the best chocolate in town. His ambition is to change people's habits, to get them to understand what great chocolate tastes like and eventually to open the best chocolate lounge in the country. He explains both his passion and his dreams.

 

Reza's Roots

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REZA MAHAMMAD, owner of the famed Star Of India in Kensington, TV celebrity and much loved personality, talks about his father’s early struggles when he arrived as a stowaway in 1937. He and a handful of friends attempted to establish Indian cuisine in England and eventually succeeded in changing the eating habits of a nation.

School Dinners

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Everyone has a memory of their school dinner - and it's not always about the dreaded tapioca pudding! There are some people who actually liked them.

The Table Comes First

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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...