Marguerite Patten

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"Marguerite Patten gave me my first inspiration to cook."  so says Gary Rhodes.
"I had decided to do this lemon sponge for Sunday lunch one day. I remember turning it out at table and seeing everyone drool as this intense smell of lemon filled the room and the thick lemon sauce dripped down over the sponge."
Nigel Slater writes of happy hours spent lost in her 'Cookery in Colour' as a boy.
They were not the first and nor will they be the last to be inspired by this extraordinary woman.

Our full interview with Marguerite includes contributions from Brian Turner, Valentine Warner and her daughter, Judith Patten.

 

The Ipcress File

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Michael Caine as Harry Palmer, that unlikely agent who takes great pleasure in culinary skills.

A Cantonese Wedding Banquet

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The Year of the Tiger is not considered auspicious  for marriage, so in the last days of the Year of the Ox there was a rush of weddings.  Lily and Wan Li held their wedding banquet in Guangzhou on 31st January - a magnificent event with a 13 course meal.  The dishes are almost always the same and there are hidden, lucky meanings in most of them.
Soho Landmarks - Bar Italia

Bar Italia
The original London coffee bar. Opened in the middle of the last century initially to provide workers in the Soho area a place to eat after they finished work in the local restaurants, it went on to became a beloved institution.
Still family owned, it is now run by the grandsons of the original owner. Tony tells the story.

Soho Landmarks - Pizza Express

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Peter Boizot, MBE, is a Soho legend.  In 1965 he introduced the pizza to Londoners when he imported an Italian oven into the first ever Pizza Express in Wardour Street.  The popularity of the jazz club below his Dean Street pizzeria lead to the founding of the Soho Jazz Festival.  He fought the very successful Save Piccadilly campaign, was a founder member of the Soho Society and the Soho Restaurateurs Association and supported in no small measure Soho Housing Association.

We interviewed him about those pioneering days at his home in Peterborough.

Gulangyu Sesame Cakes
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The Ye family have been making award-winning sesame cakes for decades.  They are one of the specialities of Gulangyu Island where visitors and locals alike stop to buy them on a busy corner from a diminutive cart.

Prue Leith

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"I'm not the best cook I know, I'm not the best manager and I'm not the best accountant. But I know a good one when I see one. I've been fantastic at delegation." So says Prue Leith during her conversation with Fuchsia Dunlop, herself a  highly respected cook, food-writer and authority on Chinese cuisine. In this absorbing conversation Prue tells Fuchsia how she left South Africa in the fifties to go to Paris and whilst there discovered that food meant more than just eating. She made another startling discovery; "You didn't have to be black to be a cook."

The Perfect Egg - Aldo Buzzi

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"Scholarly, playful, idiosyncratic and witty, Aldo Buzzi's The Perfect Egg is an excursion into the food that has obsessed, provoked and intrigued the author through his life."

 

They Still Call Me Trinity

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The two Trinity movies were the first "Comedy Westerns" produced in Italy in the early 1970s starring Terence Hill as Trinity and Bud Spencer as Bambino,  Trinity's older half-brother. Trinity has just won a large amount of money as a card-sharp and so they're taking themselves to the smart, members-only restaurant in town ... the result is ... watch and see.

Claudia Roden

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Claudia“She’s magical … she’s a doyenne … she’s the absolute first and last word on Middle Eastern, and indeed on Mediterranean cookery … and I don’t know any of the top chefs who she hasn’t touched.”

So says Allegra McEvedy, herself a top chef, broadcaster and writer. And who is she talking about? Claudia Roden.

In this unique film Claudia Roden talks of her early years in Egypt, leaving the country of her birth after the revolution in the 1950's, and why she started collecting recipes. Also Allegra McEvedy, Claudia's great friend, assesses Claudia's legacy and tells an anecdote that for her sums up Claudia Roden as a person.

   

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